Reply by David Kirtley

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Posted on Plywood vs real wood

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3482 days

#1 posted 01-14-2012 01:51 AM

I really like plywood but stay away from construction ply. It is good for subfloors and roof sheathing and not much else. Ideally, you want good hardwood ply. The thinner the individual layers the better. There is nothing cheap about high quality plywood and it will out perform solid wood in many ways.

In order from best to kindling:

Aircraft grade ply (Real pricey. Not much different than marine but it is certified)
Marine grade hardwood ply.
Baltic Birch, Appleply and other names such as russian or finnish plywoods..
Cheaper luan based can be hit or miss.
Marine grade fir ply
cabinet grade hardwood ply (Usually has good faces but unknown quality inner layers)
MDO – Good stuff. It’s what they make street signs out of.
Construction grade ply. Generally not structural grade for anything.

The differences are:

the thickness of layers: thinner is better.
Glue quality: marine=best, exterior=so-so, interior=forget it unless in really controlled environment.
Surface quality= The marine stuff is usually A with no knots or patches. A-B usually has one good face and one patched. B through D face grades: Great stuff for places it doesn’t matter.
Quality of layers. Marine grade will have no voids. It goes downhill from there.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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