Unfinished proof grade plywood?

I am looking for plywood, on par with the proofrgrade stuff from GF that does not have a finish on it? Something out of wood (not MDF).

I want to be able to stain/color the wood myself and still have grain.


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I believe the Basswood PG is unfinished.

They sell hardwood plywoods with a hardwood veneer over a MDF core (just like proofgrade.) Rockler sells them and my local Menards has a lower quality version (only in 1/4" nominal.) A good lumber yard would presumably order if they don’t stock. There is also Baltic Birch, which is real (as in non-MDF core) plywood.

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Lots of veneered plywood’s out there. You say no MDF - does that mean no MDF core? In other words, a veneer core?

The simplest answer would be Baltic birch. It’s more consistent than most plywood’s out there, but I can nearly guarantee it won’t cut perfect for every piece.

This isn’t supposed to happen for Baltic birch - but it did (for reference, this is an 8” puzzle piece).


It is my understanding cabinet makers are big consumers of hardwood plywoods, so find their suppliers and you have probably found what you want.

If you’re looking for COLOR, then Baltic Birch will work - it is what the Wood Gallery uses. They used to sell at really affordable prices, but not so much anymore. It’s nice stuff though. Here’s a link:


This is interesting, and similar to what my wife is in need of. I am making a collection of snowflakes. She takes them and colors them with nice colored pencil. In the past we have found blanks at Michael’s or some such like store. The snowflakes were in plywood, laser cut, but weren’t finished. This allows for the colored pencil to penetrate/cover the wood fairly easily. The GF plywood has that shiny veneer and the pencils don’t work well.

Here’s what we are working on:


Almost certainly Baltic birch. You can get it super cheap at lumberyards, like 15$ for a 5’x5’ sheet.

If you’re near a rugby architectural building supplies location, they carry it. You’ll have to cut it down to size (I use a battery powered circular saw, works great), but you can’t beat the price. It’s like $1 for a full-size gf sheet.


Didn’t really think about it, but MDF core w/ veneer sounds OK. I guess I could veneer it myself and adhere it to the MDF… not sure if that’s economical on price. Hmmmmm…

Baltic Birch does not stain very well. It gets kind of blotchy. If the pieces you’re using in your end product are small enough, that doesn’t matter. (i.e., I’ve made earrings out of it, and they’re tiny, so the blotchiness doesn’t show up) Also, I have stained/dyed it black (Minwax True Black), and that works as well, since it is all dark.
It paints fine, I’ve used both brush on and spray paint with Baltic Birch.

On the plus side, I can get BB 1/8" plywood for less than $0.50/square foot. So it’s very cost effective for me. And I mostly use clear coat finishes, like polyurethane, so the staining issue isn’t an issue.


I’ve had good luck with https://cherrytreetoys.com/ and their hardwood plywood. I order their 1/8", but they also have 1/4". Size is 16"x24", which works for me since I cut them down to 8x12. If you have to have GF sized sheets, you would have a lot of waste. You might contact them and ask if 12x20 would be possible. They have cherry, walnut, oak, mahogany, maple. I see that they also have 1/16" and 1/32" birch plywood.


The big box stores like Lowes have “Revolution” plywood in full 4’ x 8’ sheets that was $15 per that I have them cut 5 -19" x 48" pieces and run what I need through the pass through on the pro. It is all wood but soft and one sided and the top veneer is odd but can be very pretty, and It is the best I have seen for a lack of voids in cheap material.

They also have 1/4 oak that takes a lot more effort to find clean sheets but what filler there is is not laser proof Bondo that is common in other cheap plywoods. It is twice as much but much stronger and can be engraved without looking awful.


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