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Flexible plywood

By Abhijit Phadke


Flexible plywood, is a special kind of plywood that can be easily bent without breaking it into pieces. It's very useful for creating any kind of furniture that needs to have curved surfaces.

It is known by several alternative names in different countries. Here are a few examples of that.

1. Bendy ply

2. Hatters ply

3. Bender wood

4. Wiggle board

5. Flexi ply


Rolled up Flexible plywood sheet
A roll of 4 mm thick flexible plywood sheet photographed outside a plywood shop in Navi Mumbai, India.


In India, flexible plywood is manufactured by many different companies and under various brand names. e.g.

1. Century Ply manufactures exterior BWP grade flexible plywood under the brand name of 'FlexoPly',

2. Kitply makes it under the brand name of 'Kitply Curvy'.

3. Sarda Plywood Industries Ltd. has branded their product as 'DuroFlex'.



Standard Sizes and Thickness:

The most common sizes in India are 8' x 4' (8 feet by 4 feet which is roughly equal to 2440 x 1220 mm) though other sizes are also available.

The thickness of the sheets usually ranges from 3mm to 16mm.

It needs to be noted here, that as the thickness of the ply increases, its bending radii will also increase. So for making tight curves of very small radius, thinner flexi ply sheets have to be used.



Price:

The price of the flexible plywood sheet (shown in the photograph above) was quoted by the shopkeeper at Rs. 56 per sq.feet. This was in May-2013. The rates can vary a lot based on brand and quality.



Advantages of flexible plywood:

1. Useful for making curved surfaces in furniture and for interior decoration (e.g. for enclosing a circular building column with plywood).

2. Is usually made from hardwood, so the quality of wood is good.

3. Lower in weight compared to the regular types of plywood. Hence easier to transport and install.

4. Maintains its new shape (curve) once it has been glued in place, or veneered or laminated, or when more than one flexi ply sheets are glued together.

5. Much simpler to use than traditional plywood, for creating curves and bends.

6. Available in long grain and cross grain.

7. Can be easily bent by hand.

8. Available in a wide range of flexibility which is measured in curve diameter or radius. (the bend radius can be as low as 25 mm).