Using Marine Grade Plywood

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Using Marine Grade Plywood

Postby Barry Anderson » Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:48 pm

Good morning. I have someone that wants letters cut out of exterior, treated plywood. Being treated, the wood is wet to some degree when purchased. Any comments and/or advice on how this will affect the cutting capability of a 1/4" end mill?
Thank you,
Barry
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Re: Using Marine Grade Plywood

Postby carbidetooth » Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:17 pm

I can guess at the results, but it's unclear what material you're actually going to use.

Marine plywood is typically a better grade of fir plywood with exterior glue. Thought by many to be waterproof, but not really true. It should cut fine but edges will have a little tear out and checking as is typical of softwood plywood.

Treated plywood refers to "pressure treated". A process where preservative chemicals, usually in water base, are imbued into plywood under pressure. Often colored to identify as such. Because it has so much added moisture, the wood fibers are going to be more pliable. I would expect to see a more "hairy" edge, but have never cut it on router. Because it often starts with a lesser grade of plywood, possibility of voids on inner plys is greater.
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Re: Using Marine Grade Plywood

Postby Rcnewcomb » Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:31 pm

Might it be better to use Extira or sign foam for this application?
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Re: Using Marine Grade Plywood

Postby GeneMpls » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:37 pm

Or exterior pvc- usually anything over 1/4" is exterior.
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Re: Using Marine Grade Plywood

Postby Wayne Locke » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:49 pm

You can get marine plywood in different hardwood species but it is expensive and difficult to find. If it is not to be submerged or on water, marine grade is probably expensive overkill. The letters will most likely be painted so an exterior ply will probably be fine. I am pretty sure that Baltic birch uses an exterior glue and would work fine.

Maybe go on a sign forum and see what they say.

The treated that I have seen all seems to be not very high quality, from a furniture maker’s perspective, construction material.
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Re: Using Marine Grade Plywood

Postby Barry Anderson » Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:40 pm

Thank you for your replies. The concerns posted are things I have thought about, and wanted other opinions. I will check into the other material suggestions.

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Re: Using Marine Grade Plywood

Postby jerry carney » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:03 pm

My material of choice for out door work is HDU cuts beautiful and lasts a long time . Paints well. IMHO
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Re: Using Marine Grade Plywood

Postby adze_cnc » Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:57 pm

Barry Anderson wrote:I have someone that wants letters cut out of exterior, treated plywood.


As in "letter shapes" and not carved into the material? How about "medium density overlay" otherwise known as sign-board? https://www.windsorplywood.com/product/752-0105-12-5mm-mdo-plywood/ Each face has a phenolic coating. You'd just need to seal the cut edges.

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Re: Using Marine Grade Plywood

Postby Barry Anderson » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:31 am

Yes sir, letter shapes.
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Re: Using Marine Grade Plywood

Postby martin54 » Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:29 am

What sort of thickness & what is the intended use?
If these are for something like a shop front then wood is very rarely used because it requires to much maintenance, depenting on thickness then Acrylic, foamex or ACM would all be better choices. If they are thick letters then Randall's suggestion would be better, Channel letters are often used for thicker letters but you wouldn't be able to produce those without special software/hardware or a lot of mucking about/trial & error :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Using Marine Grade Plywood

Postby Barry Anderson » Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:55 pm

The customer wants 3/4" thick letters to put on an existing sign. In the past she has furnished cedar, but asked about the treated plywood. The cedar she furnished was dry and brittle. Sharp corners easily broken. So I want to use something different. I checked into the costs of some of the other suggestions, and think they will be cost prohibitive for her. She changes the words every year or so, depending on what new venture she is promoting. With this, a long service life is not a requirement.

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