COMPLETE GUIDE TO PLAYWOOD – Plywood is a useful building material that has been used in construction for many years. Indeed, the ancient Egyptians are believed to have been the first to use plywood as far back as 3500 BC. Through the gluing of thin layers of high quality wood onto lower quality wood they achieved a superior finish. Modern plywood was actually designed with performance in mind, when Immanuel Nobel realised that several layers of thin wood that were glued together are stronger than a single piece of thicker wood. There are now several plywood variations that are suited for different situations. Here we take a look at the main types.
Made from pine, spruce, cedar or Douglas fir, hardwood plywood is most commonly used for building or in an industrial setting. The required number of plies depends on the purpose for which the plywood is intended, but will always have a minimum of three. The overall thickness of the sheet will usually be 15mm when used for roofing. Plywood used for flooring needs to be at least 18mm and can be more depending on the distance between joists. In order to prevent the board from moving when laid, most plywood intended for flooring is fitted using the tongue and groove method.
Most commonly made from birch, hardwood plywood is a high-end product designed for demanding applications. It will bear more weight, is better placed to deal with impacts and is also more resistant to wear.
As you would expect from the name, this type of plywood is extremely flexible. It is intended for use in the production of curved parts and can be adapted to all manner of use. Of course, it delivers little in the way of strength and is usually used for decorative pieces.
This is product is usually manufactured from standard softwood plywood, that is then finished off with a decorative hardwood veneer. The list of hardwoods most frequently used include birch, ash, oak, maple, ash, mahogany and teak
This is particularly high-strength plywood made from mahogany or birch, which is glued together using adhesives that are designed to withstand high levels of humidity and temperatures. This plywood is not typical used in construction for either practical or decorative use.
Designed to be used in wet and humid conditions, marine plywood is manufactured from especially durable core and face veneers. These will be made from tropical hardwoods, which reduce the opportunity for water to become trapped. Water and boil proof glue is also used. Obviously marine plywood is designed with outdoor application in mind and is especially common in the construction of boats and docks.