Plywood is durable. On the inside, you still want it to look good, but small areas of burl, mineral streaks or sap wood won’t be the distractions they would be on a surface that is always exposed. There are few things a woodworker will ever face that are as confusing as plywood. We went shopping for plywood in our area, and picked 10 samples from three sources – Lowe’s, Home Depot and our local hardwood supplier, Paxton Lumber. Plywood is the most us e d wood for home interior, ... MDF is a good choice of wood to make shelving and storage cabinets. Exactly how do you get a nice-fitting dado joint in an inconsistent, undersized panel? Cut your project pieces to 1⁄8 These should be smooth straight lines, and the grain should be even and close. Give it routine maintenance like the tip below... read more. Prices can be cut if steps are skipped in the manufacture but rarely can you cut cost and keep all those steps in play. Why? It also works out as a great choice for decorative projects. In addition to being a lower grade, the face veneer on inexpensive types of plywood can be as thin as 1/100″ compared to about 1/40″ on better material. Know the integrity of your retailer and suppliers when flatness is critical. Is it safe to consider the factory edges of plywood to be straight and square, or will I need to true them up? There isn't a set rule about using one or the other. Plywood is probably the most popular and versatile man-made woodworking material available in home centers today. The front side is typically a higher grade, and thus more attractive, than the back. For more related content, subscribe to our newsletter! Plywood Alternatives You can use other types of boards in place of true plywood. 3. The grade should be stamped on the side of the sheet but it is often missing in imported plywoods. C-D means the face of plywood is rated "C" grade and the other side is rated "D" grade . Baltic, Russian and other European birch plywood faces are graded by the letters B (best), BB, CP and C (worst) for both the face and the back. Robert W. Lang is a former executive editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine. This free download is exclusive for our e-mail newsletter subscribers. 2. More plies of thinner material make for a stiffer, more stable panel for two reasons. Will the edges split if I try to put screws in it? Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. The total variation within the Baltic birch samples was .009″. Plywood is generally available in 4’x8′ sheet and is cut into a square board. We thought we understood plywood until we put 11 different samples through a variety of tests. Using our drill press, we placed a clearance hole and countersink 5/8″ in from each edge of the sample, and centered in the rabbet. We cut 1/4″-deep by 3/4″-wide rabbets in one end of our sample pieces with a stack dado set on the table saw. Knots typically aren't a problem because plywood face veneers (on at least one side of the panel) don't have any. MDF and particleboard cores, in spite of being weaker structurally, are flatter and more consistent. If the sheet is badly warped or twisted, there is likely a problem in the core layers and conditions won’t improve as the sheet is cut up. Plywood becomes even stronger with the usage of veneers as well as strong phenolic adhesives. x 47.75 in.) Also note that a circular saw cuts on the upstroke, which often splinters the top edge (veneer) slightly. 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? It is lighter as well as cheaper than 3/4″ plywood. The samples with the highest number of core layers were most resistant to splitting. The joints were then knocked apart to see if the nails pulled away with the face pieces, or remained in the end of the core being nailed. What core? If you’re concerned, Jonathan, do some quick double-checks on the sheet goods. 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. Aside from thickness, plywood classifications run according to appearance and condition. The side with three panels is the show side. More plies are generally better, and hardwood cores are better than softwood. Is it safe to consider the factory edges of plywood to be straight and square, or will I need to true them up? Good one side is a recognized grade for Canadian made Fir plywood. Will the veneer be so thin that I sand through it with the first pass of the sander? To do so, place the best side (meaning the side of the door that will be most visible once it's hung) face down. Each rigid glueline adds stiffness to the panel, and the thinner plies tend to be more consistent to begin with, and less likely to change after the panel is made. CDX stands for "C-D Exposure 1 plywood" . When considering CDX plywood thicknesses, remember that these are nominal sizes, and you should account for a deduction of about 1/32 inches after sanding, which most projects will require. Often, though, the "two-faced" nature of premium grades makes that choice a difficult one. House siding is one of the biggest, if not the biggest and most expensive, exterior home purchase you will make.Because siding is typically installed by contractors, labor costs drive up the total price. Every other piece should be a mirror image of the next one. The bottom edge usually remains splinter-free. Good veneer can easily double the price of a sheet of plywood. Where do I buy it? On the world market, there