In 1500 BC Egyptian craftsmen used thin strips of dark ebony to decorate a cedar wood casket that was found in King Tutankhamun's tomb.
The Greeks and Romans later used this technique to produce decorative objects such as fine furniture. In the 1600s this method of decorating furniture became known as veneering and the thin strips were called veneers.
Since then, the technology has advanced considerably and plywood is now made from three or more layers of wood veneer glued together. Each layer or 'ply' is has the grain running at right angles to the layer adjacent to it.
Plywood has excellent strength and stiffness properties and therefore performs well in applications where high strength and rigidity is required. It also has good resistance to humidity and is easy to work and handle.
Most plywood is supplied in large, flat sheets with thicknesses ranging from 1.4mm to 76 mm. The most common panel size used is 1.2m wide by 2.4m long.
One of the great advantages of plywood, particularly birch ply is that it can be pressed into simple or complex curve shapes, for use in furniture, boats and aircraft, so it's an extremely versatile material.
For example, the De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito aircraft flown so successfully in World War II was built from composite sandwich panels using Canadian birch plywood.
However, plywood is also used extensively in wood box making. Among the most common uses for thin gauge plywood is the manufacture of round boxes, such as large round hamper boxes and shaker boxes.
It's also used as the base layer of many wooden boxes to provide extra rigidity and greater overall strength. Plywood is often used as the top layer of large boxes in place of solid wood, to prevent warping.
Plywood has a smooth, even grain pattern that's ideal for the application of clear lacquers and beautiful, natural wood and colour stain finishes that undoubtedly add a touch of elegance and class to the finished product!
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