Baltic Birch or Poplar Plywood?

  • Has anybody used baltic birch or poplar plywood for building their boats instead of okoume?  

  • It can be done with satisfactory results, but overall, it's usually not worth it.  Okoume has several distinct advantages - it is lightweight, strong, and has a beatiful dark colour when finished clear.  While birch is also a strong wood (better than poplar), it is denser, meaning equivalent sized sheets of plywood will weigh a fair bit more, resulting in a heavier boat.  Less dense woods are always stronger (for weight) for structural purposes, the reason why planes are made from spruce and balsa, not oak and mahogany.  While okoume is a hardwood, it is wonderfully light.  Finally, getting away from the wood, it is easier to ensure that you are getting high quality plywood with okoume, free of voids and other problems, since there are a number of European companies that specialize in marine okoume plywood. 

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