Plywood is a wood construction, a sheet material that is created by building up thin layers of wood. The log is milled  only after  it has been steamed or soaked in a hot water bath  and  the  bark has been removed. It is then sliced, or perhaps more accurately, peeled, into fine strips. These  are then graded and sorted – the best quality for the outer layers, the lesser qualities  for the inner composition.  The sawn layers are laid edge to edge, with the grain running perpendicular to that of the finished panel. These layers are  spliced, taped, stitched or glued together, as required,  to fulfil many different briefs. These are trimmed to the board sizes, grade stamped, then sent on their way.

Plywood is avery strong, solid structure with very similar properties to planks of sawn timber. The main differences, or rather the plus points,  being the versatility of use that comes with the size of the sheet –  the ability to cut shapes and forms without weak points and / or the need for further jointing.

The sheets vary  from 5mm to 22 mm in thickness,  the construction and the faces laminated to purpose.  At the top end of the price scale, is marine ply which is reliably waterproof and durable. At the lower end is shuttering ply, generally less refined and for the temporary  structures that hold poured concrete in place until it has set. In between these are many other grades, including those of,  or finished with,  spruce, birch, hardwoods, or synthetic, plastic  materials.

We used plywood for the same types of furnishing supports as  block board – including table tops, pelmet boards, canopy and tester tops, stool and table tops, flush doors, contemporary cladding. Wood strips can be used to  neaten the edges, but are only really needed for the lesser quality boards, whose ends can be a bit rough.

Thin ply  ( 4- 6mm) pinned to a wooden frame  provides as solid and useful ground for many of these, with the advantage that being lighter in weight the material is both easier to carry and to manoeuvre generally.

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