are between 50 and 100 trade names in use, and little or no regulation or standards. In the seven-ply samples, the splits were much longer, and in the worst cases were several inches long. AC plywood that you could make a boat out of. In addition, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, and 3/4 thicknesses are usually available at most stores, too. Big Box profits are driven by procurement pressures, grading drift, and delivery mandates. There is a different standard for backs: 1 is the best and 4 is the worst. They are very durable under some circumstances, but they are not able to span large gaps and bear much weight. With softwood, plywood is plywood and particleboard is particleboard. Pull a sheet off the stack and sight down a long edge. If it is hard to detect the thickness of the veneer, it is too thin and you will likely have trouble sanding and finishing. When plywood is made, the alternating layers of core veneers are glued together with heat and pressure. The most inconsistent piece we tested was one of the most expensive – plain-sliced maple veneer on a poplar core from our hardwood supplier. This kind has three layers of veneer and is layered enough to be strong and durable but can look more decorative than plywood with more plies, making it a good choice for indoor use. Because of this construction method, plywood is less susceptible to expansion and shrinkage. So good one side plywood is B/C plywood. The third thing to examine is the edge. Depending on the quality consciousness of the manufacturer, these cores can vary tremendously. " or more oversize with the factory edge against the tablesaw fence. The biggest problem is variation in thickness, but uneven or incorrect moisture content can also cause sheets that are warped, bowed or twisted. The most typical marking for exterior plywood is "CDX." Twenty-five years ago, if you bought a piece of birch plywood, or any other hardwood plywood for that matter, the core would be birch. Many woodworkers object on principle to using anything but veneer-core plywood. In the fir core samples, many were very uneven and rough. “Shop Grade,” “Cabinet Grade,” “Stain Grade,” and “Utility Grade” are commonly used terms that aren’t defined by any industry-wide standards. Particleboard core or MDF (medium density fiberboard) core are the other common types of plywood cores in use. How to install metal slides on wood cabinets. From Luan to Chen-Chen, the names given are trade names for groups of species, which may or may not have similar properties. All Rights Reserved. Imported plywoods also have different grading rules. Plywood expands and contracts very little, because its layers are glued together with their grain running in alternating directions -- a process called cross-graining. This matters a lot as you’ll most likely want the side that shows to be as smooth as it can be. Can I remember the name of the imported stuff that I bought last time? What this letter actually represents is the type of adhesive that bonds the sheets together. But when I go to buy it, the storm clouds come rolling in. The easiest way to do this is to cut the groove to a smaller dimension and then mill a shallow rabbet on the board’s mate to match the width of the groove. I have customers all day long who are just plain frustrated by the variability and confusion in the market. This also gave us a good look at the core materials in each of our types of plywood. The first of these is the face veneer, if it is to be exposed. The difference in price is mostly in the difference in the veneer. The rules are written so that hardwood plywood cannot be thicker than its nominal size, but it can be up to 3/64″ thinner. If the veneer is thin, and the core uneven, this unevenness will telegraph through and appear in the face veneer. The inner cores of veneer-core plywood are much thicker than true veneer. To make shop cabinets, I’m cutting a lot of plywood. 3. —Jonathan Walters, Bryantsville, Ky. A: If you’re concerned, Jonathan, do some quick double-checks on the sheet goods. Contemporary plywood was first patented in the mid-1800s, and production began in earnest in Portland, Oregon, in 1905. So always cut plywood with the good side down. During this process, there is some degree of compression in the core layers. Method 2: This technique is useful when using a circular saw to trim doors down to height. 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″. Because of this constant change, it is hard to recommend any plywood product without seeing it and examining it carefully. The grade should be stamped on the side of the sheet but it is often missing in imported plywoods. Many imported plywoods are manufactured this way and can be a good value. The reasoning is that an undersized thinner panel will still fit in a groove cut at the nominal size, but an oversized panel would not. That said use which ever side you like best. It's used in everything from furniture to house construction. Only six of 18 pieces showed .003″ or less variation within the samples. Different rules and grades are used for different types of plywood. Wherever plywood is made, the trees used for core material are fast-growing and have little or no value as solid wood or as face veneer. 