Plywood is an extremely popular choice for certain wood applications. There are a number of different varieties of plywood on the market, so choosing the right one for your next project may seem a bit overwhelming. The most important differences between the types of plywood will center on core construction and composition. Once you’ve determined these differences and what they will mean for the performance of your plywood sheets, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about the plywood product that’s ideal for your project. In this series of articles, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the most common types of plywood. We’ll seek to compare and contrast the way their cores are designed and what materials they contain.
Why Consider Plywood?
One of the main advantages which quality plywood has to offer is its stability. With traditional timber, each board is typically taken from a single tree. That means when you use timber most of the grains are relatively far apart from one another and will tend to mostly go in the same direction. These organic wood grain features can make traditional timbers less stable than plywood. In addition to these problems, solid timber will most likely have a variety of different knots and other natural defects. Plywood, on the other hand, is manufactured by gluing numerous layers of veneer together in different directions. This technique lends plywood extra strength and stability when compared to traditional solid lumber. Because the grains are all going in opposite directions, flaws and instabilities in the layers of the plywood tend to cancel one another out.
Plywood is also normally less prone to shrinkage and checking, more flexible, and harder to break for certain projects than solid timber, provided that you’re comparing boards of equal width. In order to get this type of impressive results, however, it’s imperative to choose only quality plywood. So, the question naturally arises, how do you figure out what type of plywood is of premium quality?
Stability is the Key for Choosing Quality Plywood
If you accidentally select low quality plywood for your project, it can end up being a real disaster. Cheap, poorly designed plywood tends to cup and warp at least as badly as poor quality timbers. This instability completely defeats the entire purpose of going with plywood in the first place. If you want to avoid this type of nightmare scenario, learn to distinguish the types of plywood based on the composition of their inner core. The makeup and construction of this inner core are what will make or break your plywood’s long term performance. Modern plywood tends to have extremely thin face veneers. This means that the veneers don’t lend as much support to the overall structure of the plywood, making the inner core’s composition all the more important.
In the rest of this series of articles, we’ll consider some of the different types of plywood that are available for you to choose from and the differences between their core construction. We’ll consider the pros and cons of each type. This discussion should give you some of the information about plywood cores that you’ll want to keep in mind when selecting materials for your upcoming project.
Continue reading with Part 2.