Construction

What are various types of plywood available for wooden windows?

There are eight types of plywood for wooden windows:

    • Medium Density Fiber Core Hardwood Plywood (MDF)Medium
    • High Density Overlay Plywood (MDO and HDO)
    • Veneer Core Hardwood Plywood (VC)
    • Lumber Core Plywood
    • Particle Board Core Plywood (PBC)
    • Melamine Plywood
    • High Density Maple/Birch (Baltic Birch or Appleply)
    • Baltic Birch Plywood

 

  • Medium Density Fiber Core Hardwood Plywood (MDF):

MDF is made from fine wood dust mixed with a binder and heat-pressed into panels. Any 3/4" thick sheet purchased over a year ago has exactly the same thickness as the new sheet purchased today. I have also observed that this material is easy to machine either by saw or router and the cut edges are excellent for glue adhesion. The main disadvantage of this product is its weight. A 3/4" x 4 x 8 sheet can weigh as much as 70 to 90 pounds per sheet.

  • Medium and High Density Overlay Plywood (MDO and HDO):

MDO and HDO consist of a core material like laminated fir veneer overlaid with a pressed fiber material. In short this is a typical veneer core plywood (common plywood) with an MDF surface. This gives the best of both the plywoods since the weight is lower than a full MDF but the surface is more stable than a veneer core plywood.

  • Veneer Core Hardwood Plywood (VC):

Veneer Core plywood is made from alternating layers of fir slices (common plywood) with a surface veneer of a finished woodgrain such as oak or maple. This construction gives VC plywood a distinct advantage over others in strength. This is a light weight material and easy to handle.

  • Lumber Core Plywood:

Lumber Core Plywood is manufactured from strips of solid lumber typically basswood. The core is then surfaced followed by veneer layer. This is one of the most expensive plywood and is commonly used for where the edges cannot be concealed or need to be routed. 

  • Particle Board Core Plywood (PBC):

PBC uses a coarser wood dust than MDF. So it has a slightly lower weight but the edges and surfaces are not much smooth and consistent.

  • Melamine Plywood:

Melamine plywood is a thermally fused and resin saturated paper finish over a particle board core. It is highly stain and abrasion resistant. Depending on the grade of melamine, it can be brittle or soft, coarse or smooth. Typically, the higher grades of melamine are more brittle and will chip during machining.

  • High Density Maple/Birch (Baltic Birch or Appleply):

High density plywoods (HDP) typically come in either maple or birch quality. Unlike common plywood HDP has many more plies and uses stronger species than fir. HDP is commonly used for drawer side material as it is strong, stable, and has a moderately attractive edge.

  • Baltic Birch:

Baltic birch is probably the most common type of HDP and uses birch as the underlying layer. This will come in 5 x 5 sheets. For a 1/2" sheet there are typically 7 to 9 plies. Being birch the surface does not finish as nicely as the maple plywood and there is a tendency for splintering at the edge.

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