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The three main types of plywood

 
 
 

Okoume

GabonZone d’approvisionnement, Gabon, Congo et Guinée Équatoriale

Okoume is a tropical tree species cultivated primarily in the Congo basin (Equatorial Guinea, Congo and Gabon). French manufacturers source the vast majority of their timber from Gabon, a longstanding partner that is particularly demanding when it comes to sustainable forest management. This was the species used to produce the first plywoods made in France in the early 20th century. At the time, the aim was to seek out the best/exploit the resources available and okoume displayed ideal properties for the creation of a strong and lightweight material. Gabon went on to build its independence by developing relations with France and Europe, notably through co-partnerships with manufacturers. It is worth noting that the protection of forest resources is a very real cause in Gabon and the Strategic Plan for an Emerging Gabon is just one of its components (see the Environmental aspects section).

Caracteristics

Type : Tropical hardwood
Sourcing region : Gabon (and Congo basin)
General characteristics : lightweight (density of 0.4 to 0.5), homogeneous, regular surface
Colour : pale to dark pink
Specific advantages : very easy to peel
Grain : fine to medium
Primary uses : exterior applications and decoration

Poplar

peupliersZone d’approvisionnement, ressource localement disponible (France)

Poplar is a fast-growing species that is found in abundance in France.One advantage it offers the plywood industry is that it is very easy to peel.Poplar was the variety of wood that triggered the development of the plywood industry, notably for the manufacture of lightweight packaging materials. The sector became concentrated in the Poitou-Charentes region of France for two reasons: the numerous poplar plantations present in the region’s marshlands (the Marais Poitevin) and its proximity to the Port of La Pallice, through which okoume veneer from Gabon passes.
Lightweight and white in colour, poplar plywood is mostly used for packaging and interior fittings, although technological advances have increasingly led to its use in exterior applications (see CTB-X).

Caracteristics

Type : temperate hardwood
Origin of the wood : Locally available (France)
General characteristics : density of 0.4 to 0.45
Colour : white
Specific advantages : fast growing (18-25 years)
Grain : fine
Primary uses : packaging, furniture

Maritime pine

pin_maritimeZone d’approvisionnement, ressource localement disponible (France)

Maritime pine was first used for the manufacture of plywood in the 1970s.
The typical performance/weight ratio of softwood species makes this type of plywood particularly well suited to structural applications in the construction sector (bracing elements for wood-frame houses, load-bearing floors, I-beams, etc.). It is also used in the industrial packaging and crate industries.
When its edges are machined for panelling purposes, it can be used to cover interior walls, while its excellent resistance to biological degradation means that it can be used for exterior cladding.

Caracteristics

Type : temperate softwood
Origin of the wood : Locally available (France)
General characteristics : density of 0.53 to 0.55
Colour : pinkish yellow
Specific advantages : relatively fast growing (30-50 years)
Grain : medium to coarse
Primary uses : construction, structural elements, exterior coverings