Hardwood Plywood
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Hardwood Plywood

ANSI/HPVA defines hardwood plywood as “a panel composed of an assembly of layers or plies of veneer or veneers in combination with lumber core, particleboard core, MDF core, hardboard core, or of a special core material joined with an adhesive. Except for special constructions, the grain of alternate plies is at right angles and the face veneer is a hardwood species.”

Nicholson and Cates stocks hardwood plywood in all grades, veneers and core types, ranging in thickness from 1/8" to 1-1/2".  We can also supply you with FSC® certified, Moisture Resistant, Fire Retardant, and No Added Urea Formaldehyde (NAUF) hardwood plywood.  Our products are used in manufacturing fine furniture, commercial fixtures, high-end cabinetry, and architectural millwork.  Common species in stock include birch, maple, red oak and cherry.

Plywood Specialty Products

  • Flexible Plywood
  • Melamine One Side Panels
  • Paperback Veneers
  • Reconstituted Veneers
  • Exotic Species
  • UV Finish

Plywood Core Types

Veneer Core

Veneer Core plywood consists of a center veneer and crossband veneers alternately layered on both sides of the center to the desired thickness producing an odd number of veneers for the core. The weight-bearing strength of Veneer Core plywood is excellent along with its bending strength and screw-hold ability. Veneer Core panels are lighter in weight than any other core type.

MDF Core

Medium Density Fiberboard Core has the most uniform thickness and consistency of any panel core. The face and back veneer are glued directly to the MDF Core without the need for a crossband veneer. The consistency in thickness and flatness makes MDF Core panels the preferred choice for 32mm construction.

Particleboard Core

Particleboard Core panels are constructed similar to MDF Core panels, with the face & back veneers glued directly to the core. Particleboard Core lays flat like MDF, but does not have the screw-hold strength of other cores. Particleboard Core is the least expensive of all core types.

Combination Core

Combination Core consists of a center veneer core and a crossband veneer on both sides of the center with a layer of MDF, particleboard, or hardboard under the face and back veneer. Combination Core can be used when the project calls for consistent flatness and good screw-hold ability, without the weight of a MDF or particleboard core.

RotaryQuarter SlicedRift CutPlain Sliced

HPVA Hardwood Plywood Grading

Characteristics vary according to species, but there is a basic grading structure, which is followed for all species described in the current Voluntary Standard. The most uniform color and grain is at the top of the scale for face grade.

Grade Sub Grade Applications & Descriptions
Face Grade AA The best quality face grade for high-end uses such as architectural paneling, doors and cabinets, case goods, and quality furniture.
A Where AA is not required but excellent appearance is very important as in cabinets and furniture.
B Where the natural characteristics and appearance of the species are desirable.
C,D, and E Provide sound surfaces but allow unlimited colour variation; grades C, D, and E, respectively, allow repairs in increasing size ranges. Applications: where surface will be hidden or a more natural appearance is desired.
Specialty Appearance characteristics are not standardized and are subject to agreement between the individual buyer and seller, as in factory finished wall paneling. Usually, effects such as those created by wormy chestnut, bird’s eye maple, and English brown oak are considered specialty grade.
Back Grade 1,2,3,and 4Back grades are designed by numbers: 1,2,3, and 4. Requirements of grade 1 are most restrictive, with grade 2, 3, and 4 being progressively less restrictive. Grade 1 and 2 provide sound surfaces with all openings in the veneer repaired except for vertical worm holes not larger than 1.6mm (1/16"). Grades 3 and 4 permit some open defects; however, grade 3 can be obtained with repaired splits, joints, bark pockets, laps, and knotholes to achieve a sound surface if specified by the buyer. Grade 4 permits knotholes up to 102mm (4") in diameter and open splits and joints limited by width and length.
Veneer Inner Ply Grade J , K , L, and M Four inner ply grades are described with the following letter designations: J, K, L, and M. Grade J is the most restrictive, allowing minimal size openings. Grades K, L, and M are progressively less restrictive. The least restrictive grade (M) is usually reserved for plies not adjacent to faces and allows round and similar shaped openings not to exceed 63.5mm (2 1/2") and elongated openings up to 25.4mm (1") as visible on the edges or ends of panels.


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