OSB vs Plywood

jbomb1018

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I'm in the middle of a table build, I screwed up my rail and need to go get more wood. I am wondering has anyone used OSB for a table build or should plywood be used? OSB is cheaper but did not know if there was was any implications that may come along with OSB vs plywood?
 

Darson

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There are several different grades of OSB, some are as good as plywood and other are crap and flake apart. If you were using a sheet for something like the table top then it may be OK but I wouldn't use it for a rail where it's gonna be 5-6" wide as it may break. I also wouldn't be comfortable driving screws into OSB and expecting them to hold. OSB is usually used for house construction where the panel is screwed to a frame so the screw actually bites into the frame, not the OSB. It's good stuff in the right application but I don't think it would be that great for a rail.
 

TheDuke

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I think OSB weighs alot more than plywood as well.

So you may want to take that into consideration if this is a table that doesn't have a permanent space in your home.
 

jbomb1018

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A product I have been using lately for many projects is MDO (medium density overlay) which is plywood with a resin-impregnated thick kraft paper on both sides. It lays incredibly flat and is less prone to warping. Great stuff.
Is the cost comparable to plywood?
 

jbomb1018

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A product I have been using lately for many projects is MDO (medium density overlay) which is plywood with a resin-impregnated thick kraft paper on both sides. It lays incredibly flat and is less prone to warping. Great stuff.
Have you used it in a poker table build?
 

justsomedude

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What part of the rail, specifically, did you mess up?
And will you be using inserts/T-nuts to bolt the rail down to the table?

You may be able to save some loot with a lower grade ply for the rail. Especially if it's going to be upholstered and bolted down.

My first build was made with lower grade "radiata pine" plywood. I think it was about $35 for a 4x8 sheet. The sheets had some visible flex/bowing, but everything flattened out with the bottom/oval support piece attached, and the rail bolted down...

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Colquhoun

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MDO is quite expensive compared to plywood, but worth it imo if a flat stable surface is desired. I have not used it in making a poker table.
 

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Lighting looks amazing!

Can you share what specific led strips you used? As well, what did you use for the diffuser? Some kind of acrylic strip?

Sure, with pleasure.
LED strips are cheap chinese ones...nothing special (just RGB)
Diffuser are acrylic strips indeed (milky white), sheet sawed in strips on BIG table saw
Finally a sticker roll with club name (specialized printing store)
 

LotsOfChips

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AFAIK, MDO is another name for what most people think of as built similarly to plywood (but with smooth outer layers). MDF is "pressboard", made from sawdust or fine chips. (edited with thanks to @Colquhoun )

From a quick Internet search:

https://mytoolslab.com/mdo-vs-mdf/

Durability and strength
MDO is stronger and can be used on places that provide support for heavyweights. MDF is not so strong and will collapse under a lot of weight. In terms of weight, MDF is actually quite heavy, but MDF is denser but lighter. (there is obviously a typo here)

Resistance to weather conditions
MDO is more weather resistant than MDF because it has a resin layer which is waterproof. Additionally, it can handle friction better than MDF.
MDF absorbs moisture and swells, making it susceptible to mold, termites and other wood-destroying elements.

Structural support
MDO is made of varying layers of plywood lined perpendicular to each other. This structure gives it more strength compared to MDF which consists of a mixture of wooden fibre, giving it a weak nature.

Cutting aftermath
MDF lets out a lot of dust, and therefore a mode of dust collection should be put in place as well as proper ventilation when cutting and a thorough after-clean.

Safety of cutting
MDF uses materials such as formaldehyde which is considered hazardous, contrary to MDO which uses 100 % waterproof glue.
 
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Colquhoun

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AFAIK, MDO is another name for what most people think of as plywood. MDF is "pressboard", made from sawdust or fine chips.
MDO is more than plywood, it has a layer of heavy kraft paper on either side. This makes it not only smoother, it strengthens it and prevents warping ( in my experience).
Think of it like drywall...the paper on either side gives it strength
 

LotsOfChips

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MDO is more than plywood, it has a layer of heavy kraft paper on either side. This makes it not only smoother, it strengthens it and prevents warping ( in my experience).
Think of it like drywall...the paper on either side gives it strength
Thanks, didn't know that. The quick web search didn't elaborate (hazards of trusting the Internet for accurate info) Edited earlier post accordingly.
 

