Evolving Plywood

The origin of plywood dates back to 1500 BC when Egyptians overlaid their works of art with thin pieces of wood. Veneering provided a means to extend a limited or valuable resource.  That concept still holds value today.  However veneering is just one of the many valuable applications of plywood products.

Plywood has evolved tremendously over its 4000 year history. In the 1800’s, as a result of mechanization, plywood became increasingly affordable.  As a result, plywood has found its way into a wide array of industries.  You can see the use of plywood from construction and structural purposes to highly decorative pieces of art.

As natural resources become less abundant and more expensive the efficiencies of plywood stand out. Countries around the world with large amounts of wood fiber of any characteristics are taking advantage of the efficiencies of plywood.

Similar to what the US did in the mid 1900’s, China began planting fast growing poplar trees to help with erosion, dust and air quality. Because of this additional planting they now have a mature fiber source that is abundant and completely sustainable and has propelled them as the leader in plywood production. Malaysia and Indonesia have realized the advantages of sustainable forestry practices and plantation woods like Falcata and have become major contributors to the plywood global market as well.  The use of strong forestry practices and plantation woods insures a sustainable fiber source for plywood production.

Country Plywood Production (m3) Characteristics
China 44,512,000 Wide Variety
United States 9,680,000 High-end, architectural grade
Indonesia 3,322,000 Thin, Stable
Malaysia 5,268,000 Thin, Stable
Russia 3,304,000 Strong

 

Today plywood is sourced from all over the world where we seek out specific product attributes that are designed to fit customer needs. Plywood allows for a readily available resource to be formed into a highly functional and efficient product. Plywood today is sourced from all over the world taking advantage of any and all qualities they can design into the products. As the global economy continues to develop, embracing the differences of plywood produced from different countries is key. Because of the global supply chain we have developed over our history we are able to embrace a wide variety of plywood from across the world and provide access to these products.

Robert Baldwin
Product Manager, Plywood/Panels

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