Plywood is an engineered wood panel composed of a number of thin veneer layers called “plies”. The word “ply” means a “layer, fold, or thickness, as of cloth, wood, yarn, etc.” originating from the Latin word “plicāre”[1]. The use of plywood dates back thousands of years with the Greek and Romans using it for furniture. Its popularity gained momentum when water resistant resins were introduced to its manufacture in the 1930s because its integrity and longevity for construction purposes increased[2].

To produce plywood thin layers of wood are bonded together with a strong adhesive. Each layer is laid at a 90 degree rotation to the previous layer’s grain, utilising the superior strength and stiffness along the grain. Timber is about 30 times weaker across the grain than along its grain direction, something which is obvious when you use an axe to split wood[3].

Plywood has many advantages over other building materials including:

  • No natural split line due to its cross-graining
  • Reduced tendency to split when nailed at the edges
  • Less expansion and shrinkage
  • Better dimensional stability
  • High strength and stiffness to weight ratio
  • Resistance to concentrated loads
  • High resilience and impact resistance
  • Good thermal insulator
  • Reflects sound so can enhance acoustics or deflect traffic noise
  • Performs well when exposed to chemicals and has low vapour permeance
  • Easy to work with and machine
  • Appearance grade plywood is aesthetically pleasing.


Plywood is commonly used for building in both residential and commercial construction due to its many attractive qualities. Mainly plywood is used for walls and ceilings, but it can also be used for cladding, flooring or furniture. There are a number of plywood variants on the market, each with their own distinct purposes.

Matilda Veneer has a range of plywood products including: Lite Ply, Fireply and Hoop Pine Plywood. We are one of the only manufacturers of appearance-grade Hoop Pine plywood in the world. This plywood product can give a modern finish to almost any space. Matilda Lite Ply is a unique, appearance-grade lightweight plywood ideal for use in projects where weight or cost are key considerations. Whilst our Fireply product is a lightweight, fire-retardant plywood ideal for interior cladding use in commercial and residential buildings where the highest fire resistance is required.

If you are considering plywood for your next project, get in touch and we will happily talk you through the options for your project.


[1] http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/ply_1

[2] http://www.ewp.asn.au/library/downloads/ewpaa_plywood_manufacture.pdf

[3] http://www.ewp.asn.au/library/downloads/ewpaa_plywood_manufacture.pdf