Plywood is an engineered wood made from gluing together alternating layers of plies of wood veneer. This particular type of wood working has gained its recognition from the fact that its structure remains the same even after use. This means that plywood unlike other woodworking materials does not undergo expansion or shrinkage making it very ideal for certain construction works. The wood is typically strong and very easy to manipulate into desired shapes.
How plywood is made.
When making plywood, a method called cross-graining is used. This is where individual strips of wood are placed in alternate positions then glued together, this process ends up making the center ply. Equal number of ply’s are then sandwiched on both side of the center ply to come up with the plywood. Note that the resultant plywood will end up with odd number of layers. This process is carefully done so as to make sure that the plywood meets the required specifications.
Reasons why plywood is made using the cross-graining method.
So as to reduce expansion and shrinkage of the wood which is a very common phenomenon among similar sized board cut from a single tree. This method provides improved dimensional stability of the board. Cross graining makes the strength of the board consistent across all dimensions.
These are the reasons why plywood is widely used and most preferred compared to any other woodworking material.
The plywood structure
In most construction works, one phase of the plywood is usually made invisible or rather placed in a way that it doesn’t have to be necessarily appealing, this side is known as the back of the plywood. Then there is the side that is always very pleasing and placed in such away that it’s completely visible and can work as a display, this side is known as the face of the plywood. There is also a type of plywood that doesn’t have the back but instead has two faces. This board is usually used on those construction works that will require both sides to be visible.
Types of plywood
There are various types of plywood that are made for various purposes. Some of the commonly known types are :
Likes its name suggests, soft plywood is made from softwood veneer. This type of plywood is usually used as in building trades for walls, subfloors and roof sheath. Some people use it to make crates and boxes used for storage.
It is made in a similar way as the softwood plywood however, the face and the back are made using hardwood. They are often used for making cabinets and furniture while the smooth attractive face is used for fine finishes.
This is a very special type of plywood that is treated to make sure that it can withstand high moisture environment. Marine plywood is usually used for making boats and the factory makes sure that it has no core gap caused by cracks so as to prevent water from being trapped within the crevices.
Medium density fiber boards (MOF)
This is the most popular plywood that is taking over the furniture market by storm. It is made from individual wood fibers yet very flat than the other plywood. It also has every smooth face that can allow painting or coating by vinyl veneer MOF boards also have the greatest weight compared to all the other plywood.
Oriented standard board
The oriented standard board is usually considered the most inferior plywood but then in the construction industry it does the same work as the softwood plywood. This plywood is made from individual wood chips and strands and can spread up to 24 feet long.
Plywood is becoming a household name and soon it will replace the other boards made from single tree. They exist in several types and have so many uses making them very ideal among carpenters as well as construction workers. Plywood has also shown its capability to be easily manipulated so as to suit any particular function. Its uses range from boat making, sub-flooring, making of cabinet as well as shelves. They are also easily available thus preferred. The medium density fiber boards also have some of the best smooth faces that can be used as displays and paint can added to make them even more attractive.