Ornaments using Baltic Birch

My stepmother loves to hang ornaments and chimes in the trees in her front yard, but she gets a lot of wind due to being on a hill top in the mountains here. I created 3 wooden ornaments for her that can be hung outside without any fear of breakage. I got a pic before sanding, but not after the sanding, unfortunately. She tucked them in her purse when she saw them :smile:

These are 3.75" in diameter on Baltic Birch, which I don’t usually work with much. I think I’ll try the Borax method to get a darker engrave next time. Or possibly just swap to a nice maple sheet.


Slow down and/or increase lpi and you can get darker BB engraves.

Your bigger problem is that if they get wet they will completely disintegrate. Plywoods don’t stand up well to water.

A darker BB engrave:


Thanks! I’ve had great results with ply and spar marine varnish for outdoor use


The real Baltic Birch is designed for Airplane use and though I assume usually painted holds up when wet pretty well. I have some scrap under the coffee nozzel that gets hot coffe spilled on it frequently and though stained has not warmped or come apsrt as MDF always does.

It does get wet and the freeze-thaw of anything that gets wet will come apart. even rocks,


I must be getting different MDF than others. I have a 3/4" piece that I’ve used as a work table outside for years that has warped, but not fallen apart. Particle board is the material that puffs up with water for me.
I don’t use the BB I have much because I usually do finished woods for indoors. I generally don’t like the grain of it.


I use cheaper plywood for things structural or experimental. Not always BB but Oak, and stuff called Revolution Plywood that is poplar and usually the cheapest available, but oak where strength is needed, and occasionally others. I use the “light” version of plywood for stuff to be in the catalog again mainly for stability.

I have a lot of expensive exotic wood, just waiting for a project to justify it. As most of my work is for the catalog atm, it just sits there calling out to me and making me feel guilty, but I really don’t have an outlet for that stuff right now.


I have so much “fancy wood” I’m hoarding! I buy prefinished sheets for my product sales, and usually use MDF for my tests and catalog files. I really need to buckle down and design more this year.

I’ve seen some people make so many designs monthly, I feel like I’m lagging behind! :smile:


Those are nice ornaments, I hope your MIL was tickled pink.


I’m sure there are tons of places to get it, but I have bought marine-grade baltic birch from Smokey Hill Designs. It’s made using waterproof adhesives. Seal it with some spar urethane and it should handle moisture pretty well, at least considerably longer than standard big box store plywoods. They also sand it a lot smoother than some other places I’ve bought BB.

I wish I could say it lasts X amount of time out in the rain, but the HOA I lived in at the time made me take down the yard ornament I made with it after less than a month when they changed the landscaping rules.


Oh yes, I’m very familiar with Casey :blush: I don’t buy big box wood at all, it’s either from a local lumberyard with cabinet and furniture grade materials, or from Ashley at Lasered by the Creek, Cole at T&C Laser Materials, Casey at Smokey Hills, or Alex Fuentes. (Can’t remember his company name offhand)

I’ve got a design in my shop that people are asking for exterior use, so I may stock marine grade if I get more requests.


Another source I have had good luck with…
Ocooch Hardwoods - Supplier of Thin Wood for Scroll Sawing, Carving Blocks, Intarsia wood, Plywood for scroll sawing, and more.