The most ubiquitous and well-known engineered wood used to make furniture. Plywood is used for all types of interior applications and is not only limited to furniture.
There are several qualities that contribute towards plywoods? merit and an equal number that don?t. To understand these, we must understand exactly how they?re made and their composition.
Plywood is made by gluing and layering thin sheets of veneer or ?ply? that are laid out in alternate directions. This technique is called cross lamination and it?s founded on the same physics principle as Jenga stacks.
The wood veneers are typically made from hardwood species that are ditched by solid wood furniture manufacturers (as extremely hardwood species tend to split at the grain), this results in a lower cost and a studied ply.
The veneers are kiln-dried, which basically means lightly baked in a large oven.
The quality of glue used to layer the ply sheets make a significant difference in the quality of the plywood.
If you?re wondering why plywood is less expensive than solid wood furniture while at the same time involving more processing steps, you have a very legitimate reason for thinking so.
You see, using thin veneers and layering them with commercial-grade adhesives is a process that ends up using a lot less natural wood as a significant portion of the cross-section is composed of, well, glue.
Secondly, solid wood species that are generally not used for manufacturing solid wood furniture due to the extreme hardness and stiffness that can cause the wood the rupture or split while processing are the ones that are used to make plywood, if such wood species are available in abundance, there?ll be virtually no demand for them from the natural wood furniture industry, so they also tend to be quite cheaper
For example, Gurgan wood, a species found in South East Asia has a weight density of 900 KG/m3 and is heavily used on plywood.
Watch out for manufacturers that claim to use a hardwood species like teakwood ply for the veneers but the core layers of the ply are substituted with cheaper and less effective alternatives.