Monday, June 8, 2009

Bad plywood

The learning curve has reared up and smacked me in the head. I know you are supposed to use BS1088 rated Okoume marine ply. So I ordered 6 sheets of the stuff from a very large, local, supposedly reputable distributor. They had a fantastic price on the 6mm at $50 a sheet. I double checked with them that it is BS1088 and they assured me it's the right stuff. I picked it up and it looked fine as far as I knew. Once I got it home I realized that one side was A grade but the other had some footballs here and there. At this point I should have realized that this ply was more BS than 1088. But the footballs were few, the real stuff is $80 a sheet and returning this lot would be a pain. So I decided I could lay out the parts such that any football was on the inside of a buoyancy tank or underside of a seat. I forged on and cut out all of the pieces. Everything went as planned and I did not find any voids in the ply, so far so good. I was always a bit puzzled by the look of the grain but never let that get in the way of cutting out parts and making progress. While staring at the pile of cut parts I decided to do a test on some scraps to see what this stuff will look like once epoxy coated.
Well, this is what Tank thought of it:

Some of the sheets are a red-brown with nasty splotches and others are closer to the golden color I expected but still do not look all that good. Long story short I'm scrapping the whole lot and starting over. The boat would be perfectly sound if built from this stuff and would look great once painted, but it's not acceptable since I'm finishing the interior clear.

After doing much research it appears that the ply I have is a China imitation of BS1088 and like many products made there, buyer beware. The glue is probably made from dog poo. To be fair it is pretty OK stuff, especially for the price. Five ply with no voids, the outer veneers are a bit thin but OK, just don't expect to finish it clear. The search is on for a local or within reasonable driving distance supplier of Joubert brand BS1088 Okoume or equivalent.