I came across a plywood store in my local area, called “Toledo Plywood”. I thought I’d mention it here, because the wood seems to be very good quality and they even designate some of the plywood as laser safe / laserable. They will cut and ship the plywood as well, so anyone can order from them, though it may not be nearly as cost effective as a local option if you have one.
I paid a little under $100 and got 5 sheets of plywood cut 20x60" lengths. This included 2 sheets of 5x5 1/8 BB ($10 each), 2 sheets of 5x5 1/4 BB ($30), and 1 sheet of 4x8 1/8 Walnut ($30) “Shop” grade with an MDF core. The Walnut looks the same as proofgrade, minus the masking tape. The cuts cost me about $9, which allow me to bring it home and easily cut it into 12x20 or so pieces. For the projects I have in mind, the masking tape on the Walnut is not essential, because I am just going to be doing cuts around the border for most of them. I can just use some 4" tape.
Here is a picture of my “haul”:
I am a big fan of proofgrade and still buy it. However, if you are looking to save some money (and spend a little of your time cutting) it’s a good idea to check around and see what local options you have. Also make sure you ask them if things are laser safe / and laser cuttable. Stay away from plywood that uses the waterproof glues (the 5x5 sheets from Toledo Plywood don’t).
Assuming I cut things correctly, I should get about 60 pieces of 12x20 BB, and 15 pieces of 12x20 walnut for $100 + maybe an hour of cutting time.
The 1/8 walnut alone would cost me $240 if I bought PG. Amazon 12x20 1/8 inch BB is $3 per sheet, so about $360 if I got the same amount (and 1/4 is more). So there you have it, $500 of wood if I ordered it online for $100. Not bad!!
I’ll follow up soon with a post that uses some of the plywood so I can make sure it works out as good as I think it’s going to. Thanks for reading!