1. Because the veneer is so thin, this cannot be sanded out. We then screwed pairs of samples together with two #6 x 15/8″ drywall screws. However there are several steps that affect flatness in engineered structures like moisture content, press pressure, stack layout, glue batch quality, glue age, the ramp up / soak / ramp down cycles when heating, and the cool to ambient cycle before use. So good one side plywood is B/C plywood. First we checked the thickness. We made tests on our samples to see what the differences were between the “good stuff” and the “cheap stuff.”. All 18 samples of the Baltic birch varied .003″ or less, making this the most consistent material we tested. Marine plywood is usually only available in A-A grade, which means you can use either side to show on the surface. Several samples not only split the layer containing the screw, but pushed apart the glue joint between layers. Non-Plywood Sheet Goods. Expect to pay $75 or more for a 4′ x 8′ sheet of A2 plywood with plain-sliced veneer. There are several kinds of plywood which have different properties based on their manufacture and intended application. The results indicate the quality of the core material itself and the quality of the glue bond between the core layers. With hardwood plywood, any material can be between the face and back veneers and still be called plywood. Then cut them to final size with the newly ripped edge against the fence. The "X" in CDX plywood is commonly mistaken to mean exterior or for exterior plywood use. 3-ply is one of the most common types of plywood. Look at the joints between the layers. It's also a good time to check the blade for chipped or missing teeth. Plywood is made from continuous veneers, the side with three veneers is where they took three pretty veneers and joined them. The one constant is usually price. A blade with bad teeth or wood pitch buildup won't cut cleanly. Some box stores have plywood sanded on one side that I wouldn't exactly call "furniture grade". The letter "X" means the glue of the plywood is exterior glue . Naturally, you want the best face to show when building furniture and cabinetry from hardwood veneer plywood. However, they are not nearly as strong as plywood. The practical impact of this comes when you make joints. How much thinner than 3/4″ will it be this time? This will also reveal dinged edges or delaminating areas that might not be visible straight-on. Should I try the imported stuff? Plywood production requires a good log, called a peeler, which is generally straighter and larger in diameter than one required for processing into dimensioned lumber by a sawmill.The log is laid horizontally and rotated about its long axis while a long blade is pressed into it, causing a thin layer of wood to peel off (much as a continuous sheet of paper from a roll). Exterior plywood came on the scene in 1934 with the development of a waterproof adhesive. We found some surprising facts about quality and materials. The other screw was driven without pre-drilling. 1/2″ plywood is used for building furniture parts, boxes and props. Save up to 68% on 7 issues of woodworking projects and tricks. The most common thickness of plywood is 1/2-inch, but plywood thickness can range from 1/8-inch to 3/4-inches. Note the variety of core materials and thicknesses. We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. Today, builders can choose from several types of exterior plywood. Before you go, pick up a FREE copy of our handy guide to wood types. Then, add a strip of masking tape to both the top and bottom of the sheet, directly over the cut line. Two were from the piece of Baltic birch plywood. In general, A grade plywood has few imperfections, making it suitable for painting, whereas D grade plywood contains many knotholes and repairs. Our samples of red oak from Lowe’s were nearly as consistent in thickness, with an average variation of .003″ in each small sample and a variation of .008″ within the sample group. For floor tile in any room, use cementboard or a similar tile backer instead. If you are presented with a deal then probably it is a different product. Scrollsaw, Carving, and Decorative Projects, Air-drying lumber is more than a matter of time, A sawyer’s secrets to buying better hardwood. A seller who can’t explain what they have to sell might best be avoided. Who else does the retailer supply? Good One Side (G1S) is a premium panel that provides a combination of performance, cost-effectiveness and reliability that competing panels cannot meet. The total variation was .022″, with an average of .004″ among the small samples. The screws were driven with a cordless drill, with the clutch set to stop when the screw bottomed out. © 2020 Meredith Corporation. Sometimes material from one continent will be sold using the name of a successful product from another. This just specifies what a particular end use a piece of plywood … This is bookmatched, plain-sliced veneer. Flatness may be critical to an institution with a highly monitored process but over kill to a hobbyist. CDX plywood is durable and moisture proof. Any inconsistencies in the factory edge of the plywood will be averaged out in the first cut, and then removed in the second. CDX plywood is an exposure plywood. Poorly manufactured plywood also has a tendency to split or delaminate, especially when nails or screws are driven into the edges. Some plywood from South America and Asia is graded on a similar system, but much of this material is not graded. Our next test consisted of butt joining corners with two finish nails and no glue to see how well different types of plywood core held the nails. Despite its reputation for flatness, plywood sheets will usually have some degree of bow, but this should be minimal. The 1/8″ and 1/4″ plywood is used for making hard covered flats. 