Working with Plywood

Man's Hand with Tape Measure Nails and Hammer on Wood

Woodworkers all over the world are always on the lookout for wood that’s strong, inexpensive, and easy to work with. Plywood, which is made from several layers of wood veneer, is all three. Like other specialty woods, plywood works ideally when handled and installed properly. Here’s a brief guide to successfully working with plywood:


The success of your building project can be determined the moment you select which plywood to buy. For example, softwood plywood is typically better suited for home building, while hardwood plywood lends itself well to smaller, more heavy-duty projects. Particle board, which is basically an amalgamation of sawdust and wood chips, is best used for furniture.  


Since glue is an important component of plywood, it tends to dull blades very quickly. Before you try to cut your plywood, it’s best to ask a lumber professional about special plywood blades. In order to avoid splintering, you should use a sharp knife to make a preliminary cut, and then saw the plywood panel with the outside face up.


After you cut your plywood into all the right shapes, you’ll then need to take special care with screws and nails. Generally speaking, the length of your nails and screws should be about three times the thickness of the plywood. Before you drive a screw through plywood, you should consider drilling a small pilot hole.   


It helps to keep the finishing process in mind when selecting your plywood. If you plan on using a wood stain, select a smooth type of plywood so that the stain may be applied evenly. If your plywood is going to be used in an outdoor fixture, apply a very strong sealer in order to better protect it against the elements.  

If you have any questions about selecting and working with plywood, contact Southern Lumber today. We offer many kinds of plywood and solid wood for decks, outdoor living projects, vanities, cabinetry, and whatever else you may be working on. For more information, call us today at (408) 297-9663.

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