A detailed Guide, Plybooard details, their types, their application, Plyboard prices, Plyboard Grades, Plyboard sizes and thickness, Plyboard v/s Plywood-a comparison.
Many of us mistakenly take Plyboard as plywood. What I can tell you is it’s not plywood nor a substitute for it. Blockboards may look like plywood but it is quite different from it. You can take it as a complementary product to the plywood.
FYI Plyboards are actually called Blockboards as it is made up of wooden blocks and some are even mentioned as blockboard plywood or plywood board.
Why we are discussing plyboards/blockboards here as they are used hugely in woodworking like furniture making and interior designing, we as a firm delivered multiple projects and what I observed over the years is many people don’t know its application or usage or find it challenging to purchase the right quality.
Tons of plyboard sheets are sold every year by multiple manufacturers but most of them are from the unorganized sector. That means low quality which in turn comes up with low-quality woodwork.
so, therefore let’s discuss the blockboard in detail so that it can help you before purchasing and plan your interior design accordingly.
what is a Plyboard?
Plyboards or Blockboards, as the name suggests are made of solid wooden blocks of wooden battens sandwiched between wood veneers using glue with high pressure and temperature. Pine blockboards made up of pine wooden battens are considered the best.
*Note-Many people think plyboard and blockboard are different. No, they are the same. In this article, we are using both the name blockboard and plyboard.
As you can see in the above picture there are 5 layers of each plyboard- 2pc of face veneers, 2pc of core veneers, and most crucial the wooden blocks. Mostly 19mm plyboards are used in regular woodwork. There are 2 other variations like 16mm and 25mm.
Below I am providing you with the details of a good quality plyboard.
Face Veneer of plyboard- There are 2 pieces of face veneers used for the top and bottom layers mostly made from hardwood and thickness varies from 0.3mm to 0.5mm.
Core veneers of a blockboard- 2pc of core veneer of hardwood as shown in the above picture and the thickness is from 2mm to 3mm.
Inner Wooden blocks of a blockboard- Generally the thickness of 14mm wooden blocks are used for a 19mm blockboard. It’s 20mm for 25mm blockboards and 10 to 11mm for 16mm blockboards. premium quality blockboard used pine. Hardwood is another good option.
Side frame wooden blocks- There are 2 wooden block frames wide 3 inches each are used on the both longer side of the blockboards. unlike inner wooden blocks both frames are a little wider but the thickness same as the inner blocks.
Plyboard usage or applications
Blockboards or plyboards are generally used for vertical applications in various woodwork, like doors, wall cladding, or paneling and shutter making for various furniture, particularly for cupboards or wardrobes.
Blockboards are lighter in comparison to plywood. Plywood is strong and stiff, hence creating tension at corners when used vertically (especially when used for shutters more than 5 feet), and bends gradually. Whereas in blockboards the tension is divided between the wooden blocks (as they are not interconnected naturally) and hence prevents bending. It has a higher load-bearing strength when used vertically.
*Note- This is a great material for shutters and doors but doesn’t use it for a structure as it is not as stronger as plywood. Use lighter and best-quality blockboard made of pine wood. Remember when using it with laminate paste laminate both sides simultaneously.
There are many types of plywood but there are a couple of types of plyboard. I think the reason is, that the usability of plyboard is very less in comparison to plywood and the other reason is the unavailability of varieties of lighter woods.
You can find many blockboards from unorganized sectors which truly do not belongs to any type. They are mostly used for cheap woods like Poplar or Rubberwood that are not going to fulfill any of your purposes.
So, basically, there are 2 types of plyboard
- Pine Plyboards
- Hardwood Plyboards
Pine blockboards or plyboards are considered the best. They are lighter and strong hence great for doors and shutters. Doors and shutters and especially swing doors completely depend upon the hinges. Heavy doors create pressure on hinges and finally, the alignment got hampered. So due to the light weight of pine doors, it goes well with the hinges and remains intact for years.
For a high-quality blockboard or plyboard, pines are imported from the USA, Canada, and New Zealand all around the globe as they have the least no of dead knots. In India, there is good quality pine available in Meghalaya state. But due to continuous logging the state Govt. has imposed restrictions. For a better plyboard, Pine is kiln-seasoned (A artificial drying process particularly used for reducing the moisture content from various timber). So in absence of moisture make it hard, and durable, making it resistant to various fungus and insects and also enduring extreme climatic changes better.
*Note- Pine is the best quality plyboard available in the market. it may be a little costlier than that other plyboards but provides complete value for money. If you are searching for wardrobe shutters larger than 5 feet then this one is the best you can opt for. But make sure you are purchasing a pure pine plyboard or you can go with any well-known brand.
If you compare quality then hardwood plyboards are not bad. The plywood made from hardwood is one of the best we have. But the thing is not as good as pine due to its heavy weight. To a large extent, Eucalyptus is used for hardwood plyboards.
Due to being heavier in nature, they put extreme pressure on hinges when used for doors or shutters and the overall alignment may get hampered. So it’s quite more prone to bending than that pine plyboards. Otherwise, it has no such disadvantages.
*Note- Hardwood plyboards are good but not the best ones to opt for. For big doors, it’s always good to prefer pine plyboard. You can use hardwood plyboards for smaller shutters such as less than 5 feet.
