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What are the different grades of plywood?

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Quick Answer

Plywood is graded as A, B, C, C-plugged or D. Grades are based on plywood strength and the number of knots, patches and imperfections in the wood. An A grade is given to strong plywood with limited imperfections, and the D grade is used for plywood with large knotholes and cracks.

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Grade-A plywood is smooth and can be painted. Grade B is not as strong as grade A; it has some knots and may include minor splits. C-grade plywood includes limited splits, cracks and discoloration. C-plugged-grade plywood is similar to C grade but has smaller splits and cracks. Because grade D is prone to swell and break when it gets wet, it should not be used outside. Most plywood receives one grade for its front panel and a different grade for its back panel.

Finply is Finnish plywood that is more durable than regular graded plywood. It is also more attractive and more expensive. Finply is sometimes combined with aluminum to make furniture. It is typically not graded.

Plywood is an engineered wood product created by gluing together multiple layers of thin wood veneer. Both hardwood and softwood are used to make plywood, including birch, cherry and oak. While strong, plywood is also lightweight.

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