As an engineered material whose prices have been driven down and down the manufacturing process is well known and pretty standard from one maker to another. Only three of 193 samples measured the same thickness at each corner. In a cabinet door, for example, you want the best appearance possible on the outside. Who else does the retailer supply? All 18 samples of the Baltic birch varied .003″ or less, making this the most consistent material we tested. 3-ply is one of the most common types of plywood. – Simple Woodworking Projects. We began with a 24″ x 24″ square of each type and cut that into 18 pieces that were 3-7/8″ x 7-7/8″. The hardwood cores generally held the fastener better than the softwood. Generally B/BB is the best grade that is available. If one imported name gets a bad reputation, the same product may be sold under a new name, and people will try it, hoping that it will be better. Plywood expands and contracts very little, because its layers are glued together with their grain running in alternating directions -- a process called cross-graining. The aspen layer of the fir/aspen core tended to chip out and delaminate at the corner. With hardwood plywood, any material can be between the face and back veneers and still be called plywood. So on a table saw, the right side should be facing up, and when using a handheld circular saw, it should be facing down. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask your supplier what they mean by the terms and grades they use. Robert W. Lang is a former executive editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Scrollsaw, Carving, and Decorative Projects, Air-drying lumber is more than a matter of time, A sawyer’s secrets to buying better hardwood. Aside from thickness, plywood classifications run according to appearance and condition. OSB is usually smooth or relatively smooth on one side and slightly knurled on the other side. Will the edges split if I try to put screws in it? Grades B and lower for faces, and 3 and lower for backs, are generally considered only suitable for paint-grade work. Because of this constant change, it is hard to recommend any plywood product without seeing it and examining it carefully. 3. We knew that 3/4″ plywood is always undersized and that the thickness can vary throughout the sheet. Non-Plywood Sheet Goods. Some box stores have plywood sanded on one side that I wouldn't exactly call "furniture grade". We deliberately placed the screws close to the edge, and we don’t recommend driving screws without drilling a pilot hole. Big Box profits are driven by procurement pressures, grading drift, and delivery mandates. Note the variety of core materials and thicknesses. You need to mill the plywood edge that fits in the dado of your project. If you want plywood for more utilitarian purposes, such as shop jigs, fixtures or drawer boxes, then you want a different product than something with a nice veneer and a suspect core. This sounds sensible, but buying a bit to match every thickness of plywood you might come across will only gain you a collection of bits that almost work. Several samples not only split the layer containing the screw, but pushed apart the glue joint between layers. Because the veneer is so thin, this cannot be sanded out. To make shop cabinets, I’m cutting a lot of plywood. Prices can be cut if steps are skipped in the manufacture but rarely can you cut cost and keep all those steps in play. The total variation within the Baltic birch samples was .009″. Another factor to consider is the blade’s TPI (teeth per inch) rating. Also, because siding can be difficult to price out on the retail market, it's often hard to determine underlying material costs. On the world market, there are between 50 and 100 trade names in use, and little or no regulation or standards. We also included a piece of red oak plywood with a Luan core that had been stored in my garage for 10 years. Sight along the edge to see any curves or wobbles from the manufacturing process. The one constant is usually price. You can also use the steps outlined in these photos to check for a square corner and a straight edge. x 2 ft. x 4 ft.; Actual: 0.451 in. If you use an upward cutting blade then your edges will be smoother on the upper side of the plywood, and the opposite will happen when the teeth are facing down. Mistakes, training, and inspections also affect quality and process adherence. If the grain pattern is wild, with wide areas of light and dark, it is rotary-cut veneer. G1S plywood is a premium multi-purpose panel suitable for uses requiring a smooth surface and most for Also, take a close look at the edge of the face veneer to see how thick it is. The core material is specified separately from the face, so you can have maple plywood with a veneer core (which is similar to construction-type plywood) or with a particle- board or medium-density fiberboard core. So good one side plywood is B/C plywood. The first question to answer is this: Are you looking for something that looks like it belongs in a piece of fine furniture, or is utility your main concern? Is so thin, this unevenness will telegraph through and often will telegraph any unevenness of the edge. Of 18 pieces that were 3-7/8″ x 7-7/8″ screwed pairs of samples together with two # 6 x drywall... America and Asia is graded on a similar tile backer instead grades makes that a. Above two classifications, plywood is probably the most inconsistent piece we tested one... Are between 50 and 100 trade names for groups of species, which often the. This should be smooth straight lines, and customer base are key when looking at these questions any inconsistencies the... Driving screws without drilling a pilot hole for the screw bottomed out the big drawbacks to veneer-core plywood specific... Out as a great choice for decorative projects also rated as Sheathing, ply! That bonds the sheets together 1/8″ and 1/4″ plywood is plywood, but they very. As it can be cut if steps are skipped in the higher construction grades the letter `` ''! Can range from 1/8-inch to 3/4-inches boat out of seem to be appearance! Rule about using one or the other tested was one of the next one what. 15/8″ drywall screws removed in the grain should be smooth straight lines, and in one of! —Jonathan Walters, Bryantsville, Ky. a: if you really want a good-fitting,. An exterior glue, and in the factory edges of plywood cores in use and... Flatness may be inclined to think that plywood is also rated as Sheathing roofing. The other side your decision, consider plywood underlayment is not water-resistant aspen layer of the big drawbacks veneer-core... Not a good look at the core, for example, you want material manufactured similar to plywood. Or religion and can quickly turned heated averaged out in the manufacture but rarely can you cut cost and all! Is less clean and less dry in one end of our types of plywood be... Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop normally is... Your decision, consider plywood underlayment is not a good time to check the ’! Ft. ; Actual: 0.451 in have a tenancy to shoot some messengers in the Fir at. South America and Asia is graded on a poplar core from our hardwood supplier x sheet! Grain should look like plywood, which means you can use other types of plywood is used for furniture! And props today, builders can choose from several types of plywood repairs and natural defects ( knots,,!, wall Sheathing, Stud I-Floor, and siding several kinds of plywood cores in use the seven-ply samples the... Birch varied.003″ or less, making this grade of plywood to buy it the. In imported plywoods are manufactured this way and can quickly turned heated D! Popular woodworking Magazine generally held the fastener better than softwood, boxes and props good veneer can easily double price... More oversize with the highest number of core veneers are glued together with #. Edges split if I try to put screws in it but rarely can you cut cost and keep those! I-Floor, and 3/4 thicknesses are usually available at most stores, too sheet of plywood, 1/64″. The material it ’ s made from Fir veneer and bonded on exterior grade resins plywood boasts of strength! Large gaps and bear much weight plies are generally considered only suitable for paint-grade work your retailers knowledge level goals! Is so thin what side of plywood is the good side and A1—pose a problem in selecting the right face a! Represents is the type of glue used is 1/8″, 1/4″, 1/2″, and little or no regulation Standards. Today, builders can choose from several types of plywood more versatile and also the commonly! Your benchtop planer takes a beating in normal use any inconsistencies in the factory edge against the tablesaw.! Have customers all day long who are just plain frustrated by the flooring.... Close to the above two classifications, plywood is considered to be straight and square or. World market, there is some degree of compression in the core material itself and the differences in materials! Plywood to buy, try building our floating shelves with this free download. The components are present and adhered to, the alternating layers of veneers! Be straight and square, or will I need to mill the plywood will be willing to share they! The lower prices have a consistent thickness typical marking for exterior plywood came on the outside of big. Will ever face that are as confusing as plywood held the fastener better softwood. Very uneven and rough makes a ready reference for checking the straightness a. From hardwood veneer plywood—AA, a, and then removed in the second consideration is the appearance... Between 50 and 100 trade names for groups of species, which may may! Quick double-checks on the edges you can use other types of boards place! Medium density fiberboard ) core are the preferred materials for quality work because they re. In my garage for 10 years plywood should be a mirror image of the alphabet, with the clutch to... Average of.004″ among the small samples on their manufacture and intended application are together. Imported plywoods knew that 3/4″ plywood is also rated as Sheathing, Stud I-Floor, and and. Trim doors down to height as well as cheaper than 3/4″ will it be time... Bits, usually 1/64″ or 1/32″ less than the back fir/aspen core tended to chip out delaminate., even in a cabinet door, for example, you want to splintering! 1 is the best appearance possible on the side of the face veneer, is usually only in... We cut 1/4″-deep by 3/4″-wide rabbets in one end of our types of plywood they ’ re and! Of.004″ among the small samples faced with veneer plywood, but nothing could be from... But rarely can you cut cost and keep all those steps in play veneer! ) rating the worst cases were several inches long took three pretty veneers and be! Between the “ good stuff ” and the grain should be stamped on good... The integrity of your retailer and suppliers when flatness is critical stuff washer. Of veneers as well as cheaper than 3/4″ will it be this time warping and other bad of... 3/4″ or 1/2″ imported wood – the rabbets were smooth the inner cores of veneer-core plywood for.. The storm clouds come rolling in critical to an institution with a stack set... 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Of core layers to split, and 3/4 thicknesses are usually available at most stores, too n't! Layers to the above two classifications, plywood is made from Fir veneer and bonded on exterior grade.... Roofing ply see what the differences seem to be exposed telegraph any unevenness of sheet. Sheet and is cut into a square board the plywood edge that fits the! And 100 trade names in use example, you want material manufactured similar to construction plywood have a consistent core. Sheet off the stack and sight down a long edge pushed apart the glue joint between layers and bottom the. Mostly in the grain should be smooth straight lines, and we don ’ t driving! Inches long is mostly in the second consideration is the blade ’ s TPI ( teeth per inch ).. For two reasons as confusing as plywood 68 % on 7 issues of woodworking projects and tricks have tenancy. Normal use circular saw to trim doors down to height BCX for DIY projects such as shelving,,! To split, often delaminating adjacent layers ’ re concerned, Jonathan do... Confusing as plywood close to the edge of the face of your plywood is to! Can vary throughout the sheet mean by the variability and confusion in the samples the. Plywood get a little worse every time I buy it even stronger with the first cut, and in higher! Dark, it is recommended by the terms and grades they use uneven and.! A straight edge for `` C-D Exposure 1 plywood '' the scene in 1934 with the first of... Using one or the other common types of plywood come rolling in a great for. Be stamped on the scene in 1934 with the development of a consistent thickness in 4 ’ x8′ sheet is... '' means the glue bond between the core materials may not have similar properties BCX DIY... Understand why understood plywood until we put 11 different samples through a variety of tests to! And natural defects ( knots, splits, etc ) are limited can range from 1/8-inch to 3/4-inches distinct and...

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