Shutterply, Pine Plywood, Veneered Plywood or Marine Plywood - What is the Difference?
What is the difference between shutterply, pine plywood, veneered plywood and marine plywood?
When looking at plywood options, there are several varieties of plywood to choose from and it can be confusing if you have never bought plywood before. Let's take a look at the types of plywood available and the differences between each one. But first, we look at what plywood is.
WHAT IS PLYWOOD?
One of the strongest board products you can purchase, plywood is manufactured by layering thin wood layers (veneers) together and bonding them under high pressure. It is the orientation of the different layers that gives plywood its strength as each layer is placed in alternating grain directions which, when compared to a board product such as chipboard or particleboard, provides a far better grip for fastenings.
Plywood is an engineered board meaning that it is manufactured using layers of veneer and glue bonded under high pressure to create various thicknesses.
Many assume that plywood is waterproof because it is used in outdoor applications, but this is not the case. Certain types of plywood are manufactured using waterproof glues that make them more durable for exterior use but this does not make the board waterproof. Marine plywood is designed for exterior use but, like all other types of plywood, it must be treated with an appropriate exterior sealer that will protect from the elements. Furthermore, protection must be applied regularly to ensure ongoing protection.
WHAT IS SHUTTERPLY?
Shutterply is the most inexpensive plywood you can purchase and there is a good reason. Shutterply is available at hardware stores and timber merchants since it is a board product that is commonly used in the construction industry. Shutterply is a disposable board that is ideal for creating forms or moulds when casting concrete. The board is strong enough to hold the wet cement in shape until it has time to cure (set hard), after that it is usually disposed of. Shutterply is also used in the packaging industry to form boxes and crates and in the furniture manufacturing industry as a hidden support for various furniture pieces.
Shutterply is not an attractive board product and generally has a rough finish comprising of layers of (cheaper) pressed pine which is why it is better used in projects where it will not be visible.
Comprising of layers of pressed pine and glue, shutterply is an economical board choice that can be used to make furniture where the board will not be visible, e.g. for making furniture that will be upholstered or clad with other materials.
WHAT IS PINE PLYWOOD?
Pine plywood is only marginally more expensive than shutterply but still inexpensive enough to use for making affordable furniture. Unlike shutterply, pine plywood has a single face finished with a thin pine veneer or thin layer of pine that makes it more attractive for furniture plus this veneer finish can be stained. However, keep in mind that this product is still not as appealing as the next two plywood products.
Pine plywood has a single face consisting of pressurised pine that gives it a relatively pleasing finish for affordable furniture manufacture.
WHAT IS VENEERED PLYWOOD?
Whereas pine plywood has a thin veneer of pine, veneered plywood usually has a thin layer of exotic veneer applied that is far more aesthetically pleasing for furniture manufacture. The woods used for a veneer finish include Birch, Maple, Walnut and Oak but the latter two can be hard to source while Birch and Maple are the most common choices.
WHAT IS MARINE PLYWOOD?
Marine plywood is manufactured using water-resistant glues but still requires the application of a sealer or exterior varnish for protection against the elements. Similar to pine or veneered plywood, marine plywood has a veneered face with aesthetic appeal that makes it ideal for the manufacture of furniture and fittings. Marine plywood has the advantage of being excellent for projects indoors or outdoors and, although more expensive than other plywood options, still comes in more affordable and durable than other engineered board products.
Choosing plywood over other board products allows you to finish plywood with wood stain, tinted sealer or varnish plus it can be edged or trimmed in a variety of ways should you dislike the finished look of the raw edges. The one main disadvantage of plywood is that it cannot be excessively sanded as this will remove the thin veneer face of the board.
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