Poor Quality Plyboards- Let’s discuss some other types of plyboards available in the market from the unorganized sector. They are mainly made from poor or cheap quality woods like poplar or rubberwood. I suggest you not go for this kind of plyboard. They are used for commercial purposes and hardly last a couple of years. They may be sold as MR grade tags or BWR tags and some may with IS-710 BWP tags. Some manufacturers from the unorganized sector use pine in the 2 side frames as it is visible to the outer side and generally here they used very cheaper woods for the inner blocks for unethical financial gains.
*Note- I will suggest you not go for this kind of plyboard. You can choose BWR grade plywood but compromising with plyboard may harm your furniture greatly as it is used for shutters or doors and is visible outside.
Comparison between various types of Plyboards
I think a comparison can help you to understand various blockboards easily.
So let’s discuss some key points
|Pine Plyboards||Hardwood Plyboards||Poor Quality Plyboards|
|Seasoning||Kiln Seasoned||Kiln Seasoned||Sun Dried/No Seasoning|
|Very Low||High||Very High|
|Price in INR|
(In sq ft)
According to the Bureau of Indian Standards(BIS), there are 2 grades of blackboard or plyboard
- BWP Plyboards (Boiling waterproof)
- MR Plyboards (Moisture Resistance)
Except for duplicates, all the blockboards available in India come under the certification of IS 1659. There are some sellers selling it under the BWR grade, but in actuality, they are MR-grade plyboards.
Quality pine wood and Hardwood blockboards come under BWP grade and are used for interior work. The resin used for BWP-grade blockboards is Phenol Formaldehyde.
The wood used for MR grade blockboards is mostly popular or rubberwood. They are used only for commercial purposes and are not advisable for home woodwork at all.
The properties and details of all types of blockboards are mentioned in the above table.
Plyboard Size and Thickness
There are various sizes of blockboard available like 8ft x 4ft, 8ft x 3ft, 7ft x 4ft, 7ft x 3ft, 6ft x 4ft, 6ft x 3ft, 5ft x 4ft, 5ft x 3ft, etc. Available in various sizes helps you to select any size according to your usage and minimize your wastage.
Plyboard comes in 16mm, 19mm, or 25mm thicknesses. Plyboards are only used for shutters or doors so you can’t find various thicknesses like plywood. So it comes in thicknesses that are required for a furniture shutter. 19mm blockboards are mostly used in furniture shutters.
The price of various types of blockboards or plyboards are depending on the quality of the wood as discussed in the above table.
BWP pine plyboard price- Per square foot starts from Rs120/-
BWP Hardwood Plyboard Price- Per square foot starts from Rs105/-
MR blockboard price- Per square foot starts from Rs45/-
*Note- The above prices are approximate values and are applicable only in India. They may vary somehow from market to market.
Plyboard v/s Plywood
People often find it difficult to differentiate between plyboard and plywood. So let’s discuss some points in the below table so that you will know them properly and use them accordingly.
|Consists of multiple wooden blocks.||Consists of multiple wood veneers.|
|Used only for vertical applications. such as paneling, wall cladding,|
and shutters and doors of various furniture.
|Used mainly for horizontal purposes and limited vertical applications,|
such as furniture structures, cabinets, shelves, etc.
|Lightweight.||Heavier than the blockboards.|
|Available with limited thicknesses, like 16mm, 19mm, and 25mm.||Available with various thicknesses from 3mm to 25mm.|
|Very Minimum requirement for woodwork.||Heavily required for woodworking.|
|Not strong as plywood.||Very strong as stiff.|
|Not so many varieties are available.||Available in multiple varieties.|
|A good quality blackboard depends upon good quality pine wood.||So many types of wood are used.|
|Do not bend easily||Bend when used vertically such as shutters.|
|Very fewer options for finishing. The upper face veneers|
do not allow direct polish or paint
|Available with multiple face veneers,|
so there are many options for finishing.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Plyboard
Let’s discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of a blockboard for a better understanding.
|Advantages of Plyboard||Disadvantages of Plyboard|
|Do not bend easily.||Only used for furniture shutter makes.|
|Dimensionally stable.||Availability of Limited thickness|
|Lighter weight in comparison to plywood.||Not versatile as plywood|
|The best material for furniture shutters.||Difficult to judge its quality.|
|Easily available.||Depends upon the imported pine wood.|
Can I use a plyboard for the cabinets?
Plyboards are only used for vertical applications such as furniture shutters and doors as they are lighter and do not bend easily. They are not as much strong as plywood to be used for structures or horizontal applications. so you can make cabinets in proper plywood and shutters with plyboard
How can I find a good-quality blockboard?
A good quality pine blockboard is the best you can use for your woodwork. You can go for a well-known brand to get a better one.
For your interior woodwork, you should go with the right combination of plywood and plyboard. Plyboard is the best and most durable option for furniture shutters. You can go with a blockboard when your shutter is more than 5 feet in height and you can use plywood for less than 5 feet. I will suggest you go with a fine-quality pine blockboard of a reputed brand.
Yes, there are some other substitutes for blockboards for furniture shutters like HDF and MDF. These substitutes are used for shutters to get a better finishing due to their linear surface and uniform thickness and also go with various finishing like paint and all. They are cheaper than blockboards but not strong, or durable as it is. They also lack various features like low screw holding strength, bend easily, unavailability of various sizes, and more.
If you are looking for strong and durable furniture then blockboards or plyboards are the best options you have.