July is Plywood Month

July is Plywood Month
Secret Stash plywood panel concealment, by Yi-Ting Ching.

With June behind us, we’re continuing our monthly materials theme in July with “Plywood Month.”

Actually, it’s “Plywood Month” only because “Manufactured Wood Panel Month” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But it’s all fair game for this theme: MDF, particleboard, OSB, LVL, PSL, and any other alphabet-soup type panel products mostly made from cellulose. In fact, alternative plywood-replacement panel products made from minerals, plastics or other non-biological, recycled and/or recyclable materials could also fit the bill. If you can cut it, fasten it, and use it like plywood, we’re interested in it.

This subject is a real smorgasboard, for us, but as always we’re glad to have your feedback and suggestions for themed content. If there’s something topical you’d like to see, please let us know, below.


12 thoughts on “July is Plywood Month

  1. Aud1073cH says:

    A friend of mine showed me a panel of a kind of plywood that was very nice, and much lighter than normal plywood. He said it was apple ply. I found their website. Looks like good stuff.: http://www.appleply.com/

    Unfortunately the nearest distributor is a whole tank of gas away from me. So I’ll have to have a good project to justify driving out to get some.

  2. Matt K says:

    Wow – that appleply looks really good! I like how the edges can be angled in and there don’t seem to be any voids. The page on the art of appleply lhas some mouthwatering pictures…

  3. Tommy Phillips says:

    Appleply is a brand name; see if you can find a source for “Baltic birch plywood” or perhaps “Finnish birch plywood,” or even “Russian birch plywood.” The layers of veneer are much thinner than standard construction-grade plywood, and the quality control keeps the thickness constant, without voids.

    You can usually find Baltic birch ply at woodworking stores (Rocker, Woodcraft, etc.) because woodworkers really like this stuff for building jigs and fixtures, and scrollers like the thinner varieties for its consistency and stability.

    It generally comes in metric thicknesses, but since plywood in Imperial thicknesses is generally under-sized, 6mm Baltic is probably closer to 1/4″ thick than ordinary plywood labeled 1/4″.

    You can also find it with phenolic on one or both faces. Once again, great for jigs and fixtures, but also a really cool material for work surfaces.

  4. Ben Ehlers says:

    My favorite plywood project so far has been making cajons. They are basically a plywood box that you sit on and play like a drum. One side has a sheet of thin plywood called a tapa. Some wire snares are then run behin the tapa, so that when you hit it, it sounds like a snare. If you hit below the snares, it will sound like a bass kick. It’s like half a drum kit in a highly portable box. Cheap to make and infinitely customizable!

  5. vulpestruments says:

    The body of my droneitar instrument that you featured on this fine website was made from plywood. I cut a board into strips and placed and glued them on their sides to get a nice and easy stripey effect!

  6. John says:

    I’d like to see an article on what mdf is best used for: jigs and templates. I frequently make a master of an item in mdf and then tape/clamp it to the final object and run a top or bottom bearing flush cut bit on it to make my finish piece. Using top and bottom bearing router bits is something that I think many may not know about or use often.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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