Plywood is popular among architects, builders and interior designers as a highly versatile material. Plywood is not only durable and visually appealing; it can also be transformed into spectacular designs in both residential and commercial settings.
Plywood is made from raw timber. But how exactly is raw timber selected for processing and transforming into plywood panels that can be used for a wide range of design applications?
Maxiply provides an overview of the process to help you understand how plywood is made.
Step One: The Timber
While plywood can be made from a wide variety of trees, the selected specimens can be smaller than those used for other types of timber products. Commonly used timber species for plywood include hardwood trees such as Birch, Blackbutt, Oak, Okoume, Poplar, Spotted Gum and Walnut, as well as softwood species including Hoop pine, Monterey pine, Radiata pine and Douglas fir.
Maxiply responsibly sources all of their timber from FSC certified plantations, which is an important step towards reducing the company’s environmental footprint. Once the trees are selected and cut, they are transported to the mill ready to begin their transformation from timber logs into plywood panels.
Step Two: The Mill
At the mill, the logs are first debarked using a specialised machine and then cut into sections suitable for crafting the plywood sheets. The timber is next submerged in hot water to soften the sections. This process generally takes about a minimum of 12 hours; however, the actual length of time depends on the species of wood.
Once the sections are removed, they are fed through a peeler lathe, which peels a continuous sheet of veneer that is ready to process.
Step Three: Putting It Together
The veneers are cut into a workable size, checked for defects, sorted into grades and then dried. The layers are ready to be glued together as specified to create the various plywood panels – this process is either done manually or on machines. Once the glue is on, the panels are pressed using extreme pressure and heat to bind them securely. When they come off the press, the plywood panels are cut to the length and width required, and sanded to various levels depending on the grade.
The completed plywood panels can now be used to create a wide range of designs and finishes for residential and commercial projects.
From raw timber to architectural statements
The plywood making process is quite intensive and involves a lot of effort from the initial selection of timber, through the various stages of processing to the final panels, which are then crafted into beautiful designs to bring your project to life. The proof of this effort is visible in the stunning design outcomes of projects from classy kitchens to impressive large-scale building interiors.