Why is plywood so widely used? The stability of quality ply is one of the main benefits of using this manufactured lumber product in place of solid wood. However, cheaply made plywood lacks this major benefit, often cupping like a potato chip or coming apart altogether. While grading may help you find the right front and back face quality you need, the current grading system does nothing to describe the all-important core. The significance of the core materials and quality increase exponentially when the face veneer is thinner, since a thinner face wood offers less support than a thicker face does.
McIlvain Company, one of the country’s top lumber wholesalers, has built a centuries-long legacy of supplying premium hardwood lumber. They now supply only the most well-made plywood on the market, extending their well-earned reputation for quality. Such top-notch plywood is as difficult to come by, as low-quality products are plentiful, so in order to make sure that the plywood that you purchase has what it takes to get your job done right the first time, you need to properly match the product to your project. In fact, if your supplier doesn’t ask you how you plan to use the plywood when you place your order, you should probably look elsewhere.
Understanding the significance of a few common core options can help you navigate the sometimes confusing sea of the plywood core options.
This popular interior is composed of veneers with alternating grain patterns; the veneers range in thickness from 2mm to 6.5 mm and create a stable substrate. To judge quality, consider this rule of thumb: The smaller the veneers and the more layers, the more stable the end product.
While some gaps between veneer layers cannot be avoided, their number and size should help you determine the grade of the plywood sheet. Veneer species typically vary by manufacturing locale, and while species type has little to no impact on the grading, it can be a significant factor in which supplier you choose. Veneer-core plywood has excellent capacity for holding screws and is the most commonly encountered plywood core type.
MDF and Particle Board Core
These two distinct core types have something major in common: They’re composite substances in and of themselves. Made of wood particles glued together, they make for a consistent, uniform substrate sandwiched between face veneer. While they boast higher stability than plywood with solid wood cores, they are also much heavier. Particle board will be lighter than MDF, but its edges often splinter easily.
Since MDF is essentially comprised of dust, its increased weight is balanced out by its high stability, strong edges, and easily-millable substrate. Both MDF and particle board core ply were once infamous for their inability to hold screws well, but newly designed screws with wider threads have made that a complete non-issue.
At McIlvain Lumber Company, we currently supply exclusively MDF and Veneer Core Plywood. You can be assured that our inventory consists of a high-quality selection of these popular products. For more information on McIlvain’s huge inventory of plywood types and domestic and exotic hardwoods and softwoods or to learn more about why they’re an industry leader, visit their website today. And for insider tips and woodworking tricks, check out these selections from McIlvain’s lumber blog: