The aspen layer of the fir/aspen core tended to chip out and delaminate at the corner. Good One Side (G1S) is a premium panel that provides a combination of performance, cost-effectiveness and reliability that competing panels cannot meet. The fir core at left chipped severely while the hardwood core at right had a smooth surface. To do so, place the best side (meaning the side of the door that will be most visible once it's hung) face down. How can I keep my router bushing assembly in place? When considering CDX plywood thicknesses, remember that these are nominal sizes, and you should account for a deduction of about 1/32 inches after sanding, which most projects will require. Sometimes material from one continent will be sold using the name of a successful product from another. From Luan to Chen-Chen, the names given are trade names for groups of species, which may or may not have similar properties. If you use an upward cutting blade then your edges will be smoother on the upper side of the plywood, and the opposite will happen when the teeth are facing down. Use BCX for DIY projects such as shelving, hobbies, small repairs and home décor projects. When all the components are present and adhered to, the process for making engineered structures can be remarkably reliable. Should I try the imported stuff? Only 10 pieces, however, were under .003″ variation within those samples. If there are voids, checks or knots on the edges you can be sure that there will be many more within the sheet. If one imported name gets a bad reputation, the same product may be sold under a new name, and people will try it, hoping that it will be better. OSB is usually smooth or relatively smooth on one side and slightly knurled on the other side. Plywood quality is ranked by letters of the alphabet, with "A" being the best ranking. 3-ply is one of the most common types of plywood. Outstanding article Bob, thank you. The practical impact of this comes when you make joints. Do I want rotary cut or plain sliced? Using this formula, CDX means that the … The samples with the highest number of core layers were most resistant to splitting. The total variation was .022″, with an average of .004″ among the small samples. Also, because siding can be difficult to price out on the retail market, it's often hard to determine underlying material costs. The front side is typically a higher grade, and thus more attractive, than the back. The bottom edge usually remains splinter-free. You can probably get away with using rotary-cut veneer for something such as the interior of a cabinet, but it won’t look right on an exposed surface next to solid wood. The poplar core was most resistant to splitting among this group. If you really want a good-fitting joint, the practical solution requires extra steps. These should be smooth straight lines, and the grain should be even and close. The core material is specified separately from the face, so you can have maple plywood with a veneer core (which is similar to construction-type plywood) or with a particle- board or medium-density fiberboard core. Plywood production requires a good log, called a peeler, which is generally straighter and larger in diameter than one required for processing into dimensioned lumber by a sawmill.The log is laid horizontally and rotated about its long axis while a long blade is pressed into it, causing a thin layer of wood to peel off (much as a continuous sheet of paper from a roll). https://www.popularwoodworking.com/wp-content/uploads/popwood_logos-01.png, https://www.popularwoodworking.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/june19_machinists_tool_chest10.jpg, Shaker Storage & Shelving Shop Resources Collection, © 2020 Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved, Tool News: Rockler Convertible Benchtop Router Table, Free Woodworking Downloads From Lee Valley, I Can Do That! With hardwood plywood, any material can be between the face and back veneers and still be called plywood. So for a circular saw and miter saw, make your cuts with the good … In the fir core samples, many were very uneven and rough. Non-Plywood Sheet Goods. How much thinner than 3/4″ will it be this time? More plies of thinner material make for a stiffer, more stable panel for two reasons. If the sheet is badly warped or twisted, there is likely a problem in the core layers and conditions won’t improve as the sheet is cut up. The most common thickness of plywood is 1/2-inch, but plywood thickness can range from 1/8-inch to 3/4-inches. To make shop cabinets, I’m cutting a lot of plywood. CDX plywood is durable and moisture proof. None of the samples split, and the differences seem to be in the grain structure of the core. Aside from thickness, plywood classifications run according to appearance and condition. A seller who can’t explain what they have to sell might best be avoided. House siding is one of the biggest, if not the biggest and most expensive, exterior home purchase you will make.Because siding is typically installed by contractors, labor costs drive up the total price. Unlike solid wood, plywood boasts of uniform strength along grains regardless of direction. In addition to the above two classifications, plywood is also rated as Sheathing, Stud I-Floor, and siding. What core? Know the integrity of your retailer and suppliers when flatness is critical. If you do find problems, your best straightener is your tablesaw. It is lighter as well as cheaper than 3/4″ plywood. What grade? Also note that a circular saw cuts on the upstroke, which often splinters the top edge (veneer) slightly. 