What is Plywood? Types of Plywood

Plywood is an engineered wood sheet material made up of fine layers or flimsy strands of wood veneers attached together placing wood grains 90 degrees to one another. It is one type of manufactured board which can be described as a mixture of Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) and Chip Board (Particle Board). It is a complex material and attaches resin and fiber sheets of wood.

Plywood has become popular through this decade because it’s relatively low moisture content which makes various tasks easy to perform with this. Mostly for outdoor uses plywood has become very important to use. The renowned British Powerboat company uses plywood for the construction of Motor Torpedo boats and moter Gun boats..

Standard Plywood Thickness

Plywood is a versatile material that can be used for a variety of applications. The thickness of plywood is determined by the number of layers, or plies, of wood veneer that is glued together. The more layers there are, the thicker the plywood. The most common thicknesses of plywood are 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 1/4 inch.

Types of Plywood

Following are the different types of Plywood.

  • Softwood plywood
  • Hardwood plywood
  • Tropical Plywood
  • Aircraft Plywood
  • Decorative Plywood
  • Flexible Plywood
  • Marine Plywood

A brief description of these types of plywood is given below

Softwood plywood :

Softwood Plywood which is also known as spruce-pine-fir or SPF because it’s from spruce, pine, and fir. Though it can be made from cedar (Cedrus sp), douglas fir (Pseudotsugan menziesii). If made from spruce (Picea sp) the prominent grains are coated by a system so that this kind of plywood  becomes more effective as hard as concrete and used for shuttering strands and construction.

Uses of Softwood Plywood

Followings are the uses of Softwood Plywood:

  1. For construction work.
  2. In industries. 
  3. For ventilation panel.
  4. For flooring, wall, roofs for building construction.  
  5. For machinery, vehicle parts making.
  6. For packaging.
  7. For making a fence around an area.

Hardwood plywood :

Hardwood Plywood is made from angiosperms. This type of plywood is identified by its firmness, hardness on surface, inflexibility, resistance quality. This can be used to bear heavy weight.

Uses of Hardwood Plywood

Following are the common uses of Hardwood Plywood:

  1. For flooring of houses.
  2. Used for giving structures to walls.
  3. Mostly used for wear resistance.

These are the general uses. Some special Hard plywood bear special qualities and used for different purposes is described below:

  1. Hard plywood especially from wood like Birch (Betula sp.) which is used for
    1. Turbine blades for windy machinery.
    2. LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) carrier box making.
  2. Some hard plywood are coated with the phenolic resin which is used for Panels in concrete formwork systems
    1. Floors of containers.
    2. Top roofs, floors, side walls of vehicles are made of this type of plywood. 
    3. Construction of scaffolding.
  3. Birch plywood is moderated with two combined characteristics smoothness and thickness which enhances the durability of this type. And used for:
    1. Painting boards
    2. The base structure of flooring. 
    3. Furniture making. 
    4. Sports stadium construction. 
    5. Sports equipment. 
    6. Musical instruments

Tropical Plywood :

Different types of timbers of tropical area are mixed to make this type of plywood. Though previously it was only collected from the Asian region, now also from Africa and America it is collected. Tropical plywood popular for some special qualities like

  • Strength
  • Density 
  • Evenness  
  • Inflexibility 
  • Resistance quality 
  • Thickness

South Asia being tropical region manufactures plywood most. Countries like Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea, Dubai and even in America, England this type is used. The bad impact of this type is that for extreme production of this type deforestration is becoming a great problem to some countries like Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia because of this countries export plywood worldwide. Specially Malaysian plywood is known as Malaysian board in Bangladesh and huge popular among bangladeshies because of its higher thickness.

Uses of Tropical Plywood

Followings are the uses of Tropical Plywood:

  1. For construction
  2. For furniture 
  3. Concrete Strand 
  4. Base of floor  
  5. Structure strands 
  6. Flooring of containers

Aircraft Plywood :

Woods from Mahogany (Swietenia Macrophylla), Spruce ( Picea sp. ), Birch ( Betula sp.) are used to make Aircraft Plywood. The African mahogany gives usable structural aircraft plywood. Among birch trees European birch is good. This type is famous for strength. This type is also made from Mahogany, Spruce, Birch but the special quality is that this is resistant to heat.

Uses of Aircraft Plywood

Followings are the uses of Aircraft Plywood:

  1. Aircraft plywood was used as a shield to prevent air assault during the second world war. Also, some British aircrafts used this.
  2. The parts of airplanes from wing surface, bulkheads, wing spars are made of this.

Decorative Plywood :

Decorative plywood is also called overlaid plywood. Usually made from woods of ash ( Fraxinus sp), oak (Quercus sp.), Red oak (Quercus rubra), birch, Maple (Acer sp), mahogany, Philippine mahogany also called seraya, rosewood ( Dalbergia sisso).

Flexible Plywood :

As the name goes Flexible Plywood is used for making flexible furniture or structures. The furniture of eighteen century were mostly of curved structures. These are made from Baltic Birch ( Betula sp).

Uses of Flexible Plywood

Followings are the uses of flexible plywood:

  1. During the reign of queen victoria hats of stove pipes were made from flexible plywood.
  2. Furniture making.

Marine Plywood :

The type of plywood which can be used in moisture, humid, wet environment is called marine plywood. Even it can be used in moisture for long period. The layers of marine plywood bear too small core gap to feel that doesn’t permit the wood to fix water inside the gaps. It is also fungal resistant.

Uses of Marine Plywood

  1. Marine plywood can be used for ship Construction.
  2. For water vehicle making.
  3. For tool and bench made for restaurants and parks which are exposed to open area.