Plywood, let your imagination run wild

What is plywood?

In simple terms it is a product made from natural timbers that have been thinly sliced into sheets, then the grain of the sheets is rotated 90 degrees and the sheets are then glued and laminated together to form an incredibly strong, light and flexible building product.

When most people think about products made from wood, they will often take it for granted that these products are made from a solid piece of timber, but you might be surprised to find that a large proportion of these things are made from plywoods and in a lot of cases it wouldn’t even be possible to produce them in a solid timber.

You may also think that plywoods are a relatively new product, but nothing could be further from the truth. The technique of layering cross-grained veneers to make a material stronger than solid wood has been in use for a long time – as early as 2600 BC in ancient Egypt. And we all know how clever and good at building things the ancient Egyptians were.

In the 1760’s furniture workshops in Britain started to use plywoods more and more and by the 1830’s with the introduction of mechanised saws, there were large drops in the costs of producing the veneers. This caused designers and engineers to investigate plywood as one of the ‘new’ materials of the industrial age.

Plywood became particularly prized for its capacity to be formed into incredibly strong curved forms and as a lower cost alternative to steel. It didn’t need huge factories to produce and could easily be made in a local workshop.

Plywood lightness and strength was used in the construction of aeroplanes from 1910 to 1945 and it helped revolutionise the way new planes were made and the nature of flight.

Plywood was used extensively in car and boat construction, even race cars were made from plywood, and not that much has changed since. Today you will find different plywood products being used in these vehicles both structurally and for appearance.

For a long time builders, designers and engineers have been using plywood because it is light weight and incredibly strong, but more often than not it gets covered up by some other material. With the advent of waterproof glues and improved moulding technology, plywood was promoted in the post war period as a technologically sophisticated material of the future and with this became a more visible product. A very notable one of these is Charles and Ray Eames who’s furniture is well sought after to this day.

Everything from major construction material to a simple skate board, there’s not much you can’t do with plywood.

Recently Plywood has had a major resurgence with stunning veneers of all kinds of timbers and they are being used heavily in the Flooring and cabinetry sectors. At Connollys, we have a number of flooring solutions made from single species plywoods such as Spotted Gum and Blackbutt, we also have large panels that can be turned into any number of things, just let your imagination run wild.

For more information about any of the products we carry, I encourage you to visit our showroom at 148 Gaffney St Coburg Nth, you will find it is definitely worth the visit.

03 9354 9998