How To Order Custom Plywood

When you combine all the plywood specifications GL Veneer can meet, the permutations result in over 100,000 available Custom Plywood products. But don’t worry — getting exactly what you want isn’t hard. It just takes a couple of minutes to think through the parameters your job calls for. And we’re happy to walk you through it.

Think of it as Making a Sandwich

In manufacturing laminated Custom Plywood, we call the panels “sandwiches,” each requiring a “Face”/“Core”/“Back” configuration.

The Face: The front or “hero” surface of your panel – the first “piece of bread – is the side that will be seen exclusively (one-sided panel) or most prominently (two-side panel) in your final project design.

The Core: The raw substrate panel, the “meat” of your sandwich, that your veneer sheets are laminated onto.

The Back: The second “piece of bread” in the sandwich, the surface that might or might not be seen in your completed project, depending on your design. However, even if the Back will never be seen, like on one-sided wall panels, it still needs to be laminated to ensure the structural integrity of your Custom Plywood.

With that basic understanding, here’s a working list of the specs we’ll help you consider for each element of your “sandwich”:

Face Species

The wood veneer sheet that’s laminated to the Face side of the Core to create the “hero” surface of your Custom Plywood.

  • Species
  • Grain – Birdseye, Block Mottle, Brookside, Burl, Clear, Curly, Echowood, Figured, Flaky, Linea, Pommele, Quilted, Reconstituted, Rustic, Swirl, Veritcal, Wormy
  • Cut – Crotch, Paint Grade, Plain Sliced (PS), Plank, Quarter Cut (QTR), Rift, Rotary, Whole Piece
  • Grade – A (top grade), B (same species, relaxed grade), 1 (same species, no grade spec at all), 3 (any species, “mill option,” relaxed grade)
  • Matching – Book Match, Slip Match, Plank Match, Slip-and-Swing Match
  • Sequencing – Side Match, End Match, Stack Match
  • Veneer Backer – Not be confused with the Back of the Custom Plywood, a thin backing on the veneer sheet itself … 10-mil, 20-mil, 2-ply (Wood on Wood), PSA (Pressure Sensitive Adhesive)

Plywood Core

The raw substrate material your wood veneer sheets are laminated onto to create your finished Custom Plywood.

  • Type – MDF, Particle Board, Veneer Core, Combination Core
  • Size (Standard) – 4’x8’, 4’x10’, 4’x12’ … 5’x8’, 5’x10’, 5’x12’
  • Size (Custom) – Any cut-to-size dimensions
  • Thickness – ¾”, ⅝”, ½”, 1 ⅛”, ⅜”, 5/16”, ¼”, ⅛”, Custom

Back Species

The wood veneer sheet that’s laminated to the Back of the Core — whether it will be visible in your finished project, like kitchen cabinets (two-sided), or not, like wall panels (one-sided).

  • Two-Sided (Match) – The exact same wood veneer sheet specs as the Face
  • Two-Sided (Budget) – Same wood veneer species as the Face, but lower grade/cost specs
  • One-Sided – Grade “3” mill option backer material
  • Unique Spec – Totally different wood veneer sheet specs from the Face

Material Grade Configurations

To create a quick, shorthand definition of the material grade makeup for both the Face and Back, we use a letter and number configuration to indicate each side, separated by a slash. The grades are:

“A” … top grade – species, cut, figure, texture
“B” … relaxed grade – same species, cut, figure, texture
“1” … same species, no grade spec at all
“3” … any species, “mill option,” relaxed grade

Based on how you’ll be using your Custom Plywood – two-sided or one-sided – you first indicate your Face material grade. Then a “slash.” Followed by your Back material grade. To be sure, there can be quite a few conceivable configurations, including: AA/AA, A/A, A/1, A/3, AA/B, A/B, B/B, B/1, and B/3. But a vast majority of projects follow the configurations defined by these typical examples:

Custom Kitchen Cabinets: A/A
Both the Face and Back – exterior and interior of cabinets – will be equally prominent and visually impactful. So, spec each side of your two-sided Plywood with the same top-grade material: A/A.

Shelving or Premium Furniture : A/B
A prominent, impactful Face and minimally visible Back, but you still want the Back to match the Face — though quality and cost don’t need to. For this type of two-sided Plywood, spec the same wood veneer species for both Face and Back for a visual match, but a more cost-effective, relaxed grade for the Back: A/B.

Premium, Architectural Wood Paneling: A/3
A stunningly beautiful Face for a prominent wall and a Back you’ll never see once your Custom Plywood is installed. Spec the Face of your one-sided Plywood with a top-grade material of choice, but a minimally priced, nondescript, “mill option” species and relaxed grade for the Back: A/3.

Again, these are just some common examples to help you consider the configuration for your order. Your project may call for something different that might not be so obvious to configure. No problem, we’re here to help — call anytime.

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