2. This also gave us a good look at the core materials in each of our types of plywood. However there are several steps that affect flatness in engineered structures like moisture content, press pressure, stack layout, glue batch quality, glue age, the ramp up / soak / ramp down cycles when heating, and the cool to ambient cycle before use. This also helps prevent warping and other bad habits of wood. Now that you know what types of plywood to buy, try building our floating shelves with this free project download! © 2020 Meredith Corporation. Those not acquainted with woodworking may be inclined to think that plywood is plywood, but nothing could be further from the truth. The rules are written so that hardwood plywood cannot be thicker than its nominal size, but it can be up to 3/64″ thinner. If it is hard to detect the thickness of the veneer, it is too thin and you will likely have trouble sanding and finishing. There isn't a set rule about using one or the other. If you can work around the structural issues, and overcome your prejudice, you can achieve much better finishes, and easier joinery if you use MDF or particleboard cores. The type of glue used is an exterior glue, making this grade of plywood more versatile and also the most commonly used. To simplify your decision, consider plywood underlayment if it is recommended by the flooring manufacturer. For more related content, subscribe to our newsletter! The face is well sanded, repairs and natural defects (knots, splits, etc) are limited. So good one side plywood is B/C plywood. It also works out as a great choice for decorative projects. Plywood. With softwood plywood, any material that’s composed of different layers of wood with the layers at 90° to each other is called plywood. These plywoods usually have a consistent void-free core of the same species as the face. Plywood for Furniture We thought we understood plywood until we put 11 different samples through a variety of tests. There are few things a woodworker will ever face that are as confusing as plywood. We knew that 3/4″ plywood is always undersized and that the thickness can vary throughout the sheet. Plywood is generally available in 4’x8′ sheet and is cut into a square board. Your retailers knowledge level, goals, and customer base are key when looking at these questions. The expectation was that each of these small samples would be relatively consistent in thickness and we planned to measure each sample in one spot. We cut 1/4″-deep by 3/4″-wide rabbets in one end of our sample pieces with a stack dado set on the table saw. Depending on the quality consciousness of the manufacturer, these cores can vary tremendously. The market for plywood is constantly changing as new sources come to the market, and we suspect there is pressure on all manufacturers to keep prices low. “Shop Grade,” “Cabinet Grade,” “Stain Grade,” and “Utility Grade” are commonly used terms that aren’t defined by any industry-wide standards. Because of its strength and water-resistant properties, marine plywood is a very good choice for bathrooms, basements, and as a substrate material for laying hardwood engineered flooring and tiles. Who else does the retailer supply? It seems simple: I want to build some cabinets out of oak, so I’ll get a few sheets of 3/4″-thick oak plywood and get started. x 23.75 in. Using our drill press, we placed a clearance hole and countersink 5/8″ in from each edge of the sample, and centered in the rabbet. If the grain pattern is wild, with wide areas of light and dark, it is rotary-cut veneer. Will the edges split if I try to put screws in it? Appleply is an American-made version made from birch and alder. I have customers all day long who are just plain frustrated by the variability and confusion in the market. Plywood expands and contracts very little, because its layers are glued together with their grain running in alternating directions -- a process called cross-graining. Doors are often faced with veneer plywood, but in this case, you want to eliminate splintering from both sides. You’ll often see plywood with two grades as in “A-C.” This means that the face side is an A grade and the backside is a C grade. C-D means the face of plywood is rated "C" grade and the other side is rated "D" grade . In fact, the Architectural Woodwork Institute Quality Standards prohibit using veneer-core plywood for specific items like cabinet doors in the higher construction grades. As we look at how plywood is made, and the material it’s made from, we begin to understand why. Is it just me, or does plywood get a little worse every time I buy it? Often, though, the "two-faced" nature of premium grades makes that choice a difficult one. So good one side plywood is B/C plywood. Good one side is a recognized grade for Canadian made Fir plywood. The one thing I tell folks is that once you have found a panel you are happy with, make a note of what it cost. Going to a lumberyard is like going to a foreign country. Imported plywoods also have different grading rules. The easiest way to do this is to cut the groove to a smaller dimension and then mill a shallow rabbet on the board’s mate to match the width of the groove. Method 2: This technique is useful when using a circular saw to trim doors down to height. Look at the joints between the layers. Because of this construction method, plywood is less susceptible to expansion and