Various types of plywood glue and what they do.

Plywood is currently one of the most popular engineered wood on the market. You’re probably well acquainted with how plywood is made by this point. Wood veneers, sliced up from tree log, then glued and pressed together, the usual stuff. When speaking about plywood production, you would typically hear about the materials used. Such as the plywood species, type of finish and glue. The glue used in the production of a plywood board is very important in determining the properties of the piece. There are several types of commercially available glue and each of them gives certain attributes for plywood.

Urea Formaldehyde, also known as plastic resin glue and is made of, you guessed it, Urea and Formaldehyde. Usually used as preservatives, these chemicals are now combined to create the standard issue glue for plywood production. Frequently used to make plywood, Urea Formaldehyde is reliable, tried and tested. Its usage also grants plywood some level of protection against moisture, though not as reliably as ones we’ll discuss.

Like Urea Formaldehyde, Melamine glue is also named after the chemical they’re made of. Melamine is a type of plastic which, when mixed with Formaldehyde, creates melamine glue. It has the ability to withstand weather conditions and weight with high durability. However, due to Melamine’s high price tag and its lagging performance when compared with Phenolic glue; it is recommended that melamine only be used for wood finishes due to its great decorative properties.

Phenolic glue rounds out our list by being a great (albeit rather expensive and difficult to produce) alternative to UF glue. Like Melamine glue, it’s made by mixing Phenol and Formaldehyde together. Phenolic glue is known for its fantastic water-resistant properties, some plywood manufactured with phenolic glue can go as far as being completely waterproof. Phenolic also has higher resistance to the elements compared to melamine, and has the benefit of being cheaper as well.

Formaldehyde, as a chemical, is highly toxic and can cause various problems to your skin, lungs and nervous system. Seeing how all of the glue we’ve talked about are made with some amount of Formaldehyde, all three can be toxic under certain conditions. You can avoid this by placing pieces with high amounts of Formaldehyde in well-ventilated areas or buying specifically manufactured products with a low content of Formaldehyde. You can find various wood standards regarding formaldehyde emission, most notably the CARB standards for the Americans and the E-0 standards for the Europeans.

Though glue plays an important role in creating a piece of plywood, it also creates problems. Knowing which type of glue to use, based on your preference and desired result is important to get the most out of your purchase. Plywood isn’t just the glue though, there are many plywood types based on finishing or wood species. If you want to know more, check out our blog catalogue:

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