After loosening up in a hot bath, the lumber is mounted on an industrial lathe and "rotary cut" or "peeled" into one continuous veneer. This thin strip is cut, stacked and glued as layers, or “plies,” with the grain direction of each consecutive ply alternating 90 degrees. This cross-hatched assembly adds strength and stability, preventing the plywood from warping like solid wood. The final product is sold in grades A through D, ranging from defect-free with high-quality face veneer to knottier construction-grade wood. To really dig into the details, check out Dung Ngo and Eric Pfeiffer's useful book Bent Ply.
The pictures below illustrate the many uses of this modest material. What do you think? Does plywood deserve a prominent place in the home? Or has our obsession with all things wood gone a step too far?• The design patent for the most famous of plywood products, the Eames LCW. • The de Havilland Mosquito was a British WWII bomber made largely of plywood. When it first took to the skies in 1941 it was the fastest aircraft in the world, earning the nickname "the Wooden Wonder." • Against all odds, woodturner Stephen Gleasner transforms plywood into striking painted vessels. • Furniture designer Brodie Neill's sculptural chaise incorporates a mix of materials including plywood and plastic. • Aussie architects room11's stunning Tasmanian residence utilizes plywood ceilings. Dwell has more house porn here!
Johnny is currently blogging his experience as a student and amateur woodworker. You can keep track of his projects on his blog, Woodlearner.