Plywood Boards is a material manufactured from thin layers or “plies” of wood veneer that are glued together with adjacent layers having their wood grain rotated up to 90 degrees to one another

All plywoods bind resin and wood fibre sheets (cellulose cells are long, strong and thin) to form a composite material. This alternation of the grain is called cross-graining and has several important benefits: it reduces the tendency of wood to split when nailed at the edges; it reduces expansion and shrinkage, providing improved dimensional stability; and it makes the strength of the panel consistent across all directions. There is usually an odd number of plies, so that the sheet is balanced—this reduces warping. Because plywood is bonded with grains running against one another and with an odd number of composite parts, it has high stiffness perpendicular to the grain direction of the surface ply.


The ancient Egyptians and Greeks cut wood thinly and glued it together in layers with the grain in perpendicular directions as fine wood was in short supply. This is believed to have been done purely for cosmetic and economical purposes but it turned out to be a great alternative to pure wood as it reduced flex, making it a versatile building material. Artists use plywood as a support for easel paintings to replace traditional canvas or cardboard. Ready-made artist boards for oil painting in three-layered plywood (3-ply) were produced and sold in New York as early as 1880

Smaller, thinner, and lower quality plywoods may only have their plies (layers) arranged at right angles to each other. Some better-quality plywood products will by design have five plies in steps of 45 degrees (0, 45, 90, 135, and 180 degrees), giving strength in multiple axes.

The word ply derives from the French verb plier “to fold”, from the Latin verb plico, from the ancient Greek verb πλέκω.

Structural characteristics

A typical plywood panel has face veneers of a higher grade than the core veneers. The principal function of the core layers is to increase the separation between the outer layers where the bending stresses are highest, thus increasing the panel’s resistance to bending. As a result, thicker panels can span greater distances under the same loads. In bending, the maximum stress occurs in the outermost layers, one in tension, the other in compression. Bending stress decreases from the maximum at the face layers to nearly zero at the central layer. Shear stress, by contrast, is higher in the center of the panel, and at the outer fibres. Within Europe basic plywood can be divided into three main categories: birch plywood (density approx. 680 kg/m3), mixed plywood (density approx. 620 kg/m3) and conifer plywoods (density 460–520 kg/m3) Read more