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The selection of engineered building materials available to contractors and the general public gets bigger and better every year — there’s melamine, plywood, Baltic birch plywood, chipboard, MDO, MDF, particle board, phenolic, and more.  One of the relative newcomers, phenolic-faced plywood looks to be a good combination of stability, strength, and water resistance.

Rockler just introduced phenolic-faced 14-ply solid birch 3/4″ plywood.  This void-free and stable material features a waterproof and low-friction surface that would be good for tabletops, jigs, or projects.  They sell it in sheets of 24″ x 32″ for $40.

Woodcraft also sells phenolic-faced 3/4″ plywood.  Their offering consists of birch ply glued together with exterior glue and sandwiched between phenolic-impregnated birch ply.  You’ll pay about $60 for a quarter sheet.

Both can be machined with standard woodworking tools and will hold screws well.

Phenolic-Faced Plywood [Rockler]
Phenolic-Faced Plywood [Woodcraft]


8 Responses to Plastic-Covered Plywood

  1. Clark F says:

    Hmmm, might make a good, cheap toolbox work surface.

  2. Pete D says:

    Check the price before you call it a cheap surface!
    1/2 x 24 x 48 is almost $50!

  3. Fabian says:

    I wonder if this is stronger than a solid core door.


  4. Clark F says:

    $50 is cheaper then a couple hundred for phenolic work surface for my Matco box.

  5. Kurt Schwind says:

    It’s 3/4″ x 24″ x 32″ for $40, right? Or am I misreading something? It also sounds like the surface (not the ends) are water proof.

  6. Bob C says:

    If you buy it by a full sheet, 48 x 96, it is quite a bit cheaper. Most lumber stores can order it, but I find they rarely stock it. I paid $75 for two full sheets last summer. It makes a great surface for mitre saw stands, assembly tables, etc. You will need a zero clearance setup to cut it, because the edges tear out easily. My Festool plunge saw and zero clearance insert on the table saw had no problems with it.

  7. Donald Johnson says:

    It appears both Rockler and Woodcraft have discontinued this product. I know it’s quite popular in Canada and UK. This is my favorite for CNC projects – where can I purchase around San Francisco Bay area (specifically Oakland) so I don’t have to pay a huge sum in shipping? Thanks.

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