What is plywood?

What is plywood?

Plywood – it\’s constructed from thin layers of cross-laminated timber – the
direction of the grain alternates with each one – that are compression –
moulded together with an adhesive to form a single sheet. That sheet can be
anything from 0.4 to 50 millimeters thick and any wood can be used, from spruce
to eucalyptus. The most common, and one of the strongest, is birch.

What\’s so
great about it?
\”Strength and stability are the benefits of plywood,\”
says craftsman Ed Shaw-Stephens. \”It is hard to snap because the grain of
each layer goes in opposite directions.\” Even before sealing, plywood is
water resistant and, due to the sizeable sheets (2.4 x 1.2 meters) that it
comes in, it\’s economical. \”It\’s also very versatile,\” says Chris
Sutton, managing director of James Latham. \”It can be machined, drilled,
screwed and finished in anything from paint to lacquer.\”

What is plywood?

Does it
look good in its raw state?
\”The beauty of plywood is the end grain, which
exposes how it was made,\” says architect Simon Astridge. The surface has
natural timber markings and is, in a sense, a \”ready-made\” material;
other than a lick of clear lacquer to seal it, plywood does not need further
enhancement. It looks effortlessly contemporary.

What is plywood?

How can I
use it?
Low-grade plywood is traditionally used as a structural material to box
in areas around pipework or level floors for underlay. Now, however,
better-quality versions are used for aesthetic purposes, such as to clad walls
and ceilings, or build cabinets for kitchens. The key to undertaking any large
plywood project is using a skilled joiner but, once the sheets have been cut to
fit by a carpenter, smaller jobs are not beyond the capabilities of someone
with basic woodworking skills.

Is it
durable enough for floors?
Yes, as long as it is sealed correctly – you\’ll need
to apply more coats of lacquer than the tin recommends. A plywood floor can
reduce labour and expense, as you can fix whole sheets rather than individual
floorboards.



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