Why are plywood layers in opposite directions?

Grain Direction In Plywood Manufacturing


When answering this question we need to look at the requirements of plywood. In nearly all cases there is a need for rigidity and strength from plywood no matter the species or its application.


Plywood is constructed from three or more thin sheets of ply, stacked, glued and compressed together under a high heat to bond. During this manufacturing process the mills will lay the grain of the ply sheets in alternating directions. In higher quality plywood like that supplied by Global Panel Products, the grain is laid running at a right angles (45 degrees) to the adjacent layer. This will give more strength to multiple axes across the panel.


The effect of laying the grain in this manner is called ‘cross-graining’ and has a few benefits including:


  • Reducing the potential of the wood splitting when nailed
  • Reducing expansion and shrinkage
  • Improved stability
  • Makes the strength consistent throughout the panel


Additionally, in order to balance the plywood, there is always an odd amount of ply sheets used.


In the furniture industry there is often a need for plywood to have less rigidity and become more flexible. In this case during the manufacturing process the grains are kept in the same direction. This then allows for the plywood to become pliable and bend to create curves.



Global Panel Products Ltd are the leading UK importers of Russian birch plywood. Our product range of timber and wood based panels can safely be shipped to our customers either by containers to the UK, major international ports or by trucks to their warehouses.

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