Baltic Birch Plywood

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Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby chrapladm » 06 Jun 2009, 19:21

Hello I am trying to find where in South Australia I can buy some Baltic Birch(BB) Plywood? I am needing some for bass guitar rig I am building and need to find a supplier. There is a place in Melbourne called Plyco that sells the lumber and will cut to size for me but they have not told me a price. AND I would hate to see how much shipping is going to be.

So does anyone know of limber yard that is in Adelaide that sells BB plywood?

And worst case scenario does anyone know where I can get a price on BB plywood?

Thanks for anyone who can help.
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby Petebass » 07 Jun 2009, 15:30

Ok I get flamed whenever I point this out on TB, but the science supports it:-

Cabinets are not designed as musical instruments. The timber on an instrument is designed to resonate, and that resonance adds or subtracts to the tone.

On the other hand, if the timber of a speaker cab resonates, it can only subtract from the tone. Panel vibrations are a waste of acoustic power. A properly designed speaker cabinet will be designed to eliminate panel vibrations as much as possible. It's worth bearing in mind the speaker designers the world over agree that the ideal speaker enclosure would be made of concrete. That's obviously not practical especially in terms of portability, but it illustrates the point.

So what does it matter what type of timber you use on a cabinet if the timber resonance is engineered out ? A properly designed cabinet should sound the same regardless of what type of ply your use. Sure there "might" be a small difference in weight of baltic pirch ply compared to the pine ply you can get for half the price at Bunnings, but it's barely worth paying double for.

So why do all the big cab makers emphasise the use of Baltic Birch Ply? Because it sounds nice. Kinda like how restaurants always emphasise "sea salt" because it sounds nicer than "sodium chloride".
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby PilbaraBass » 08 Jun 2009, 11:19

Pete...why will you get flamed? what you said is absolutely correct...

it's the difference between "producing" sound and "re-producing" sound...and it's pretty significant...
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby Petebass » 08 Jun 2009, 12:42

PilbaraBass wrote:Pete...why will you get flamed? ...
..
Because people who buy stuff will always feel the need to justify their purchase, more so if it's expensive. People who paid the extra for a cab partly because it used "superior" timber don't like being told they got taken in by marketing.

It's ok, when the flaming starts I just sit back and pretend I'm wrong :)
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby chrapladm » 08 Jun 2009, 21:03

WOW sounds like someone has issues.....Anyways the cabinets I am going to build are far superior to everything I have heard. Are they the best ever, probably not but who cares!! I am building this cabinet because I feel it is the best I HAVE ever heard. The recipe calls for BB plywood. Others have used other plywoods to build the design but EVERYONE has said just stick with the BB because it is superior to others. SO I am not going to change the recipe, go out and buy some cheeper hoop pine at Bunnings just because others dont like BB plywood.

I can build my ideal bass cabinet for about $600aud so why would I complain about the BB being more expensive when I am saving myself $1500 by not buying Epifani or Bergantino cabinet.

I know all to well about the hype people put on cabinets being the best and saying they are far superior because of wood selection and design, but who cares what others think you need to hear it for yourself.

And I have heard what I want so no more believing what others think.

AND WHO CARES IF I WANT TO GET BALTIC BIRCH OR HOOP PINE PLYWOOD ANYWAYS. I asked where could I find some Baltic Birch not teach me how everyone is getting taken for there money because they believe manufacturers.

Maybe I should tell you that you should only play a 6 string bass with a carbon fiber neck. EXACTLY

You have your opinion and just like you I am not going with the norm just like everyone else.

So I love to argue ,but, I was really just trying to find where I can get some Baltic Birch Plywood. If you know then please help me out. If you dont then please leave the lecture to some other forum.
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby Petebass » 08 Jun 2009, 21:44

Ok then, good luck with that.

One question though - How do you know there cabs are the "best ever" if you haven't even built it yet? How do you know you're not just getting caught up in hype?

