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Understanding Plywood Grades

by DW833
posted 08-05-2016 01:57 AM

8 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1774 days

#1 posted 08-05-2016 02:22 AM


Here are a couple of sites that discuss what can be expected from various grades of hardwood plywood. These seem to build on the consensus grading standard ANSI/HPVA HP-1-2004, American National Standard for Hardwood and Decorative Plywood. The complete consensus standard is available for purchase from the Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association, Reston, VA.

View IHRedRules's profile


118 posts in 2330 days

#2 posted 08-05-2016 10:53 AM

Dude, seriously? Their questions are the reason we have forums! Your response is why folks hate forums. Take your meds and remove the bur from your saddle. Life is too short to act like a complete jerk.

I m starting a couple of projects that use plywood. Wanted to use a better grade than what I find in big box stores. Discovered that there are many different grades..
Also, there are different names used for the same grade. After searching online, couldn t find a decent reference to the grades. Anyone know of a reference I can use so when I go to a lumber yard I can ask for the right stuff.

Wha l ve found so far.

Cabinet grade
Construction grade
Finish grade

- DW833

So you cant Google? We have to do your work for you?

- nightguy

View Redoak49's profile (online now)


4880 posts in 2843 days

#3 posted 08-05-2016 11:25 AM

Yes, it would be great if ever would find their own info. However, there are some who just cannot do searches easily.

But, no reason to make comments. We should encourage people on the forum.

I looked at one of the links and now I know how many worm tracks are allowed in plywood. Where else could I find that out?

View johnstoneb's profile


3154 posts in 3027 days

#4 posted 08-05-2016 01:28 PM

Welcome to the world of plywood. There is no one standard that covers all types of plywood. Fir and construction grade usually have one standard A-A. A-B, A-C,B_C etc. Hardwoods have another standard based on core type and veneer type. Baltic birch may have another.
The reason you couldn’t find a decent site listing all the different grades is there probably isn’t one.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7796 posts in 1567 days

#5 posted 08-05-2016 02:21 PM

FIRST need to know what you are making ?
also did you know they have different amounts of ply in them ??

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View DW833's profile


236 posts in 2737 days

#6 posted 08-05-2016 07:46 PM

Thanks for the feedback. I did search, however there were many different versions of similar grades.Bruce from Boise, I came to the same conclusion. That is why I asked this question on the forum.

The site that nightguy listed is for Canada. It doesn’t mention the grades that I see most often at big box stores
like cabinet or construction grade. If I were go to a lumber yard in Canada, would I ask for a plywood grade of
“Select-Tight Face(SEL TF)”? Also, according to the chart the best grade is A-C-A. With C being the plies. So I read that is that some plywood has a good face and back, but the ply is the lowest quality.

Do USA lumber yards use the same grading standards as the Canada yards?
Should have been more specific in OP. What are the grades used at lumber yards in USA.

According the site provided for Columbia products, when I call a lumber yard I tell them I want A, AA, B or C grade
depending on the type of veneer. Not sure if all grades are available for all wood species. Should I just ask for a quote of the best grade they have for the species I want?

I called one and asked for the type of grades they provided and was more confused after talking with them
than before I called.

At this point, think I’ll stick with the best grade I can from HD or Lowes.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6429 posts in 3347 days

#7 posted 08-05-2016 08:04 PM

There are different standards for construction grade versus cabinet grade because the are actually two very different products. I have heard folks refer to a “finish grade” and have no idea what it is. I suppose it’s possible that’s what the box stores sell. Anyway, back to the cabinet grade which is what I recommend for interior furniture projects: in the US they use the letter/number grade, the “A” being best and the “show” side of the plywood, the number “1” is also best and consider (usually) the back side of the piece. I’ve had pieces I could not tell which was “A” as opposed to “1”, but if you buy a NA made piece of hardwood plywood it should/will follow those standards. To be honest, I avoid the box store stuff anymore except for the construction grade, or I buy the hardwood it’s for things like garage/basement cabinets, etc. I can go to my hardwood supplier and buy B-2 maple or birch that is a lot nicer than anything they have…and priced within maybe 10%. The higher grades can get expensive, and in some cases may cost more on a board foot basis than solid wood. But the stuff at the box stores may have what I call “variable thickness”, and it’s tough to cut a good fitting dado for it at times, whereas the USA stuff is much more consistent.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Tony_S's profile


1351 posts in 3937 days

#8 posted 08-05-2016 11:04 PM

Do USA lumber yards use the same grading standards as the Canada yards?

Yes, for both hardwood lumber and sheet goods.

-- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

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