My Baltic Birch Adventure

Continuing the discussion from Flat-pack holiday tree:

Here’s the director’s cut of experimenting with settings and eventually cutting this thing:


I have not had time to watch the show, since I’m at work.

I’ve been working with Baltic Birch for the past week. I’m working on a large project that required 40 sheets of 10x20 Baltic Birch to be cut. 10 of those were 1/4" and the rest were 1/8" thick.

The 1/8 cut really well. I used the Medium Maple Plywood proofgrade settings and it just worked great.

The 1/4 was more difficult. I used 140 speed at full power. Most of the time, 1 pass would do it. But at some places, it did not go all the way through. So I used 2 passes. This worked 95% of the time. There are 2 pieces I had to recut, because even 2 passes did not go through. Looking at those areas, it looks like there might have been a knot in one of the middle layers.

I’m really liking the Baltic Birch. It’s nice that I can get some here locally at the store. I’ll try and watch your video later this week, when I have a bit of time.

I’ll post my project when it’s completely done. I’m done the cutting, but now comes the staining and gluing.


Do you have a pics of the failed single pass and what the 2 pass successes look like?

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Kjp has a sale again… I’m headed over on Saturday for barn beams and 1/8" BB.

Wood Source is still cheaper even with the 20% off, but it’s a few min from me and 45min from you.

I’ll see if I can dig some failed cuts from my “reject” bin tonight. It cuts about 3/4 of the way through.

At 2 passes, the sides are pretty black and charred. But I clean them up with a rag.

I think next time, I’ll only work in 1/8". If I need anything 1/4", I’ll just cut two 1/8" layers and glue them up. It will probably look about the same. It also won’t take much longer, since I’m doing 2 passes on the 1/4" anyways, and only 1 pass on the 1/8".


I have only played around with two pieces, so my sample size is pretty limited. But so far, very happy with this stuff: It seems to be very consistent. And flat.


Yeah, it’s by far my favorite material; like 90% of what I make uses it. You can also often get it at craft stores with reasonably reliable quality, it’s usually called craft plywood. I’ve seen it up to 12 by 24 in size.

It’s gotten to the point that I order it from a hardware store though, and they have it in 5’ by 5’ sheets. But they’ll cut it down to whatever I specify (which has been 18 by 24 up to this point, since I’m working on a maker space laser) and ship it to me. Even after cut and shipping costs I get 18 by 24 sheets for about $4 a pop. And they throw in all the remaining bits, which I just consider gratis.


I’m finding the exact same thing with 1/4". I’ve now slowed my original setting of 140 speed, to 130 and then fight that 5% of the time it doesn’t go through. My current technique is to score the back with a cutting knife and then carefully snap the piece out. I also find the same with 1/8, I just use the medium maple ply setting as well and no issues.


I am finding similar, and deciding that I pretty much love 1/8" bb and don’t love scoring the misses on my 1/4" bb. I would save time gluing instead of scoring.

I get my BB from about 40 minutes away. $10 for a 5’x5’ 1/8" sheet, of which I get 15 12x20 sheets means that, not counting gas and table saw time, I’m at around 60 cents a sheet. Call it a dollar when somebody asks my material cost. Draftboard can’t touch that, BB is vastly superior to cardboard, and I like it for the bulk of my projects.


My experience with the larger box of that exact product was the exact opposite. I paid $60 for a box of 45 sheets out of which maybe 35 were horribly warped. The vendor has been unresponsive to my negative review.

Here is a pic of the crap they sent me.


Hmm. I’m still going through my first few sheets, but maybe I should open up the big box in the garage and make sure they’re ok. I was planning to do a lot of holiday gifts with that.

I would check. If I had noticed so many sheets were bad, I would have returned the box. Unfortunately, I had already used a sheet before realizing this.

Is there a way to flatten it out a little so its more useable? If paper warps, you can wet it down a bit and stretch it. Then as it dries, it dries flat. Maybe it wood work similarly? Obviously can’t staple it to a board to stretch it smooth, but maybe if you weighted it down or something?

Maybe with steam. Not worth it, IMHO.

Here is my review. Would you guys mind up-voting it? I am thinking if enough people do, the vendor might actually be motivated to make things right.

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Hmmm. I was about to order that 45 for $60 deal. Maybe I’ll chill for a bit.


You can complain more directly to the seller via Amazon and escalate via Amazon if necessary.

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I went ahead and initiated a return. We’ll see how it goes.

I’m a big fan of B.B. too, and like others I’ve found it for about 60 cents per square foot. Here’s a post about how to determine where your knots are:

Hope it’s useful!

Oh also I cut mine at 220/full on a pro and it’s pretty much perfect. No char, almost zero flashback.


Has anyone tried the WOODNSHOP BB?

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