I dare ya to Build 2. Build one out of BB, then build one out of standard ply. Then decide if I'm an idiot or not.
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby PilbaraBass » 08 Jun 2009, 21:50

You're right, Pete...looks like you got flamed...:D

As far as deciding whether you're an idiot or not...I don't' think it has anything to do with plywood :poke: :D
Last edited by PilbaraBass on 08 Jun 2009, 21:53, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby Petebass » 08 Jun 2009, 21:52

PilbaraBass wrote:You're right, Pete...looks like you got flamed...:D

Yeah I knew I would. Hang around, this could get funny :D
* 2 Stingray 5's (one heavily modded), Ashbory, Alembic loaded SX Jazz
* Carvin B1500, Epifani PS1000, Ashdown Superfly amps.
* Lots of DIY neo/lightweight cabs including one made from composites viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2546
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby PilbaraBass » 08 Jun 2009, 21:53

Petebass wrote:
PilbaraBass wrote:You're right, Pete...looks like you got flamed...:D

Yeah I knew I would. Hang around, this could get funny :D


you're quick...I just edited my post..."more hijinx" :)
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby mkat » 08 Jun 2009, 23:19

Petebass wrote:One question though - How do you know there cabs are the "best ever" if you haven't even built it yet? How do you know you're not just getting caught up in hype?

I dare ya to Build 2. Build one out of BB, then build one out of standard ply. Then decide if I'm an idiot or not.


:lol: two to prove it... Pete, your a profit ( :hmm now where's that dictionary when I need it) ...

But seriously, that would show beyond a doubt with the added benefit of another cab.
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby PilbaraBass » 09 Jun 2009, 07:27

mkat wrote:
Petebass wrote:One question though - How do you know there cabs are the "best ever" if you haven't even built it yet? How do you know you're not just getting caught up in hype?

I dare ya to Build 2. Build one out of BB, then build one out of standard ply. Then decide if I'm an idiot or not.


:lol: two to prove it... Pete, your a profit ( :hmm now where's that dictionary when I need it) ...

But seriously, that would show beyond a doubt with the added benefit of another cab.


That would be "prophet" ;)

Actually, if the OP won't take our word for it, he should contact Kenny Allyn over at TB... Kenny builds cabs for a business... His viewpoints whould be interesting
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby Petebass » 09 Jun 2009, 08:54

PilbaraBass wrote:Actually, if the OP won't take our word for it, he should contact Kenny Allyn over at TB... Kenny builds cabs for a business... His viewpoints whould be interesting
Good idea. But bear in mind that if he's American, he's likely to assume BB is as easy to buy here as it is over there. I probably should have clarified this in my original post, but buying BB in the US is as easy as walking into their version of Bunnings. Kenny may not be aware that BB in Austr is usually imported and is therefore rarer and more expensive.

Funny thing is if the OP simply replied to my post with "I'd still prefer BB. Can you tell me where to buy it?" I would have been able to some information to help. Due to a sever lack of people skills, I think I'll keep that information to myself.
* 2 Stingray 5's (one heavily modded), Ashbory, Alembic loaded SX Jazz
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby Matthew Tucker » 09 Jun 2009, 09:31

Petebass said

"So what does it matter what type of timber you use on a cabinet if the timber resonance is engineered out ? [...] Sure there "might" be a small difference in weight of baltic pirch ply compared to the pine ply you can get for half the price at Bunnings, but it's barely worth paying double for."

There are other very good reasons for buying more expensive materials. From my own experience it is very worthwhile buying more expensive materials if it makes your building process easier and the end product will be neater and better. You can build a cab from chipboard if you really wanted to. It would work. But not nice to work with, doesn't last.

Bunnings pine plywood is not well finished, and tends to twist and split. I built a dinghy from Bunnings exterior ply once, cos it was cheaper, and spent hours and hours rebending and bogging and fairing and repainting to get a nice finish. Sure, in the end the boat floats just as well. But in restrospect, I would have been FAR better off buying some decent marine grade ply at double the cost, to reduce the work I had to put in later. And I could have had a varnished finish, too.

