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Plywood 101: What is Plywood and What Are Its Benefits - Part 1

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 4:49 PM


Hello, readers, and welcome back to our blog. In today’s post, we will begin exploring the wild world of plywood in part one of our short blog series. Behind the gorgeous exterior of maple or birch cabinets is the wood used to construct the cabinet box which holds and protects your belongings—the sides, the top and bottom, the backing, and of course, the all-important shelves. Because our cabinets feature a plywood cabinet box, as well as our premium base cabinets that feature plywood drawers as an option, we thought it would be beneficial to explain what plywood is, how it is made, and its importance as a key aspect of your cabinets. This may help minimize any misconceptions about plywood, while also teaching our customers a little more about the components of their cabinets. Please continue reading below to learn more.

What Is Plywood and How Is It Made?

Plywood is a sheet material made of three or more thin layers of wood— or “ply” or veneers of wood usually thinner than ⅛ inch—bonded together with an adhesive to create flat panels for doors, flat surfaces, and, you guessed it—cabinets. Most of our cabinets feature 7-12 ply layers. These thin layers of maple or birch veneer are actually part of the plywood, as each veneer or ply is glued with its grain at right angles to adjacent layers creating strength and durability. This process of alternating the wood grain to create a structurally stable panel material is called cross-graining and has many key benefits as a durable cabinet material including:

  • Reduces shrinkage and expansion.

  • Minimizes the tendency of the wood to split when screwed or nailed along the edges.

  • Improves strength of the finished piece and increases overall dimensional stability.

  • The overall strength of the plywood panels used in the cabinet box remains consistent in all directions and at all dimensions.

  • Provides superior construction that is designed for longevity.

  • Plywood holds screws, nails, and mechanical fasteners more securely than other materials such as particle board.

  • Plywood panels also efficiently hold glue joints together.

  • Strong construction enables the plywood sheet to resist pulling forces, also allowing it to hold up with side-to-side movement.

  • The cross-graining process improves the plywood sheets compressive strength and its ability to bear weight. Think stone countertops...

  • Because plywood weighs less than particle board, another common panel sheet material, plywood works well for cabinets, particularly wall cabinets.

  • The compressive construction also makes plywood more resistant to dents and scratches.


Benefits of Plywood Cabinet Boxes

With regard to the cabinet hinges and drawer glides, plywood cabinet boxes are a wonderful, durable material for holding onto cabinet hardware. As noted above, plywood sheets hold screws, nails, and mechanical fasteners securely, which is particularly essential for cabinets that feature sliding drawers. Because cabinet drawers also use plywood material in the construction of the drawer bottoms and/or sides, it is crucial to use a durable material that can hold kitchen and bathroom goods of all weights and sizes including utensils and other necessities. Additionally, because drawers are handled so frequently, it is important that the drawer glides remain attached securely to the inner wood material for optimal function, including a smooth  open and close.

This wraps up the first installment of our short blog series focusing on plywood. Be sure to check back next time for part two of our blog series to learn more about plywood and the benefits of this sheet material in cabinet construction. At WoodCabinests4Less, our goal is to provide quality cabinets that work within your budget. Please be sure to visit WoodCabinets4Less to view our extensive line of wood cabinets that is sure to have something for everyone.  

Posted in Wood Cabinets