May 2004


President's corner

From Peter Wronsky

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Plywood Grades

Top quality cabinet plywood is called "A" or "number 1" grade according to the American National Standards Institute. The splices in Grade "A" face veneer should be matched in some fashion for an attractive appearance. There should be very little contrast in color or grain. Each 4X8 sheet can have no more than a handful of pin knots no larger than ¼ inch. Grade "B" plywood is less expensive and can have more pin knots and up to four larger knots but still no glaring contrasts in color or grain. Grade "C" has unlimited pin knots and up to eight larger knots and might display grain contrasts at the splices. You can also get plywood with a grade "A" face and a grade "B" or "C" back.

If the grade isn't printed on the end of the sheet then ask. Also, it is a bit of work but you can look through the sheets and pick the pieces you like best whatever the grade. Some of the big box stores don't carry the grade "A" material. A more specialized lumber yard does. There are several of these lumberyards listed on the Resources page of this site.

Irritating Woods

The following can cause a rash or breathing problems so wear a dust mask or have a good dust collection system.

Cocobolo, Ebony, Myrtle, Padauck, Rosewood, Satinwood, Teak, Wenge and Western Red Cedar. Rare to run into trouble with Bald Cypress, Balsam, Fir, Beech, Black Locust, Boxwood, Elm, Goncalvo Alves, Mahogany, Maple, Red Oak, Purpleheart, Redwood, Spruce, Walnut and Zebrawood.

Mark Rand