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What is Plywood? and How to Buy It?

This article we details discuss what is plywood? and how to buy it easily.

Plywood is a manufactured wood material that is suitable for construction projects. Although it is not an attractive piece of wood, it is often used to make cabinet boxes because those parts of the cabinet are often kept out of sight.

When it comes to making woodworking projects, you’re going to need to make sure that you have the right type of wood! Whether you’re working on a project, choosing furniture, or building a shed or home, you need to get the strong and durable material that supports the structure or whatever material you are creating. But the question is: what wood should you invest in?

You may have already heard of plywood before, as it is a common form of wood people use. But is it truly effective? What is it in the first place and how will you know what type of plywood to purchase?

Read on as I show you everything one needs to know about plywood and how to purchase it.

What is Plywood?

What is plywood in the first place and how does it differ from other kinds, such as Parawood?

Plywood isn’t just one type of wood, but some thin sheets of wood that are then glued together. There are many different types of plywood, such as

What is Plywood
  • MDF is a medium-density fiber core hardwood plywood, which is stable and a similar consistency with EVERY type of this plywood. It almost never chips while being cut, as the veneers are bonded tightly.
  • MDO or HDO are known as medium or high-density overlay plywood. It is wrapped with fiber, considered as ordinary veneer ply. BUT, it’s coated with MDF, making it sturdier and more durable.
  • VC is veneer core hardwood plywood. It’s made out of common plywood with a veneer and grainy wood finish. It’s strong and light, making it easy to use.
  • Lumber core is made out of hardwood, which is the most expensive and used for exposed areas.
  • PBC particleboard core plywood consists of coarse dust that is comparable to MDF. It isn’t consistent, but it’s lightweight and smooth.
  • Melamine plywood has a saturated resin finish and is thermally infused. It’s stain-resistant but abrasive, and you can find different types of it according to its texture.

Uses of Plywood

What can you use plywood for, in the first place? Here are some ideas and ways one can utilize this type of wood

  • Plywood is very popular when building a home, as it is strong when using it for roofing underlayment.
  • It can also be used for building cabinets or other types of heavy furniture. They can also be used for general woodworking projects, such as doghouses or skateboard ramps.
  • Plywood is durable enough to use as a base of built to wall cabinets for certain rooms, as you can stain it to have a beautiful finish. BUT, they aren’t best for cabinet doors.
  • Besides building walls, they are effective for home roofing and flooring.

Why Use Plywood?

Out of all the types of wood available, what makes plywood an excellent choice? Here are the advantages it has to offer:

1. Appearance

Since plywood usually has a smooth and solid wood finish, it looks just like the real thing, even better if one uses and purchases plywood with quality veneer.

2. Strength and Durability

Compared to solid wood, plywood has uniform strength along its grains no matter the direction. It’s excellent in resisting sharp blows or abuse, and it won’t split easily when cutting or driving nails and screws through it.

3. Lightweight

Even though it’s solid, you don’t expect it to weigh too much. It’s lighter than solid wood, which is why it’s ideal when making furniture.

4. Comes in Larger Sizes

Standard plywood sheets come in large sizes, which enables you to do a lot with them. And because it comes in larger sizes, it covers bigger areas, and there is no worry about gaps or uneven edges. You won’t be wasting a lot of wood has to cut through to make it fir.

5. Ideal for Curved Surfaces

Compared to using hardwood or solid wood, you won’t be able to create the curved surface you’d like. With plywood, it fits into curved spaces with ease.

6. Eco-Friendly

Plywood is still wood, but it’s manufactured in such a way that it requires lesser wood when creating as compared to other types. It conserves more timber and results in it being a better and more eco-friendly choice.

Precautions of Using Plywood

But remember, there are some disadvantages this type of wood has. Take note of the following disadvantages:

  • It is a bit more expensive than other types of wood.
  • The edges will require to be finished, or it will splinter easily.
  • A bit difficult to cut through.
  • Not as water-resistant as other types of woods. It would most likely damage plywood that is moisture-resistant.
  • Prone to termites and gets damaged if affected
  • There is only a limited selection of plywood and may require a special order.
  • While it comes inconsistent strength, it has an unreliable thickness and can be 1/32 inch from the stated measurement.
  • Veneers are thin-faced.

It’s best to consider these factors when choosing plywood. So if you don’t have the time to waterproof or add more finishing to the wood, then you may want to consider something else. But other than that, it’s still a purchase that’s worth it.

​As long as you are using the proper equipment while handling plywood, such as the best wood cutting board or wood chipper, then you won’t have to worry about damage or injury when handling plywood.

How to Choose Quality Plywood

Now that you’re familiar with what you need to know about plywood, how do you know what to choose when purchasing quality ones? Here are some factors to consider:

  • Make sure that there is a mark that shows the genuinely of the plywood sheets. There is an IS: 303 marks for MR grade sheets, an IS: 710 mark for Marine-grade plywood sheets, and a 100% hardwood plywood mark.
  • The face veneer should be exposed, and the grains should appear like several pieces of solid wood which is up to eight inches wide. Every piece you have should look like the next or previous one.
  • The sheet should be flat, or with only minimal bows. It should not have a warped or twisted appearance.
  • Examine the edges. It should have more plies and smooth, straight lines. The grains should be even and close to each other. See how thick the veneer’s thickness is as well.

In Conclusion

When it comes to creating projects, you should have the strongest wood in the world to prevent it from damaging very easily. Not only that, but it will assure an attractive result that will impress anyone. Plywood is one of the best choices to make when looking for quality wood to use. Just remember to handle the wood and your projects with care!

​I hope that this article on plywood and how to purchase the best one helped you become more knowledgeable on what to buy for your future furniture or projects. So don’t wait any longer and utilize this information to get the best plywood and create new projects like a firewood rack today!

If you have any questions or would like to share your tips and experiences when using plywood, then comment down below. I would love to hear what you have to think.​

Charles Larson

Hi, I’m Charles Larson. We do everything we can to support our readers with hundreds of hours of research and comparison testing to ensure you find the perfect tool for your workshop.

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