From the tree to works of art: A guide to understanding the hardwood plywood standard
An introduction from Ang Schramm
Trees are amazing. They provide us with shelter, warm our hearths, and shade us
from the heat of the summer sun. But they also give us far more as they offer up
their inner distinctiveness to serve us as one of the most functional and attractive
of all materials for quality kitchen and bath cabinetry, fine furniture, architectural
millwork, store fixtures, and wall furnishings, to name just a few.
Wood is a unique material for decorative applications in that by its very nature
no two pieces can ever be exactly alike. Its appearance may be consistent for a
given species within a broad and generalized range, but even wood from the same
tree can vary in aesthetics and physical properties. Growth conditions such as geography
and climate, availability of water and nutrients, adverse weather, genetics, pestilence,
injury, competition for space, bacterial or viral infection, the presence of extraneous
compounds contributing to the color of heartwood, the lighter color of sapwood,
and the presence of limbs and their relationship to figure and knots, are but a
few of the factors contributing to this phenomenon.
It is the purpose of this publication to help us give some order to this assortment
of characteristics in a practical manner with an overview of the industry standard
grading tables and other content, including veneer production, core options, and
plywood manufacture. With a sound understanding of the inherent individuality of
trees, we have the rare opportunity to make every project or job a signature work
Our goal is to provide this information in a way that is easy to understand and
that will give us a valuable tool to help enhance communication and ensure that
all your expectations are met when you choose Columbia Forest Products' PureBond®
Director of Technical Services
Author of A Complete Guide to Hardwood Plywood and
Past Panel Products Director HPVA
Past Chair HPVA Technical Committee
Director and Instructor Columbia Forest Products University
The photographs on this site are presented as examples only, and are not intended
to represent or predict in any form the actual appearance of any grade or species.
No range of color, grain, or other natural characteristics can be fully depicted
in any single photograph or collection of photographs, and no representation or
guarantee of appearance of any grade or species is made with respect to any such
photograph contained herein.
All rotary cut veneers shown provided by Columbia Forest Products' Hardwood Veneer
Special thanks to Veneer Tech, Inc for the sliced veneers shown on this site.