Baltic Birch

Baltic Birch is not a specific species of birch, but is a general designation of plywood from Russia, Finland, and nearby Baltic states. As with any natural wood product, quality can be variable. However, Baltic Birch plywood is generally regarded as being of higher quality than standard birch plywood.

In a nutshell, Baltic Birch plywood is made entirely from birch plies, with no softwood or filler plies in the center. Furthermore, the plies themselves tend to be much thinner, allowing for more plies for a given thickness, and greater stiffness and stability.

Baltic Birch (plywood)
Baltic Birch (plywood)

Baltic Birch (plug)
Baltic Birch (plug)

Baltic Birch grades

The grading for Baltic Birch is established by the Russian intergovernmental standard GOST 3916.1-96.

Grading is given as the two outer faces of the plywood, in the format of front/back. For instance, baltic birch with a “B/BB” grade would have a B grade front ply, and a BB grade back ply.

A: Nearly perfect and flawless face veneer ply. This grade is no longer available commercially. (Also designated grade “E” according to GOST 3916.1-96.)

B: Generally uniform light color, with no plugs, or open cracks/splits. A limited amount of pin knots, and minor color inconsistencies are allowed. (Also designated grade “I” according to GOST 3916.1-96.)

BB: Generally uniform color, though color variations/stains are allowed. Limited amount of plugs, cracks/splits, and unlimited amount of pin knots allowed. (Also designated grade “II” according to GOST 3916.1-96.)

CP: Generally less consistent color, more prevalent defects (knots, staining, etc.), and an unlimited amount of plugs. (Also designated grade “III” according to GOST 3916.1-96.)

C: Utility grade; inconsistent color with mineral staining, cracks/splits, larger knots, etc. (Also designated grade “IV” according to GOST 3916.1-96.)

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How can we tell if the product is from Finland or Russia? I wouldn’t buy if it is Russian.


Why punish the Russian people? A couple years ago I bought 4-5×7 sheets for queen bed platforms and it’s perfect. 60 inches wide, same as a queen frame.


The Russian people are the victims of their own government. Our refusing to send money to that country is simple self-defense. The idea that we are to be considered morally responsible for the victims of an evil government is a disastrous a-causal moral inversion.

Tom Sullivan

How does the outer layer hardness of Baltic Birch plywood compare with Rock Maple?

Tim Harrison

Rock maple is harder, but it’s also a lot heavier. So its a hardness vs weight trade-off. The outer layer of baltic birch ply is not as hard as rock maple or maple ply but it’s not weak either. When it’s about maintaining a balance between durability and weight it’s a far better choice. However, if heavy weight of rock maple, and maple ply ain’t a big problem for you then go for them instead, they are harder than baltic birch ply.