The miracle of plywood

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Plywood is remarkable stuff, being in so many ways better than the real thing – it’s highly resistant to shrinkage, splitting, cracking, twisting and warping and has a high degree of strength. It’s also inexpensive, workable, flexible, re-usable and can usually be locally manufactured. And when you make export packaging out of it, you avoid all those messy phytosanitary regulations.

Perhaps even more remarkable is that plywood was first used nearly 5500 years ago in Ancient Mesopotamia (where Iraq is today), while the modern version was invented by Immanuel Nobel, father of Alfred, of Nobel Prize fame. (Immanuel would often carry out all manner of experiments with his sons, including ones involving nitroglycerin. While we approve of dads spending quality time with their kids, there are probably better ways than this, and indeed one of Immanuel’s sons, Emil Oskar, was killed by an explosion at his father’s factory in 1864.)

The uses of plywood are – to put it mildly – many, and include everything from furniture and fencing to the blades on wind turbines and World War II aircraft (the Mosquito was apparently known as the ‘Wooden Wonder’).


How to make plywood

Take one tree and cut it down. That sounds brutal, but in this modern world of managed forests, no lasting damage to the planet need result. Aircraft would be made from a hard wood, such as mahogany or birch, but when it comes to packaging you’re going to want something lighter, so wood from cedar, Douglas fir and spruce trees is the usual ingredient.

Remove the bark, heat the trunk to make it pliable, then, using a rotary lathe, cut the log into sheets no more than 3mm thick. This is wood veneer.

Glue an odd number of layers of veneer together, with the grain of each layer – or ply – at right angles to its neighbours. This is what gives plywood all the useful qualities described earlier.

Job done.


Plywood – the perfect shipping crates

At Davpack, our no nails plywood boxes are among the most popular and biggest selling export packaging products we have. All those benefits listed at the top of this blog come together to make a box with superlative strength, which offers protection not just against all kinds of bumps and knocks, but also against humidity, dampness and extremes of temperature. And, of course, plywood is pretty light, so compared to traditional wooden crates, it can lead to considerably cheaper freight costs.

We supply them flat packed, but they’re very easy to put together. They’re also easy to take apart again, making them extremely convenient to store and reuse as often as you need to. Davpack has a whole range of practical export boxes available at Alternatively, our Sales team will be delighted to answer any questions you may have – you can call them on 0844 800 9844.

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Dave Smith

With a background that has included spells in marketing and editorial management in the publishing and performing arts industries, Dave is now a valued member of Davpack’s marketing team, where he is our lead blogger and senior copywriter. Still relatively new to the business, he will be aiming to look at the world of cardboard boxes and packaging materials from a slightly different angle to the usual. Davpack

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