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Discussion Starter #1
I know nothing about wood and I'd like to get some of your opinions.

I am currently building out the walls of my van and after reading through a lot of threads and build blogs it seems most people who use plywood for their walls, use either Luan or Baltic Birch. I went to my local wood dealer and checked out 1/4" luan and BB and the luan was very unfinished (would take a while to get it to a point where i could paint it) and the BB was so rigid I would worry about it being unable to make the curves of the van. There was another wood called Agathis there, its a soft wood and its very bendable and it looks beautiful. I picked up a sheet and I'm wondering if there are any properties to the wood that I should be concious of when choosing one over the other. Is it a problem using this untested Agathis wood? Is it too soft? I plan on painting it on all sides so I dont see moisture absorption being a problem.

What should I be looking for when selecting wood for the walls?
 

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I think 2 different at least of coverings....or at least colors.....or just paint the walls.....mual.....abstract....decals.....just an opinion....u got to be comfortable with it

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I used Luan for ceiling and walls, all painted with high quality paint, then top coated with water-based poly mainly because I like the look. I have had no problems, but I was fortunate to have access to high quality Luan at the time I was building.

You are correct that Baltic Birch is not going to conform easily to van contours. However, if you have access to decent quality BB (it is not all created equal), I highly recommend you prefer It over other plywoods where appropriate, particularly if you plan to paint..

i had to look up Agathis. I see that it is also known as kauri and is in the arauco family. I assume this is a plywood? I used to get an arauco ply that I absolutely loved, perhaps even better than BB, and kauri can be so pretty it’s a shame to paint it.

So I’d say use your instinct. If it looks good, acts right, go for it, and be thankful you found something decent. I have ended up with no source for decent ply anywhere near. As I speak, I’m trying to coax the warp out of the last piece of BB I bought.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I used Luan for ceiling and walls, all painted with high quality paint, then top coated with water-based poly mainly because I like the look. I have had no problems, but I was fortunate to have access to high quality Luan at the time I was building.

You are correct that Baltic Birch is not going to conform easily to van contours. However, if you have access to decent quality BB (it is not all created equal), I highly recommend you prefer It over other plywoods where appropriate, particularly if you plan to paint..

i had to look up Agathis. I see that it is also known as kauri and is in the arauco family. I assume this is a plywood? I used to get an arauco ply that I absolutely loved, perhaps even better than BB, and kauri can be so pretty it’s a shame to paint it.

So I’d say use your instinct. If it looks good, acts right, go for it, and be thankful you found something decent. I have ended up with no source for decent ply anywhere near. As I speak, I’m trying to coax the warp out of the last piece of BB I bought.
Yes it's plywood and it is beautiful. It's only 17$ a sheet too. I've been to the 6 shops in town that provide plywood and I'm just very unhappy with the selection and quality. This place like all the others has a pretty poor selection but the quality is at least decent. I'm going to try to paint and bolt one on to see how it goes.

It seems to be about as soft and flexible as luan, and if luan works, this should too.
 

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I'm struggling with the logic here.
Why would you pay double for a nice plywood that has a beautiful grain,......and then paint it???
Why does it matter if it looks nicer than the luan, of you're going to paint it?
 

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Just getting rid of all that extra money.
 

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I guess you're right.
It was the first thing I read before I had coffee and I started having an episode and short circuiting.
Everything is ok now. I had coffee and meds and my social skills are coming back.
 

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Although, I didn't really appreciate switching the avatar to a square. I'm still a little bothered.
I don't have meds for that one.
I guess you guys think this stuff is funny.
 

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Chemicals! Enjoy the day!
My avatar benefited from the square.
There are several reasons for spending more than the basic necessary amount. Esthetics, Functionality, Jealousy, Elitism, Paranoia, Ignorance, and the list goes downhill.........
 

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if it's arauco ply, it's nice. I used to buy 3/4" arauco plywood at Home Depot - they sold it as "cabinet grade", and it really was nice stuff with a sanded surface that was fantastic to stain, poly or whatever.

Then they stopped selling it.

I read that the factory where they make it (in Brazil) burned down so there was a shortage for a while... now it's back but not at HD.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm struggling with the logic here.
Why would you pay double for a nice plywood that has a beautiful grain,......and then paint it???
Why does it matter if it looks nicer than the luan, of you're going to paint it?
Huh? It's the same price as the Luan except the luan is unfinished and rough and I'd have to sand it to all **** to get it to paint nicely. MsNomer was just saying that the grain is nice and I was agreeing, but the look of the grain doesn't affect me, I just want something semi-finished/flexible/ and won't deteriorate in a short amount of time.
 

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Sounds good.
I recently saw cheap 5mm underlayment at a box store that had a very even grain and nice finish. It wouldn't require sanding. Just a sealer and coat of paint.
That's what I had in my head when reading. But if you found something nicer for cheap, more power to ya.
(y)
 

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The tempered hardboard I used was cheaper at $9 per 4'x8' sheet but I wouldn't do it again. It's heavy for being so thin and very floppy, which makes it difficult to work with. If/when I get around to adding more insulation I'll use the HB for templates and swap it out with some type of thin plywood like most seem to use - which will be a joy to work with by comparison.
 
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