Forums: Whisstock Designs: Metric Timber in the USA New Topic Post Reply
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Posted: Dec 22nd, 2008 at 14:40   |   Subject: Metric Timber in the USA
I often get asked where you can buy metric sizes of timber in the USA. And the basic answer is that you mostly can't. And converting everything to inch measurements, results in pretty unworkable dimensions.

For everything but the very smallest projects the best answer is to purchase a thicknesser - a standard 10" or 12" bench-top thicknesser will do the job fine. They are often available new and used on Ebay for around $150. That together with a standard 10" table saw, and preferably a router, will allow builders to produce pretty much any of the timber they will need at the correct sizes.

Buying timber "as sawn" rather than "planed all round" is very much cheaper and more economical of timber usage. You can then saw and machine your timber to the sizes called for in the plans. Usually, in say a design like No. 119, the saving in timber cost will pay for the saw and thicknesser - and even the cheaper models will probably outlast building one boat.

Also, remember that inch veneer sizes are a good enough match for metric:

3/32" matches 2mm or 2.5mm
1/8" matches 3mm
3/16" matches 5mm
1/4" matches 6mm

When using these veneer sizes, you may have to add or subtract an odd veneer but you can pretty much make up the same final laminate thickness.

Plywood thicknesses are also a reasonable match:

1/4" for 6mm
3/8" for 9mm
1/2" for 12mm
5/8" for 15mm
3/4" for 18mm

For most everything else it is usually better and cheaper and easier to machine your own timber, regardless of whether the stock timber is metric or inch.