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What Is Plywood Furniture?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2016
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Plywood furniture is any type of furniture made from plywood, which is a prefabricated material made up of thin layers, or veneers, of wood. This type of furniture will be more resistant to warping, cracking, and other damage to which wood tends to be susceptible, and plywood furniture will often have a beautiful appearance. The layers of wood allow for the raw materials to be bent or shaped easily, and plywood is generally quite inexpensive when compared to hardwoods. Furniture makers will often use plywood on furniture designs to keep the cost down without sacrificing strength or visual appeal.

Plywood can be used to create just about any type of furniture, though chairs and tables are the most common. Plywood furniture may also include bed headboards, benches, work stands, stools, and so on. It is not uncommon to find plywood book shelves and bookcases, or even doors or cabinets. The applications are seemingly endless, though for load-bearing structures, plywood may not be the best option. Hardwoods are generally preferred over the layered plywood, though plywood does not necessarily need to be discounted as an option.

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The flexibility of plywood allows furniture makers to experiment with the shapes and lines of plywood furniture. Chairs and tables often feature curves and scoops that give the pieces a distinct look; the layers of the plywood veneer can also give the furniture a distinctive appearance, as the individual layers can be exposed to create a unique visual appeal. The material is very easy to work with during the manufacturing process, meaning furniture makers are often granted the flexibility to experiment with different designs. The low cost of plywood also means the investment in raw materials is lower, further encouraging experimentation.

The outermost veneer of plywood used for plywood furniture is usually made from a higher grade of wood than the inner layers. The outermost layer is most visible, so builders tend to place more attractive woods on the outermost layer, even if this layer of wood is less flexible or durable than the inner layers. Much of the stress of bending will be placed on the inner layers anyway, so the flexibility of the outer layer is less crucial. Countless varieties of wood can be used for the outermost layer of veneer, though birch is a popular choice among furniture makers. Plywood with an attractive outer veneer may be slightly more expensive than other types of plywood.

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