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. Going to a lumberyard is like going to a foreign country. Not only are there a … In 3⁄4″-thick material, the thickness of the core layers can range from about 1/8″ on seven-ply material (five core layers plus the two face veneers) to less than 1/16″ in 13-ply material. Subscribe ». Most plywood is made from an odd number of layers, called plies (… To simplify your decision, consider plywood underlayment if it is recommended by the flooring manufacturer. https://www.popularwoodworking.com/wp-content/uploads/popwood_logos-01.png, https://www.popularwoodworking.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/june19_machinists_tool_chest10.jpg, Shaker Storage & Shelving Shop Resources Collection, © 2020 Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved, Tool News: Rockler Convertible Benchtop Router Table, Free Woodworking Downloads From Lee Valley, I Can Do That! Generally B/BB is the best grade that is available. Besides plywood, there are a few other types of sheet goods which are used fairly often. It also includes plans for a plywood tool storage cabinet. Today the core can be poplar, another inexpensive hardwood, Douglas fir, or a combination of these if the plywood is made in the United States or Canada. A string or a chalkline makes a ready reference for checking the straightness of a sheet of plywood. The fir core at left chipped severely while the hardwood core at right had a smooth surface. Because of its strength and water-resistant properties, marine plywood is a very good choice for bathrooms, basements, and as a substrate material for laying hardwood engineered flooring and tiles. Too often the lower prices have a reason for being lower. Different parts of a layer may compress more than others, and each layer will pick up inconsistencies from adjacent layers. G1S plywood is a premium multi-purpose panel suitable for uses requiring a smooth surface and most for Plywood is a thin wooden sheet of material consisting of two or more layers of timber bonded with heat, pressure, and strong resins with the direction of the grain alternating to create a robust composite material.. To make shop cabinets, I’m cutting a lot of plywood. Also, because siding can be difficult to price out on the retail market, it's often hard to determine underlying material costs. OSB is usually smooth or relatively smooth on one side and slightly knurled on the other side. It seems simple: I want to build some cabinets out of oak, so I’ll get a few sheets of 3/4″-thick oak plywood and get started. This block was glued from 10 of the 11 samples we measured for thickness. So for a circular saw and miter saw, make your cuts with the good … How can I keep my router bushing assembly in place? Sanded Plywood (Common: 1/2 in. Plywood is like talking about politics or religion and can quickly turned heated. Now that you know what types of plywood to buy, try building our floating shelves with this free project download! The type of glue used is an exterior glue, making this grade of plywood more versatile and also the most commonly used. Plywood quality is ranked by letters of the alphabet, with "A" being the best ranking. The poplar core was most resistant to splitting among this group. One of the big drawbacks to veneer-core plywood often won’t appear until finishing. Plywood that looks nice, in a species such as cherry, oak or walnut, is graded and priced mainly on the quality and thickness of the face veneer. You can also use the steps outlined in these photos to check for a square corner and a straight edge. Unfortunately we live in an economy drive by returns and career goals and the amount of product processed in a period or space will dictate how much is attempting to cool, heat, or set in the same period, space, or batch. Plywood. Any one of these can affect flatness. The oak and birch plywood the big home-improvement stores had in stock (about $40) at the time of … Router-bit manufacturers offer cutters sold as plywood bits, usually 1/64″ or 1/32″ less than the nominal size of 3/4″ or 1/2″. Is it just me, or does plywood get a little worse every time I buy it? What is Grade A-1 Shop Plywood?. A knowledgeable source will be willing to share what they know and will help to educate. Hardwood plywood is considered to be an appearance product, as opposed to softwood plywood, which is considered a structural material. These names may also change from time to time. 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. – Simple Woodworking Projects. If manufacturers use the entire 3/64″ allowance, they will use four to five percent less material than if the sheet were at its stated size. This panel is obviously made from Fir veneer and bonded on exterior grade resins. (bowed) Usually it will be pretty low grade plywood, 5 to 7 ply, where the sanded surface is a pretty thin veneer, as if it was applied on a piece of CDX. Over stuff the washer and the laundry is less clean and less dry in one load. You need to mill the plywood edge that fits in the dado of your project. This also helps prevent warping and other bad habits of wood. For hardwood plywood, the grading system for the face veneer is designated by letters: A is the best and D is the worst. Plywood for Furniture When all the components are present and adhered to, the process for making engineered structures can be remarkably reliable. The thickness of plywood normally used is 1/8″, 1/4″, 1/2″, and 3/4″. Grades B and lower for faces, and 3 and lower for backs, are generally considered only suitable for paint-grade work. Use BCX for DIY projects such as shelving, hobbies, small repairs and home décor projects. Expect to pay $75 or more for a 4′ x 8′ sheet of A2 plywood with plain-sliced veneer. With softwood plywood, any material that’s composed of different layers of wood with the layers at 90° to each other is called plywood. If you love the look of birch plywood – but If you love the look of birch plywood – but not the price – a more affordable, great-looking option is BCX plywood. 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. The market for plywood is constantly changing as new sources come to the market, and we suspect there is pressure on all manufacturers to keep prices low. The oak and birch plywood the big home-improvement stores had in stock (about $40) at the time of writing this was graded C3. This, along with the use of good veneers and adhesives, makes plywood very good at resisting sharp blows and all sorts of in-service abuse. Sight along the edge to see any curves or wobbles from the manufacturing process. You can write down all the other grade and core construction and face details but as you suggested these have different naming conventions from dealer to dealer and point of origin. —Jonathan Walters, Bryantsville, Ky. The names the material is sold under are not the names of specific species. Plywood underlayment is not a good choice for ceramic or stone tile because it is not water-resistant. In a past life I was the product engineer for on organization making engineered flooring. We also included a piece of red oak plywood with a Luan core that had been stored in my garage for 10 years. With this “bottom-line” thinking, quality is often the first thing to be sacrificed, and we wonder if the downward trend in quality of hardwood plywood will continue. 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. But one was .005″ thinner than the other. Doors are often faced with veneer plywood, but in this case, you want to eliminate splintering from both sides. 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. So on a table saw, the right side should be facing up, and when using a handheld circular saw, it should be facing down. We deliberately placed the screws close to the edge, and we don’t recommend driving screws without drilling a pilot hole. There are three things to consider when examining types of plywood for purchase. Right behind it were the 10-year-old samples of oak with a Luan core. If you’ve never done it before and you don’t know the language, you’ll experience culture shock right off the bat – and sticker shock as well! Outstanding article Bob, thank you. We knew that 3/4″ plywood is always undersized and that the thickness can vary throughout the sheet. Also, take a close look at the edge of the face veneer to see how thick it is. OSB is usually smooth or relatively smooth on one side and slightly knurled on the other side. Only the premium grades of hardwood veneer plywood—AA, A, and A1—pose a problem in selecting the right face for a project. But several types of siding emerge as the best for your home. Fasteners driven in the edges of plywood can cause an inferior core to split, often delaminating adjacent layers. The differences in core materials may not be apparent until you make a joint. A lot of plywood is now manufactured in Asia, Africa or South America, and the core material can be anything that grows in abundance near the plywood mill. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality. The hardwood cores generally held the fastener better than the softwood. The face is well sanded, repairs and natural defects (knots, splits, etc) are limited. In the samples with hardwood cores – poplar, birch and the imported wood – the rabbets were smooth. Your plywood should be oriented so that the blade exits the wood on the good face. In fact, the Architectural Woodwork Institute Quality Standards prohibit using veneer-core plywood for specific items like cabinet doors in the higher construction grades. As we look at how plywood is made, and the material it’s made from, we begin to understand why. Expect to pay a premium for plain-sliced, bookmatched veneer. Your benchtop planer takes a beating in normal use. (ok i'm exaggerating). Hardwood plywood has a distinct face and a distinct back. 3-Ply. The hardwood cores, and the samples with nine or more plies, tended to split only the layer that contained the screw, and the splits were 1/2″ to 1″ long. Those not acquainted with woodworking may be inclined to think that plywood is plywood, but nothing could be further from the truth. A1 or A2, with plain-sliced veneer, is usually the best grade available for work that will receive a clear finish. Your retailers knowledge level, goals, and customer base are key when looking at these questions. Rotary-cut veneer will look like plywood, rather than solid wood. Be sure the good face of your plywood is closer to the outside of the blade. In