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Wood used for Plywood

By Abhijit Phadke

Plywood can be made from hardwood (such as teak wood or Gurjan wood) as well as from softwood (such as pine, cedar or mango wood). Hardwood plywood is usually stronger and of better quality compared to that made from softwood.

In this article we will list the various types of woods used for making plywood, but before that here is a brief mention of how plywood is made.

Plywood is made by glueing/bonding several layers of wood veneers (thin slices/layers of wood) over each other. These thin slices are obtained either by rotary-cutting or slicing timber logs. Rotary-cutting is more common and includes rotating the wooden logs using a giant lathe like machine while a cutter peels the layers from the logs. These veneers are then cut to desired sizes, graded based on their quality, dried using mechanical dryers, and then placed and pressed over one another under high pressure and temperature.

Some of the types of wood that can be used for making plywood are listed below.

Alder Arjun Birch Bonsum
Carallia Champ Chaplash Cinnamon
Debdaru Dhup Ebony Elm
Gurjan Hollock Hollong Indian Oak
Laurel Mahogany Maple Mango
Neem Persian Lilach Piney Poplar
Rose Wood Satin Wood Piney Silver Oak
Sissoo Teak Walnut White Cedar

So, which type of wood is best for plywood?

As mentioned earlier hardwood is better than softwood. In India, most of the good quality plywood available in the markets is made from 'Gurjan wood' (pronounced as 'Garjan').

It must be mentioned here that sometimes only some of the layers of the plywood sheet are of hardwood, and the inner layers may be made from softwood. This obviously causes the overall strength of the board to reduce. On the other hand, when all the layers of a plywood sheet are made from hardwood veneers then such plywood is stronger, and it the manufacturers and shopkeepers call it as 100% hardwood plywood.

Plywood has a wide range of uses ranging from furniture to boat-building to building construction. Accordingly there are several types and grades of plywood available in the markets. Read types of plywood for more information on this.