Colquhoun

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Thanks, didn't know that. The quick web search didn't elaborate (hazards of trusting the Internet for accurate info)
The hardest thing is finding it, especially in thicker sheets. Home Depot and Lowe’s often carry the 1/2”, but if 3/4” is called for...best of luck!
 

monkeydog

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MDO is more than plywood, it has a layer of heavy kraft paper on either side. This makes it not only smoother, it strengthens it and prevents warping ( in my experience).
Think of it like drywall...the paper on either side gives it strength

The paper does not give it strength. The intended purpose of MDO is for signs and exterior painted projects. The reason it lies flatter and stays flatter is due to the core.

Plywood comes in many faces and cores. The key when looking for good plywood is determining what the core is. In most Big Box stores, you'll find that the core is cheap Chinese plywood with a nice face. In building a table that will be covered, the face means nothing. A quick way to see this is the number of plys you can see on the edge - lots of thin little plys generally means low quality plywood. Full of voids and holes - this is what causes the sheet to warp when cut or machined.

If you can find Baltic Birch in 4x8, it will likely be the flattest and most stable plywood at a reasonable cost.

OSB is by FAR more rigid than a comparable thickness of plywood. It will be significantly heavier though. If you want to get the best OSB, try to use an enhanced OSB (Advantech, Point 6, Edgegold, etc.). They will all hold a screw just fine.
 

justsomedude

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If you can find Baltic Birch in 4x8, it will likely be the flattest and most stable plywood at a reasonable cost.

+1

And I'll add my own final note on Baltic Birch... if OP decides to go that route, I'd recommend sourcing it from a legitimate lumber yard and not a box store. The stock at Home Depot (at least in Denver) varies from one day to the next. And the Birch plywood they have one day, won't be the same as the stock on the next day. When I recently purchased ply for my current table build, their pallets of Birch had a weird glossed outer veneer with a heavy sheen that I wanted nothing to do with.

Traditional cabinet-grade birch ply should have consistent layers all the way through, with a sanded outer veneer...

 

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A product I have been using lately for many projects is MDO (medium density overlay) which is plywood with a resin-impregnated thick kraft paper on both sides. It lays incredibly flat and is less prone to warping. Great stuff.
MDO would definitely be better than OSB. Keep in mind that both products are used extensively for exterior (usually sheeting a roof where there are multiple attachment point over the entire area)
 

Colquhoun

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The paper does not give it strength. The intended purpose of MDO is for signs and exterior painted projects. The reason it lies flatter and stays flatter is due to the core.
It gives it tensile strength. When one side wants to warp, the other side does not stretch, and it stays in check better. Being developed for exterior is a good thing, especially considering the final use may be subject to changes in humidity.
I make bases for large architectural models, some 6’x4’ that must remain flat. I’ve tried many types of plywood (OSB is too heavy in this application) and have found MDO to be the best at staying flat and remaining that way over time. I’m always open to alternatives, though...
I will acknowledge that the added cost may or may not be worth it for a poker table build. Just relating my experience with it.
 

jbomb1018

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What part of the rail, specifically, did you mess up?
And will you be using inserts/T-nuts to bolt the rail down to the table?

You may be able to save some loot with a lower grade ply for the rail. Especially if it's going to be upholstered and bolted down.

My first build was made with lower grade "radiata pine" plywood. I think it was about $35 for a 4x8 sheet. The sheets had some visible flex/bowing, but everything flattened out with the bottom/oval support piece attached, and the rail bolted down...

View attachment 494829
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View attachment 494837
I will be using T nuts to bolt the rail down. This is my first build so I'm hoping to not get too expensive, just want to get the hang of it and then make a nicer one later.
 

jbomb1018

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The paper does not give it strength. The intended purpose of MDO is for signs and exterior painted projects. The reason it lies flatter and stays flatter is due to the core.

Plywood comes in many faces and cores. The key when looking for good plywood is determining what the core is. In most Big Box stores, you'll find that the core is cheap Chinese plywood with a nice face. In building a table that will be covered, the face means nothing. A quick way to see this is the number of plys you can see on the edge - lots of thin little plys generally means low quality plywood. Full of voids and holes - this is what causes the sheet to warp when cut or machined.

If you can find Baltic Birch in 4x8, it will likely be the flattest and most stable plywood at a reasonable cost.

OSB is by FAR more rigid than a comparable thickness of plywood. It will be significantly heavier though. If you want to get the best OSB, try to use an enhanced OSB (Advantech, Point 6, Edgegold, etc.). They will all hold a screw just fine.
Have you used OSB in a table before?
 
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