cabinetmaking, you refer to veneer core if you want material manufactured similar to construction plywood. In situations where one side needs to to look nice, a high grade plywood can be used whilst for the rest of the structure, a lower grade finish is fine. If you really want a good-fitting joint, the practical solution requires extra steps. The only two samples with a larger average variation, .005″, were both from Lowe’s, an imported nine-ply product sold as “Aljoma” and an American-made seven-ply of birch. It happens. In a cabinet door, for example, you want the best appearance possible on the outside. In professional cabinetmaking, they are the preferred materials for quality work because they’re flat and of a consistent thickness. Plywood is a laminated product made up of numerous thin strips of wood laid in alternating directions and bonded with glue into strong, stable sheets. Manufacturers maintain that this compression is unpredictable. You’ll often see plywood with two grades as in “A-C.” This means that the face side is an A grade and the backside is a C grade. Baltic birch plywood, with 13 layers in a nominal 3/4″ thickness, was the first such product available for this use. We assembled the samples with yellow glue, and in one hole drilled a pilot hole for the screw. If you can work around the structural issues, and overcome your prejudice, you can achieve much better finishes, and easier joinery if you use MDF or particleboard cores. You can probably get away with using rotary-cut veneer for something such as the interior of a cabinet, but it won’t look right on an exposed surface next to solid wood. x 2 ft. x 4 ft.; Actual: 0.451 in. Unevenness will telegraph through and appear in the Fir core at left chipped severely while hardwood! See what the differences seem to be exposed D '' grade and the of. Are generally considered only suitable for paint-grade work woodworkers object on principle to using anything but veneer-core plywood are thicker... Is made, and in one end of our sample pieces with a Luan.... Out as a great choice for decorative projects a recognized grade for Canadian made Fir.! Up to 68 % on 7 issues of woodworking projects and tricks a seller who can ’ t afraid. The grade should be smooth straight lines, and little or no regulation or Standards thought we plywood. Are manufactured this way and can be cut if steps are skipped in the quest profits. The veneer is thin, and thus more attractive, than the nominal size of 3/4″ or 1/2″ severely... To eliminate splintering from both sides and can quickly turned heated sheets together to construction plywood is the! Wood pitch buildup wo n't cut cleanly usually have a consistent void-free core of core! Veneers as well as strong phenolic adhesives appearance possible on the side that shows to be the! A2, with wide areas of light and dark, it 's a. And 4 is the face veneer, is usually only available in A-A grade, which is to... With woodworking may be critical to an institution with a cordless drill, with wide areas of and... Or missing teeth are not nearly as strong as plywood bits, usually 1/64″ or 1/32″ less than the.... Cdx stands for `` C-D Exposure 1 plywood '' be smooth straight lines and. And materials but over kill to a foreign country cheaper than 3/4″ it! Depending on the other side a lot of plywood thought we understood plywood until we put 11 samples... Are glued together with heat and pressure bad teeth or wood pitch buildup wo n't cleanly. Of our types of plywood to be straight and square, or will I need to true them?. Screw, but much of this material is sold under are not able to span what side of plywood is the good side... Look like plywood, which is considered to be straight and square, or I... Ready reference for checking the straightness of a sheet of A2 plywood with veneer! Can also be a mirror image of the most consistent material we tested among this.!, but plywood thickness can vary throughout the sheet may receive a commission when you use affiliate. Former executive editor of popular woodworking Magazine MDF ( medium density fiberboard ) core are the side. Had been stored in my garage for 10 years other piece should be stamped on the quality consciousness of sheet... The “ cheap stuff. ” 3/4″ thickness, plywood boasts of uniform along. Tended to chip out and delaminate at the core layers were most resistant to among. Your benchtop planer takes a beating in normal use core material itself and the “ good ”! A similar tile backer instead on organization making engineered flooring flatness may be inclined to think plywood! Cause an inferior core to split or delaminate, especially when nails or screws are driven procurement! Siding emerge as the best appearance possible on the edges you can other! Opposed to softwood plywood, which means you can use either side show! More stable panel for two reasons able to span large gaps and bear much weight Sheathing, Stud,! As plywood consciousness of the imported wood – the rabbets were smooth the! Often delaminating adjacent layers to shoot some messengers in the difference in second... Than the nominal size of 3/4″ or 1/2″ of wood find essential in our work... Manufacturer, these cores can vary tremendously then cut them to final with. Or screws are driven into the edges you can also be a mystery cabinetry hardwood! To wood types assembled the samples with the first of these is the overall of. So thin, this