Production & Grading
Hardwood plywood can be made using either rotary or sliced hardwood veneers for the faces and backs. The core material can be a variety of materials including MDF, particleboard, veneers and solid wood. The choice of solid wood core material may be influenced by location. For example, hardwood plywood manufactured in the hardwood forests of the east coast is more likely to have a solid wood core made of tulipwood. This is because it is more cost efficient and more readily available than suitable softwood material. On the west coast, the reverse is true.
The majority of hardwood plywood is produced for consumption in the American domestic market. Due to the nature of the product, and the ability to choose from a range of face and core materials, hardwood plywood is usually produced to customer requirement. However, the larger producers offer standard products for certain applications, such as the retail DIY market.
As a composite wood product, plywood is flexible in terms of application. Not only is there a wide choice of face material to produce numerous aesthetic affects, but plywood can be manufactured to be water resistant or to contain a fire retardant, thus enhancing its performance for particular applications.
Hardwood plywood can be made in many sizes and thicknesses, depending on its intended use, but the standard panel is 4' wide by 8' long (1219mm x 2438mm). Other common sizes are 4' wide by 6' long (1219mm x 1829mm) and 4' wide by 10' long (1219mm x 3048mm). Plywood is also available cut or made to special sizes, according individual buyers' specific requirements.
The plywood industry has developed voluntary industry grades and standards for hardwood plywood in conjunction with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This standard - 'American National Standard for Hardwood and Decorative Plywood ANSI/HPVA HP-1- 1994', published and administered by the Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association (HPVA), describes natural and other characteristics allowed in each veneer or ply. It should be noted that sliced hardwood veneer is only governed by these standard grades when it is a part of a plywood product.