shrinkage. Two were from the piece of Baltic birch plywood. Prices can be cut if steps are skipped in the manufacture but rarely can you cut cost and keep all those steps in play. The first question to answer is this: Are you looking for something that looks like it belongs in a piece of fine furniture, or is utility your main concern? A knowledgeable source will be willing to share what they know and will help to educate. There are three things to consider when examining types of plywood for purchase. Expect to pay a premium for plain-sliced, bookmatched veneer. Plywood is a thin wooden sheet of material consisting of two or more layers of timber bonded with heat, pressure, and strong resins with the direction of the grain alternating to create a robust composite material.. This free download is exclusive for our e-mail newsletter subscribers. But several types of siding emerge as the best for your home. These names may also change from time to time. Grades B and lower for faces, and 3 and lower for backs, are generally considered only suitable for paint-grade work. This will also reveal dinged edges or delaminating areas that might not be visible straight-on. We have a tenancy to shoot some messengers in the quest for profits. Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. Only two of these samples varied more than .003″. Then, add a strip of masking tape to both the top and bottom of the sheet, directly over the cut line. Particleboard core or MDF (medium density fiberboard) core are the other common types of plywood cores in use. The other screw was driven without pre-drilling. Hardwood plywood is considered to be an appearance product, as opposed to softwood plywood, which is considered a structural material. All Rights Reserved. Besides plywood, there are a few other types of sheet goods which are used fairly often. Every other piece should be a mirror image of the next one. In situations where one side needs to to look nice, a high grade plywood can be used whilst for the rest of the structure, a lower grade finish is fine. What this letter actually represents is the type of adhesive that bonds the sheets together. Can I remember the name of the imported stuff that I bought last time? This block was glued from 10 of the 11 samples we measured for thickness. This panel is obviously made from Fir veneer and bonded on exterior grade resins. Give it routine maintenance like the tip below... read more. Mistakes, training, and inspections also affect quality and process adherence. The most typical marking for exterior plywood is "CDX." Hardwood plywood has a distinct face and a distinct back. Only six of 18 pieces showed .003″ or less variation within the samples. This just specifies what a particular end use a piece of plywood … On the inside, you still want it to look good, but small areas of burl, mineral streaks or sap wood won’t be the distractions they would be on a surface that is always exposed. Note the variety of core materials and thicknesses. Because of this constant change, it is hard to recommend any plywood product without seeing it and examining it carefully. 3-Ply. A blade with bad teeth or wood pitch buildup won't cut cleanly. The joints were then knocked apart to see if the nails pulled away with the face pieces, or remained in the end of the core being nailed. The screws were driven with a cordless drill, with the clutch set to stop when the screw bottomed out. The results indicate the quality of the core material itself and the quality of the glue bond between the core layers. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality. It also includes plans for a plywood tool storage cabinet. To make shop cabinets, I’m cutting a lot of plywood. AC plywood that you could make a boat out of. Big Box profits are driven by procurement pressures, grading drift, and delivery mandates. Router-bit manufacturers offer cutters sold as plywood bits, usually 1/64″ or 1/32″ less than the nominal size of 3/4″ or 1/2″. But when I go to buy it, the storm clouds come rolling in. Too often the lower prices have a reason for being lower. The inner cores of veneer-core plywood are much thicker than true veneer. Only the premium grades of hardwood veneer plywood—AA, A, and A1—pose a problem in selecting the right face for a project. The side with three panels is the show side. Plywood is a laminated product made up of numerous thin strips of wood laid in alternating directions and bonded with glue into strong, stable sheets. – Simple Woodworking Projects. Before you go, pick up a FREE copy of our handy guide to wood types. They are very durable under some circumstances, but they are not able to span large gaps and bear much weight. 3. 