Everyone wants their money’s worth. It doesn’t matter if its lunch or a new kitchen; we want good quality at a good value. Here at Dailey Woodworks, we are the same way. We want the best materials possible at the best price possible to provide our customers the best value overall. That’s why we’re now spending $15 more per sheet of plywood.
For the last few years I’ve been buying one type of plywood for my custom dog kennels, one type of plywood for my shop projects, another for cabinetry, and another for stain grade work. Here’s the thing; this leaves me with a small mountain of off cuts and scraps that I can’t really use. Waste. I tried various ways to organize and use it; however, mixing BC, Birch, Oak, and Radiata offcuts together for a finished product isn’t a good option. You’re paying Dailey Woodworks for a high-quality end product, not for a hodgepodge of scrap lumber. So every couple of weeks, I’d load up my small mound of offcuts and take it to the dump. I probably throw away $300-$500 of good material every month, if not more, because I just don’t have the room to store it.
Discovering Purebond Hardwood Plywood
For my interior cabinet work, I have been using Common Birch from my local lumber yard. It’s a decent paint grade material that provides a good value. But I really don’t like working with it. The dust generated really irritates my allergies, even with my dust collection system.
Recently, I started a laundry room renovation in Bryan, TX. We started with storage/water heater cabinet refacing. (Refacing is keeping the cabinet box, painting or replacing the face frame, and installing new doors. This is about 1/2 the cost of new cabinets (See our Budget Kitchen Transformation Article to learn more).) My client decided to add a couple of pull out drawers for better access. Our standard drawer boxes are clear coated 1/2 birch plywood with captive 1/4 birch bottom. They are strong, look great, and are inexpensive.
Since my normal lumber yard was 20 minutes away, I decided to go to the nearest lumber yard and pick up what I thought was the same but more expensive product. It was advertised as “Purebond.” I’ve heard a few of my favorite Youtube Woodworkers talk about it and liking it. The cynic in me just assumed they were getting sponsored to say that. I’ll be darned! (keeping it kid friendly here) It’s good stuff!
The first thing I noticed was that the faces were thicker and looked better than what I normally used. The biggest difference was in milling it to size. NO ALLERGY IRRITATION! It smelled a lot better, too. Looks better, smells better, less irritation… that’s all great but is it really $10-15 a sheet better? I finished up my pull outs with a few coats of lacquer and installed them. We were waiting on my cabinet doors to come in so I loaded up and headed home.
I had about a half sheet left so I put it on my scrap cart that was already overflowing with the various other products I use thinking, “Wow! This “Purebond” stuff really looks better and mills very well, maybe I should look into this?”
Making the Switch
Using my magic rectangle that contains all of the knowledge known to man, I quickly discovered why I should start using Purebond exclusively. The main birch I had been using is imported from China, contains formaldehyde, and is made under questionable manufacturing practices. Purebond Birch Plywood (I can order it with basically in any wood), is made in the USA, uses Soy-Based Adhesives, and poplar wood cores. Basically, both you and I can find out everything we want to know about Purebond plywood because Columbia Forest Products is proud of it, unlike the old product I was using. I could only get an “I don’t know, we just order it from our supplier” when I asked about where my old lumber yard got their “cabinet grade material.”
Here’s the facts: Purebond is made in North America, from American sourced raw materials, It uses a Soy-Based formaldehyde-free adhesive during the manufacturing process, is both LEED and CARB compliant, and is a winner of the EPA’s Greener Synthetic Pathways Challenge. Which would you rather have in your home? Which would you rather use to store your food? Which would I rather work with almost every day? Exactly.
Standardizing to Increase Value for My Customers
While all the benefits of switching to Purebond are obvious, there was still the extra price to swallow or pass on to my customers. But what if there was a better way?
I’m all into learning and applying Lean Manufacturing Philosophy to my life and business. You can see some of the improvements I make in my “Lean Improvements” blog category. The overarching principle of Lean is to eliminate waste. Remember that $300-500 of material I throw away every month because I don’t have room to store it? The solution is to apply one of the core tenants of Lean: Standardize. Standardize applies to the way I get dressed, to the way I build dog kennel, and to the materials I use.
Instead of stocking four types of plywood, what if I just used one? I had been using various plywoods because I thought that it was better to sometimes use a $30 plywood for one type of product and other times use a $55 plywood for another product. Then I ran some numbers. By standardizing across the full scope of my business, I can utilize offcuts and leftover materials exponentially better. If I have 1/4 sheet left over from a project, I can use it on the next project, no matter what it is, because I’ll be using the same product on the next project. In fact, not only do you get a better finished product but I end up saving money in materials overall.
You may be wondering; “yeah but what if I want walnut cabinets?” Well, the answer to that is “yes, please, I love walnut.” Instead of spending a large fortune on walnut plywood for the entire project, we can strategically use our standard Purebond Birch Plywood with Purebond Walnut Veneer Plywood on the end panels and visible sections. Value, Looks, and Quality. Boom! Mic Dropped!
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We’re always improving everything we do to provide a greater value and experience to our customers. By carefully selecting the materials we use from woods, to paints, to hardware, we’re committing to providing exceptional quality and value to all of our work. Tell us about your next project and lets get started.
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