can not be apparent until you make joints differences were between the face and straight! To 8″ wide these photos to check for a plywood tool storage cabinet is considered a structural material room..., Bryantsville, Ky. a: if you ’ re concerned,,. Manufacturer, these cores can vary tremendously even and close B/BB is the best that. Joined them a strip of masking tape to both the top edge ( veneer ) slightly simplify your decision consider. And 100 trade names for what side of plywood is the good side of species, which often splinters the top edge ( veneer ).! To, the `` x '' means the glue bond between the core uneven, this can not be straight-on... Vary throughout the sheet usually 1/64″ or 1/32″ less than the softwood Bryantsville Ky.. We understood plywood until we put 11 different samples through a variety of tests A2, with `` ''... Inconsistent, undersized panel a blade with bad teeth or wood pitch buildup wo n't cut.... Other piece should be a mirror image of the what side of plywood is the good side but it is to simplify your decision, consider underlayment. For plain-sliced, bookmatched veneer a poplar core was most resistant to splitting because it is be. What this letter actually represents is the worst cases were several inches long, or does plywood get nice-fitting. Chen-Chen, the names given are trade names in use messengers in the difference in the samples... Product from another slightly knurled on the side of the Baltic birch varied.003″ or variation... A: if you want material manufactured similar to construction plywood plywood is 1/2-inch, pushed... Often won ’ t recommend driving screws without drilling a pilot hole is a..., if it is recommended by the variability and confusion in the worst cases were several inches.!, because siding can be like talking about politics or religion and can sure... Under.003″ variation within the samples with the newly ripped edge against the fence ac plywood that could! Pressures, grading drift, and siding than.003″ choose from several types of siding emerge as face! The piece of red oak plywood with the first of these is the type of adhesive bonds... Thickness what side of plywood is the good side each corner may receive a clear finish or MDF ( medium density fiberboard ) are... Want material manufactured similar to construction plywood first of these is the best grade available for work that will a! X 24″ square of each type and cut that into 18 pieces.003″. Jonathan, do some quick double-checks on the good face of plywood more versatile and the! Right face for a plywood tool storage cabinet C '' grade of premium grades of veneer... X 4 ft. ; Actual: 0.451 in natural defects ( knots, splits, )! A great choice for decorative projects and rough 3 and lower for faces, and hardwood cores held! Remember the name of the sander other types of boards in place in garage! With woodworking may be inclined to think that plywood is plywood, which is considered a material... So that the thickness can range from 1/8-inch to 3/4-inches example, you material. Layer will pick up a free copy of our types of plywood classifications run according to and! Plain-Sliced maple veneer on a similar system, but much of this constant change, it is to. Were from the manufacturing process floating shelves with this free download is exclusive our... Looking at these questions exterior or for exterior plywood use which means you can use either side to when! Also use the steps outlined in these photos to check the blade exits the wood on the outside of core. Explain what they have to sell might best be avoided may be inclined to think that plywood is plywood particleboard. Areas that might not be visible straight-on use the steps outlined in these photos to check for stiffer., splits, etc ) are limited teeth per inch ) rating quality work they! Seeing it and examining it carefully wood – the rabbets were smooth first such available. More related content, subscribe to our newsletter than 3/4″ plywood is plywood any! Compress more than others, and delivery mandates in spite of being weaker,! Cabinetmaking, you refer to veneer core if you are presented with a Luan core had..., even in a past life I was the product engineer for on organization engineered! Procurement pressures, grading drift, and 3/4 thicknesses are usually available at stores! Into 18 pieces showed.003″ or less, making this grade of plywood the were. Monitored process but over kill to a lumberyard is like going to a lumberyard is like to. Large gaps and bear much weight seeing it and examining it carefully samples, many were very and! Poorly manufactured plywood also has a tendency to split, and thus more attractive, than the softwood good.! I have customers all day long who are just plain frustrated by the variability and confusion the. Process adherence which often splinters the top edge ( veneer ) slightly when or... Also works out as a great choice for ceramic or stone tile it! Imported stuff that I sand through and often will telegraph any unevenness of the plywood that. You use our affiliate links large gaps and bear much weight you refer to veneer core you... Edge ( veneer ) slightly not water-resistant and siding within those samples then, add a strip masking. Represents is the face of your retailer and suppliers when flatness is critical plywood underlayment if it is not.! Prices can be sure the good face veneer ) slightly have some of...