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Alternatives to Baltic Birch

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SonicXtasy View Drop Down
Young Croc
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    Posted: 13 June 2012 at 10:23pm
I am itching to build something. I am trying to design some new horn-loaded 3 way tops but in the mean time I have 8 B&C 15PZB40's that sim pretty nice in the THAM 15. I think I want to build 1 pair to go below some 12" powered Yorkville tops. They also model well in Xoc1's TH-18 which may be the next build. Anyway, there is a local plywood wharehouse that carries many types of plywood. I am unable to purchase directly but found a workshop the will order what ever I need at a small markup. I know baltic birch seems to be the most recommended ply but are there other plys that are almost as good that might be considerably cheaper? Here is a list of the types they carry.

Red Oak White Oak Cherry Brazilian Cherry
Hickory QF Makore Aromatic Cedar Spanish Cedar
White Maple Natural Maple White Birch Natural Birch
Golden Teak Teak and Holly Knotty Pine Clear Pine
Sapele Ribbon Striped Sapele White Ash Cypress
Beech Bubinga Lyptus Selyptus
Walnut Meranti Clear Alder Rustic Alder
Anigre QF Anigre Baltic Birch African Mahogany
Basswood Sande Italian Poplar Virola
Rosewood Okoume Plain Sliced Okoume Zebrawood
Wenge Primavera Red Birch Rift Oak
If there is another usable ply in the list, please let me know so I can compare prices to the baltic birch when I go to order. Also, what would be considered a fair price for an 18mm 4 X 8 or 5 X 5 sheet of baltic birch here in the USA. ThanksWink
The member formally known as vwbidder.
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Meat View Drop Down
Old Croc
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Meat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 June 2012 at 10:28pm
I'm building some monitors and compact 18s out of 15mm Okoume at the moment (mainly due to easy availability and price in France). Seem void-free enough to be acceptable and has a very nice outer grain. I'll post back if they end up being nice or horribly resonant.
Don't test the champignon sound
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Old Croc
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Andy Kos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 June 2012 at 10:31pm
Looking at some in those list, they look like they have been selected for making furniture,etc where the finish/grain of the wood is important, as potentially it will be lacquered to a nice finish.
Unless you are planning a fancy finish on your speakers, I would stick with the baltic birch, as this generally is selected due to having an even grain, with few knots, and a good strength/weight characteristics at a sensible price.
Trying to analyse such a massive list could be very time consuming, and I would imagine, looking at some of the woods, would fetch a fairly exotic price!
Just realised you are in the US, Baltic Birch may not be so cheap over there....
Perhaps the nearest equivalent in a locally produced product would make sense.

Edited by Andy Kos - 13 June 2012 at 10:33pm
just a guy with a warehouse and a few speakers... www.bluearan.co.uk
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote B.M.F. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 June 2012 at 11:12pm
Best price i have found on Baltic is $65 for 4 X 8. My shop uses some 11 ply domestic birch with exterior grade adhesive in it that we where getting for $36 for a 4 X 8 sheet.. We sandwich this in fiberglass parts that have screwed on hardware. This stuff is void free, knot free, and extremely stiff. Problem is the seller just switched suppliers and is now trying to sell 7 ply crap from China that I wouldn't build a doghouse out of. I found this out when I went to pick the wood to start my CBE-18's. If an alternate is out there I would be very interested in it as well. 
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biotec View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote biotec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 June 2012 at 9:19am
I suspect a lot of those plywoods are just faced with the timber in the name. Many of those listed are expensive hardwoods and do not have good properties for making plywood, least of all for building speakers.

If they use the wood noted throughout, I would definately consider hickory. It is denser, stiffer, stronger and harder than birch, although the form of the tree does not lend itself well for manufacturing plywood like birch and pine do.

Of course the properties of the wood are not the only considerations, you want to know that they have used a decent glue, that the panels are largely void and knot fre, and that there are sufficient number of laminates to avoid splintering at the edges.
me so horny, me love you long throw.
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