Wood Species Used For Making Plywood

Only a portion of wood can be used for manufacturing plywood. Some are not good for veneer peeling, some are too expensive, some may impair the bonding strength.

Literally every kind of timber log can be used for producing veneers after certain processing. However, not all these veneers can be used to produce good quality plywood that is up to the industry standard.

There are hundreds kinds of wood that can be used to make plywood in China. The wood species are categorized by areas as below.


Chinese Grown Wood For Plywood Production

Northeast China Species

Chinese Ash, Basswood, Birch, Acer pictum subsp. mono, Japanese Xylosma, Alder, Poplar

Middle and Eastern China Species

Mason Pine, Maple (Pterocarya stenoptera), Liquidambar formosana, Phoebe zhennan

Southwest China

Mason Pine, Birch, Alder

North Western China

Birch, Basswood, Mono Maple


Imported Wood As Plywood Material

China is the world’s largest importer of timber and logs. A wide range of veneer used in Chinese plywood production are actually sourced from tropical countries, north america, europe and russia.

Below imported wood species are now widely used in plywood manufacturing.

Ash, Luan, Meranti, Apiton, Keruing, Burma Teak, Okoume, Meranti, Bintangor, Sapelle, American Black Walnut, Red Oak, White Oak, Birch, Radiata Pine, Eucalyptus.


Why Some Wood Can Not Make Plywood?

There are many reasons to explain this question for different wood.

Below we will list some of the main reasons explaining why they can not make plywood.

  • Not easy to slice or peel because of high density, etc.
  • Easy to get try and warp after peeling
  • Hurting the veneer peeling machine
  • Chemicals in wood may impair the bonding strength (Too alkaline, may affect the curing of urea-formaldehyde glue)
  • Logs not in good shape for veneer peeling
  • Too expensive and have other better uses (For example, Korea Pine makes good construction timber but makes really bad plywood, with too many knots and very expensive price)
  • Too many dead knots in big size
  • Discoloration of face veneers
  • Easy to be attacked by fungus
  • Wood becomes weaker after fibers are cut off by veneer peeler

Wood that can be used for plywood production is are precious resources. When there is not enough plantations the plywood industry will be delayed by the material supply.

So it is important to grow more trees for the industry. More and more techniques in the growing of trees are required.

Populus euramevicana grown in China
Populus euramevicana, Italian Poplar Grown in China

In the past years, poplar was not considered a good material for plywood production. Poplar plywood was rare in the old days. Thanks to the new technologies, the veneer peeling machine can peel the poplar logs with a different direction. Poplar veneers were produced successfully. Nowadays it is becoming the number one material for Chinese plywood.

Larch pine in northeast China
Larch Pine is Northeast China

Larch pine in Northeast China is now considered a good material for making plywood. China imported poplar species from Italia and the new species is making progress in supplying to the industry.

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