Plywood is a very popular material commonly used in the interior design and furniture industry. It’s made from thin layers of wood veneers which are glued together. It’s from the same family as MDF (plywood) and particle board. Although it’s considered a modern invention, there’s evidence showing plywood has been around for a long time, with reports dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries and even before that.
The first patent for what is now commonly known as plywood was issued on the 26th of December 1865 to John K. Mayo from New York City. However, it doesn’t seem like it was of much use. It was only in 1905 that someone from Portland started creating furniture and other things from a material which they called 3-ply veneer work. Plywood became more and more popular after that, with new uses for it being found and improvements being made to the manufacturing process.
Today, plywood has many different applications and comes in a variety of different types:
- Softwood Plywood – the most common of them which is usually made of fir veneer.
- Hardwood plywood – is commonly used for furniture making and is made of ash, oak, red oak, birch, maple and mahogany.
- Marine plywood – is used in the construction of boats and goes through a special treatment which makes it suitable for high-moisture environments as well as rot-resistant. These are just a few examples.
Plywood has a lot of advantages but also a few important disadvantages which we should mention. For example, it has very good strength and durability compared to MDF and is also less susceptible to water damage. It’s resistant to cracking, twisting, warping and shrinking and can be easily polished or painted which makes it very versatile. Compared to solid wood it comes in a variety of large sizes and is more affordable. It requires very little maintenance and is also easy to clean.
For all the pros mentioned above there’s also a list of cons to consider. For example, even if plywood is more affordable than solid wood, it’s still more expensive than MDF or particle board. Also, its edges need to be finished and often get splintered or damaged during transportation. It can be cut into basically any shape but the process is quite difficult. At the same time it can be damaged by moisture and is known to emit toxic VOCs. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide whether plywood is a suitable option for your projects and if it’s in fact the best option you have considering your budget and requirements.
SOME projects featuring plywood
To get a better idea of just how versatile plywood can be, here are a few projects which make use of this material.