Advantages of Plywood

1. Good uniform strength

Plywood is a strong material, especially if its made from strong woods (hardwoods) instead of the weaker woods (softwoods). The image above helps illustrate where this strength comes from. The darker lines (or the tear lines) that you see on the face of the plywood is called the wood grain pattern.

It is quite easy to tear an individual veneer along the grain, and equally difficult to tear it across the grain. This is why, whilst making plywood the layers are arranged such that the grain pattern alternates in each layer, and this is what makes plywood sheets such a strong material.

2. Can be used for making interior home furniture as well as exterior furniture.

Plywood is available in different grades such as MR grade (moisture resistant) for interior use, and BWR grade (boiling water resistant) for exterior use. So furniture that is likely to get wet, such as that in the kitchen or the garden can be made from BWR Water-proof grade plywood, while elsewhere such as in the living room or bedroom, the cheaper MR grade plywood can be used. This is a distinct advantage over cheaper materials such as Particle board which ismeant for indoor use only.

3. Available in large sizes compared to solid wood

Its very easy to get a nice looking uniformly thick 18 mm plywood sheet of size 8'x4' (8 feet x 4 feet) from the market, but quite impractical to get solid flat wood of such a size (which tree could be cut and how?). According to me, this is the most significant benefit that plywood offers compared to solid wood, and that's the reason it became so popular since its discovery. These large sized engineered plywood sheets allow for a variety of applications that would be difficult to achieve using solid wood.

4. Economical use of wood by mixing various woods together

Some woods are prized for their beauty (teak, oak etc.) but are also costly. The veneers of such woods can be used to form the surface layer of the plywood, while the inner layers could be composed of other strong but cheaper woods. Such a mix and match is possible while constructing plywood and the financial benefits accrued from this, can be passed on to the end consumer.

5. Available in varieties such as flexible plywood.

Several interesting varieties have now come up in plywood. One of them is flexible plywood (also known as bendy ply). It can be rolled up or bent to form curved surfaces and allows for more applications in furniture and home decor.

6. Lesser wastage of wood

In comparison with the process of acquiring solid wood blocks, the plywood making process has less wastage of material (tree logs), since both the rotary cut and slice cut methods of making veneers do not produce too much waste. So we can utilize more part of the tree logs in this way.

7. Versatile material that has many applications.

Plywood sheets not only find their way into our homes, by becoming a part of our furniture, but they also have several industrial and structural applications. e.g. Concrete shuttering plywood, Marine plywood for boat-making etc.

8. Durable material

Plywood furniture made from good quality hardwood (such as teak or gurjan wood) is quite durable and lasts many long years. Not as long as solid wood pieces, but much much better compared to the cheaper Particle board furniture, which eventually needs to be replaced.

9. Less costly compared to solid wood

Solid wood is better, because its a natural product, but its also very costly. Plywood costs lesser in comparison. So a reasonable trade-off for most people is to opt for decent quality plywood to meet their furniture requirements.