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Thread: Warped plywood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Fort Wayne IN

    Warped plywood

    Anyone know of a way to flatten warped plywood? Most of the 2' x 2' x 1/4" stuff at the big box stores is warped. I cut these into smaller pieces for projects and I need them to be flat.


  2. #2
    Sorry, I can't even imagine how to do this. Will be reading the replies for my own edification.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    so cal
    If you had a stack of them and a full grown African elephant sit on the stack I bet they would be flat.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    South Africa
    Don't buy it.

    We have got a big press at work, and I tried a few times to put plywood in there to flatten it, and it has never worked. Not even 3mm, not even for 3 weeks.

  5. #5
    Most plywood that's warped at the big box stores is like that due to manufacturing and material issues. Even if the layers are balanced in grain direction, if the grain is not straight and very exact on direction, you will get warping that does not go away.

  6. #6
    If you build a drawer, and put the plywood in a groove, the groove will hold it fairly flat. I built cabinet doors from plywood probably 40 years ago, and sometimes a door would warp, and I would have to replace it. If I let it lay around till it was dry, it would go back flat. So they make some plywood with green wood.

  7. #7
    Be a bit more work and money (good stuff always is) but you may look into sourcing some material with a different core. Look for a local distributor or online. If you really want/need flat a little freight and added cost will get you there.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Peoria, IL
    I think you'll need a different material if you need it really flat. No idea what smaller pieces mean, but I would suggest solid quartersawn wood. Does the plywood you are looking at have the same veneer on front and back? Plywood must be balanced to stay somewhat flat, but todays plywood will always be questionable.

  9. #9
    If the material is coming from the borg in the first place I would think tracking down some maple, birch, or whatever, MDF core would get flat enough for most anything.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Issaquah, Washington
    Apple ply or baltic Birch or MDF core. The stuff at the box stores is not worth a penny for most cabinet work.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    I haven't seen really flat plywood from a Borg or from my wholesalers, and I doubt I ever will. If you need it to be veneer core, (vs mdf core), and need it truly flat, the only thing I can suggest is making your own. Assuming you need the quantity and quality to make it worth while, you can press your own veneers controlling the quality of the core and getting nice flat panels. Of course it's going to be a very expensive endeavor Other than that…….I got nothing.

    good luck,

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Fort Wayne IN
    Well I was afraid this would be the case. I guess I will have to go with the usual slim pickins...

    Maybe someone else will come along with something creative.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  13. #13
    There are plywood stores. You might find a much better solution at a distributor/reseller that specializes in plywood.

  14. #14
    As stated, the big box store is not where you want to buy things of this sort. Medium density overlay is generally quite flat but, I do not know about it in 1/4". Tempered hardboard and MDF in 1/4" is pretty flat stuff if that material would suit your use.
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell

    Money is simply the marker used as tools move thru the galaxy to their best-use destination. - Kent Bathurst

  15. #15
    What is your specific use/need for flatness? That may help narrow it down. I'd imagine any manufactured core (if you don't need exposed veneer edges) would be flat enough for any non scientific use.

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