Baltic Birch is an american ingredient. Here, I think the equivalent is Marine ply. Dense, high quality timbers and glue, and sanded to a nice finish, straight off the shelf. So you can get a more rigid, less resonant result with a thinner board, and that's what can make the finished item lighter. Or you can keep the weight the same and make it even MORE rigid. That's what you want, isn't it?

So, while I agreed with your analysis of the purpose of a speaker cab, I disagree that specifiying quality materials is all hype. And experience supports my view. :2c:
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby PilbaraBass » 09 Jun 2009, 09:40

Matthew Tucker wrote:Petebass said

"So what does it matter what type of timber you use on a cabinet if the timber resonance is engineered out ? [...] Sure there "might" be a small difference in weight of baltic pirch ply compared to the pine ply you can get for half the price at Bunnings, but it's barely worth paying double for."

There are other very good reasons for buying more expensive materials. From my own experience it is very worthwhile buying more expensive materials if it makes your building process easier and the end product will be neater and better. You can build a cab from chipboard if you really wanted to. It would work. But not nice to work with, doesn't last.

Bunnings pine plywood is not well finished, and tends to twist and split. I built a dinghy from Bunnings exterior ply once, cos it was cheaper, and spent hours and hours rebending and bogging and fairing and repainting to get a nice finish. Sure, in the end the boat floats just as well. But in restrospect, I would have been FAR better off buying some decent marine grade ply at double the cost, to reduce the work I had to put in later. And I could have had a varnished finish, too.

Baltic Birch is an american ingredient. Here, I think the equivalent is Marine ply. Dense, high quality timbers and glue, and sanded to a nice finish, straight off the shelf. So you can get a more rigid, less resonant result with a thinner board, and that's what can make the finished item lighter. Or you can keep the weight the same and make it even MORE rigid. That's what you want, isn't it?

So, while I agreed with your analysis of the purpose of a speaker cab, I disagree that specifiying quality materials is all hype. And experience supports my view. :2c:


you point is well taken...however, most cabs are covered with a fabric such as tolex (expensive in its own right)...

when building boats, marine-grade is likely the way to go...

Pete...good point about the avalailability of of birch plywood in america...but it is still a reasonably expensive material there as birch is not the most prolific tree in the forest...in america, its probably white birch, too vs. baltic.
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Re: Baltic Birch Plywood

Postby chrapladm » 09 Jun 2009, 10:28

Well thanks for everyones help. I found a wholesaler hear in Adelaide who sells BB plywood. Yes the equivalent in Australia to BB would probably be marine grade Mahogany plywood. But I have know idea and I am sure Petebass can chime in tell us his 20 cents on Mahogany plywood.

Yes I agree with your view point also Mathew.

And yes I am American. BB plywood is not in every "Bunnings,"(Home Depot or Lowes) around the country of USA. I have never bought the bulk of my lumber from places like these. I usually go to another smaller place that have better quality lumber and cheaper prices. And I feel that I will be doing the same here in Adelaide, and staying away from Bunnings for my lumber supplies. I am sure Bunnings has Some good lumber but it wont work for my project.

And yes I prefer BB over most any plywoods. I have made many things out of BB and pine and hands down the BB could take more of a beating and still stay rigid. I can also use a smaller thickness with the BB then I can with the pine. Marine grade plywood would probably work but like I said the recipe called for BB so I am following the plan. My cabinet will not be covered in "rat fur," as it is very good at collecting dust and other debris. I will be using Easytread on the exterior because I can not get Duratex imported to Australia.

Anyways thanks for EVERYONES help. As much as this has been a debate and rambling of sorts, it made me put the question on the Luthiers forum and I got 5 replys back with them all saying the same store. 5 replies in the time it took Pete to say his 2 cents.

I could argue all day long with you pete but it feels like I am back in 6th grade so I will not. And secondly your always going to be correct and no one will tell you different. There is nothing wrong with that but when 2 people are very STUBBORN and are only seeing their point of view, then there is nothing to achieve in arguing but wasting ones breathe.

But thanks again. Nothing wrong with a good childish argument to stir the soul.
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