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Thread: Marine Plywood Prices

  1. #1
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    Default Marine Plywood Prices

    Can anyone read the tea leaves about where marine plywood prices are headed?

    In May of 2018 I bought some 1/4" Okouome for $65 a sheet, today it's $98. I'm considering a new build in the next year or so and was wondering if perhaps I should buy the material now. I'm looking at approximately $1,900 in Merranti at today's prices.
    Last edited by The Jeff; 11-08-2022 at 04:53 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    From my own observations, quality marine plywood has only ever gone up in cost. Maybe Meranti isn't the only choice? Are you painting versus finishing bright? Might offer some flexibility in material choice and cost.

    I always tend to buy from Crosscut Hardwoods, which is in Portland and Seattle. They might be more expensive. I'm really not sure. I buy there regardless of cost because during a project I can always go down and get one more sheet of the same material. I'd hate to be mid-project and have to change up my material. I'm just not emotionally flexible enough for that sort of thing.

    BTW, what are you building?
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    I'm really interested in Welsford's Long Steps. My First Mate is a great boat, but it's not quite suited for some of the trips I have in mind. And I'd like to give a mizzen a try after reading about how easy they make life.

    Price wise that's about what I figured. I'm not set on any particular material, but I can see the boat living at my dock for extended periods so I do want quality. I'm definitely going with paint, I'd rather be sailing than building.

    I ordered the Okoume from Boulter Plywood last time and Merranti is the least expensive marine plywood they have on their website. I haven't really explored other options just yet, but from what I remember last time their prices were about as cheap as I could find even including shipping.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    Just to make you feel better, the price for 1/4” Occume on the west coast of Canada is $155 CDN. Even with your exchange rate, your price is better. Last year, around this time the price was $135 CDN. About the same as you are being quoted now, with exchange rate factored in.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    I bought 1/4" meranti in April of this year for $60. From the same source, it's now $82+. When I bought it, I thought the price was very reasonable, considering crap OSB got up over $50 during the plague. It almost seems like the marine plywood was behind the curve in the run-up in building material costs. Since all of these plywoods use tropical hardwoods use tropical hardwoods, it's hard to tell if the price increases reflect production costs, or simply the cost of shipping. Domestic building materials have come back down a lot, although not quite back down to pre-covid prices. In other words- Who knows?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    you know that meranti is far more durable than occoume right?
    and easer to spell
    unless you are building a kayak or speedboat or weight critical boat, the cheaper ply is far better
    and by meranti, i mean hydrotek
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 11-09-2022 at 12:37 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    The 'wholesale price of lumbar' as a stock price is now actually back to normal (5 year average). Click on 5yr for the graph scale:

    https://tradingeconomics.com/commodity/lumber

    And with the impending worldwide recession, demand from house builders is going to fall so that's good for us. Also container shipping transport costs are currently half the peak...but still alot more what they were.



    With the impending recession and drop in demand that should further normalise. Thanks to the Saudi's fuel prices aren't going to drop for transport. Factory production costs are still higher but might drop as gas prices (which dictate electric prices in some places) are falling from their peak and are now only double what they usually are. These are a processed product and take energy to make.

    So the price of plywood will fall from it's peak in Covid, but it likely won't drop back to where it was before. Covid zero in China might make 'cheap plywood' more expensive if that policy continues to limit ouput, but we don't use that. Most USA Occume is French Joubert I think, and that's made in France from shipped (shady) African logs.

    Retailers can't cut the price until they've sold what they bought at the inflated price 1 yr - 6 months ago, to those who have no choice like house builders. Only when they restock at the cheaper prices will there be seen to be a drop - my guess is into middle of next year. So if you want to buy a fair bit of plywood, I think I'd be thinking next year. You're still saving on a commerically built boat, and with sails and trailer etc, its an increase but still a fraction of total costs, looking at the wider picture.

    Building in 'real wood' probably is even more cost effective now - the materials cost will be lower even after thicknessing waste etc and in many cases the boat worth more. Its half the price in materials and a nice job is worth double (if you build it traditional clinker/ lapstrake). It needs a bandsaw and thicknesser, in reality rather than just a jigsaw and an attitude of exactness. Epoxy or copper fastenings cost I figure is a wash when I did some sums.

    It's hard to argue against glued construction with a trailer boat. I think probably strip plank, using a local softwood to you is proabably about the most cost/ time effective way at present for a glued boat. Its also greener to use local softwood rather than an African deforestation product. Plus less transport co2. Cold molding would be an alternative but you'd need a good n proper 'big' bandsaw thats stiff enough and has the throat height for the veneers and planking it three times, I'm not sure how the labour would work out v strip and glass. I think the strip and glass would be messier but likely quicker.
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 11-09-2022 at 07:26 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    I don't expect inflation to slow down any time soon.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    Jeff, you might check with Harbor Sales on the MD eastern shore. Other forumites have had good luck with them. https://harborsales.net/Home.aspx

    When I bought occume plywood from them 3 years ago, they did not have meranti but did carry sapele ($$). I don't know what they have now.

    They said they would deliver to me for free, way out here in the boondocks, even for only one sheet.
    "George Washington as a boy
    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

    -- Mark Twain

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    I have a stack of original receipts from the Bartender 19 that I'm finishing. The original builder purchased hull materials in 2003 and 2004.

    I have a "June 1, 2004" receipt here on my desk from Boulter Plywood Corp:


    • 4x8x3/4" ribbon grain Honduran Mahogany plywood, 2 sheets ($120 apiece = $240 subtotal)
    • Delivered from Somerville, MA to Temecula, CA (shipping and handling, $200)
    • Total cost $440.


    I till have one of those full sheets. It's in my garage. You can't get Hondo Mahogany anymore. Good stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13
    you know that meranti is far more durable than occoume right?
    and easer to spell
    unless you are building a kayak or speedboat or weight critical boat, the cheaper ply is far better
    That's why I was thinking Meranti since I can see the boat spending half the year outside. As for spelling, I've been copying what was on Boulter Plywood's website but it looks like they've spelled it wrong everywhere!

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Pearson
    Retailers can't cut the price until they've sold what they bought at the inflated price 1 yr - 6 months ago, to those who have no choice like house builders. Only when they restock at the cheaper prices will there be seen to be a drop - my guess is into middle of next year. So if you want to buy a fair bit of plywood, I think I'd be thinking next year. You're still saving on a commerically built boat, and with sails and trailer etc, its an increase but still a fraction of total costs, looking at the wider picture.
    Yeah I realize in the grand scheme of things saving a couple hundred dollars isn't all that significant... but since I don't need the plywood right now I might as well try to wait for a drop if that can happen. I managed to avoid my wife's ire after promising a long list of house improvements, so realistically it could take a year or more before I'm ready to build.

    UCanoe_2, it looks like they only have Okoume and Sapele on their website. Boulter has a 1/4" sheet of Sapele at double a sheet of Merranti, so I'm quite sure I won't be using that!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    6 mm standard sheet of Okumé costs €108,- at this moment

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Marine Plywood Prices

    I wonder what the 15 sheets of 9mm ribbon stripe Sapele plywood in my garage would go for these days. It was going to be an Eun Mara but then we bought Talisman instead. It’ll be some sort of retirement project.

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