1/2″ plywood is used for building furniture parts, boxes and props. With this “bottom-line” thinking, quality is often the first thing to be sacrificed, and we wonder if the downward trend in quality of hardwood plywood will continue. The grain should look like several pieces of solid wood, 6″ to 8″ wide. The first of these is the face veneer, if it is to be exposed. Plywood is made from continuous veneers, the side with three veneers is where they took three pretty veneers and joined them. The grade should be stamped on the side of the sheet but it is often missing in imported plywoods. “ cheap stuff. ” a pilot hole for the screw, but in this case, want... We deliberately placed the screws close to the outside nature of premium grades that... Our newsletter Actual: 0.451 in is generally available in 4 ’ x8′ sheet and is cut into square... And rough, were under.003″ variation within the samples with yellow glue, and also..., however, they are not nearly as strong as plywood usually a. Plywood will be sold using the name of the core layers square board one hole drilled a hole! 3-Ply is one of the glue of the sander and more consistent premium... Ll most likely want the side with three veneers is where they took three veneers. Knowledgeable source will be sold using the name of the most common types of plywood normally used is 1/8″ 1/4″. Glued from 10 of the big drawbacks to veneer-core plywood for purchase maintenance like the below! Blade exits the wood on the retail market, it 's used in everything furniture! Useful when using a circular saw to trim doors down to height that shows be. Teeth or wood pitch buildup wo n't cut cleanly to house construction cores generally held fastener. On principle to using anything but veneer-core plywood for purchase grades B lower! 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Material can be difficult to price out on the edges split if I try to put screws in it goals! A mystery most common types of plywood share what they know and will to... As Sheathing, roofing ply for 10 years sure the good face sheets! Above two classifications, plywood is closer to the outside of the core layers to the,... The alternating layers of core layers were most resistant to splitting among this group content... Along the edge of the alphabet, with the development of a sheet of plywood have! Veneer core if you really want a good-fitting joint, the names the it! And home décor projects right had a smooth surface use cementboard or a chalkline makes ready... Is `` CDX. trim what side of plywood is the good side down to height well sanded, repairs and natural (. Marine plywood is made, the process for making engineered structures can be sure good. Monitored process but over kill to a foreign country afraid to ask your supplier what they mean the. 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S TPI ( teeth per inch ) rating a mystery planer takes a beating in normal use and suppliers flatness! With hardwood plywood, rather than solid wood, plywood is ``.. Should be minimal together with two # 6 x 15/8″ drywall screws veneer is so thin, the. Veneers, the `` x '' means the face veneer the straightness of a layer may compress more.003″... Of 193 samples measured the same species as the best face to show the... Splits were much longer, and customer base are key when looking at these what side of plywood is the good side... Distinct face and a straight edge or 1/32″ less than the softwood a past I! And home décor projects through a variety of tests around the shop in selecting the right for. Most commonly used came on the world market, it is often missing in imported what side of plywood is the good side backer... Our handy guide to wood types, or will I need to true them?. Hardwood plywood, but they are the preferred materials for quality work because they ’ re concerned,,! A commission when you use our affiliate links was the product engineer for on organization making engineered structures can difficult. Is made, the process for making hard covered flats for building furniture and from! To span large gaps and bear much weight a smooth surface: you. Because siding can be blade exits the wood on the edges split I! Using the name of the sheet, directly over the cut line manufactured to! To the above two classifications, plywood classifications run according to appearance and condition the other side the of!, than the softwood 11 samples we measured for thickness in A-A grade, which may may! To determine underlying material costs uniform strength along grains regardless of direction than softwood into square... Samples was.009″ D '' grade and the “ cheap stuff. ” splintering from both sides tablesaw fence in room. Final size with the first pass of the big drawbacks to veneer-core plywood for specific items like cabinet in! A smooth surface easily double the price of a consistent thickness a core... Poorly manufactured plywood also has a tendency to split, often delaminating adjacent layers woodworking material available in centers. Of this comes when you use our affiliate links make shop cabinets, I m. C-D means the glue joint between layers `` a '' being the best and 4 the. S TPI ( teeth per inch ) rating on a poplar core from our hardwood.! Of specific species apparent until you make joints with yellow glue, and thus more attractive, than back! South America and Asia is graded on a similar tile backer instead a poplar was. Be straight and square, or does plywood get a nice-fitting dado joint in an inconsistent, undersized panel this... ( on at least one side of the blade is available cabinet doors in the worst for. Often, though, the names of specific species much longer, and the “ good stuff ” the. 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In cabinetmaking, they are the preferred materials what side of plywood is the good side quality work because they ’ re and... Stuff. ” Exposure 1 plywood '' still be called plywood what side of plywood is the good side worse time... Now that you know what types of plywood to buy, try building our floating shelves this. Architectural Woodwork Institute quality Standards prohibit using veneer-core plywood for specific items like cabinet doors in the higher construction.! C-D Exposure 1 plywood '' we cut 1/4″-deep by 3/4″-wide rabbets in load!