Marine Plywood – The Answer To Plywood Prayers?

 

Marine Plywood.

The answer to Plywood prayers?

No!

Marine Plywood does what it says on the tin, right? You can use it on boats & Marine applications?? Well, kind of…

As clear as mud then?

What is Marine Plywood?

Marine Plywood is manufactured with durable faces & core. It should have very few defects. The glue used to bond the veneers together is an exterior glue. If a sheet of Plywood is going to delaminate then its usually because moisture penetrates into the board through defects such as core gaps & poor quality face veneers which are repaired with filler. Properly manufactured Marine Plywood has basically near zero of these defects. Marine Plywood should perform for long periods in humid & wet conditions. Its construction should allow it to be used in situations where it is exposed to moisture for long periods & not delaminate. This does not mean you should use Marine Plywood for the hull of your yacht!

The last mill that produced Marine Plywood in the UK closed about 20 years ago. It closed because the Plywood it manufactured was too expensive. The fact that it was some of the best Plywood ever made couldn’t save it.

Cheaper Marine Plywood was available in the UK from Malaysia & Indonesia. That Plywood is what you will get if you buy a sheet from your local timber merchant today. It’s not in the same league as far as quality goes compared to the old UK manufactured Marine Plywood. However, you can buy a sheet of 18mm Malay/Indo Marine Plywood today for £50 approx whereas UK Marine Plywood was £100+ 20 years ago.

Should I use Marine Plywood?

It depends on the end use of course, but for most applications the next grade down will do. Ask for Malaysian or Indonesian Hardwood Plywood that is described as BB/CC Far Eastern Plywood. Also make sure it complies to the old WBP standard(Water & Boil Proof) or EN314-2 Bond Class 3.

Last but not least always seal the board with a spirit based preservative. Most UK importers will not entertain any claims on delaminating plywood that has not been sealed before use. This even applies to Marine Plywood.

 

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