Working with plywood, as with many other things in life, means dealing with some special vocabulary. If you’re new to woodworking or even new to working with plywood, you may not know these terms. Without them, you won’t necessarily know what you’re dealing with.
 
– 𝗕𝗮𝗰𝗸 – plywood side with the lower face grade, normally used as the back, when installed
– 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗲 – inner layers of the plywood, with grain perpendicular to the face
– 𝗖𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀𝗯𝗮𝗿 – manufacturing defect where a piece of face veneer runs perpendicular to the board’s length
– 𝗖𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀𝗯𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 – orientation of successive veneer layers, placing them perpendicular to the adjacent layers of the plywood
– 𝗖𝘂𝘁 – refers to how the veneer is made; either rotary cut or sliced
– 𝗗𝗲𝗹𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 – failure of plywood panels, where the adhesive used to attach the plys fails, usually due to water
– 𝗙𝗮𝗰𝗲 – the side of the plywood with the higher grade finish
– 𝗚𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗲 – system by which the quality of plywood’s surfaces are identified
– 𝗚𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻 – growth pattern of wood fibers
– 𝗚𝘂𝗺 𝗦𝗽𝗼𝘁𝘀 – sap or resin leftover on wood veneer from milling
– 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘄𝗼𝗼𝗱 – any wood that comes from a deciduous tree (one whose leaves fall off) – has nothing to do with the wood’s density
– 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘁𝘄𝗼𝗼𝗱 – the center of the log, below the sapwood; also the strongest part of the log
– 𝗞𝗻𝗼𝘁 – place on a log where a branch grew out
– 𝗢𝗽𝗲𝗻 𝗞𝗻𝗼𝘁 – the knot has separated from the wood around it, leaving a hole
– 𝗣𝗶𝗻 𝗞𝗻𝗼𝘁 – small knots, less than ¼” in diameter
– 𝗦𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗱 𝗞𝗻𝗼𝘁 – a knot that has not separated from the wood surrounding it
– 𝗞𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗲 – a hole or void in lumber, where a knot has come out
– 𝗟𝗮𝗽 – place where two pieces of veneer are laid next to each other in the same ply
– 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗣𝗹𝘆𝘄𝗼𝗼𝗱 – high quality plywood made with waterproof glue and without any voids
– 𝗠𝗗𝗙 (𝗠𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘂𝗺 𝗗𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗙𝗶𝗯𝗲𝗿𝗯𝗼𝗮𝗿𝗱) – engineered plywood product made of highly compressed, pressure cooked wood fibers, combined with synthetic resin
– 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗸 – discoloration of hardwood
– 𝗢𝘅𝗶𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 – browning, graying or yellowing caused by exposure to the elements
– 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗹𝗲𝗯𝗼𝗮𝗿𝗱 – engineered wood product manufactured from small wood particles (sawdust) with a bonding resin – is not the same as MDF, which is a higher grade product
– 𝗣𝗮𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝘀 – material placed on defects in face veneers to repair voids, etc.
– 𝗣𝗹𝘆 – single layer of wood veneer in a plywood product
– 𝗣𝗹𝘆𝘄𝗼𝗼𝗱 – originally referred to an engineered wood product, made by laminating several plys of wood veneer perpendicular to each other. The definition has now been expanded to include all engineered wood sheet products
– 𝗥𝗼𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗖𝘂𝘁 – process by which veneer is peeled off a log as one continuous sheet on a lathe
– 𝗦𝗮𝗽𝘄𝗼𝗼𝗱 – outer layers of living wood, just below the bark; normally not used in plywood
– 𝗦𝗽𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘀 – cracks in the wood veneer, running parallel to the wood grain
– 𝗩𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗿 – sliced or peeled layer of thin wood, used to make plywood.