Plywood is a type of wood that is made up of many layers. It generally comes in 4-by-8 foot sections, but smaller sizes such as 2-by-4 or 4-by-4 foot sections can also be found. Like any other type of wood, there are various grades of plywood. Each grade has a rating. These ratings allow you to use the plywood for many different applications. Knowing what grade of plywood you have is beneficial so you know what application it will best be used for.
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Lay the sheet of plywood on a flat surface such as a couple of sawhorses. Run your hands over the surface and feel if it is smooth or not. Look for knot holes on the surface and any other marks that take away from how smooth the plywood is.
Flip the sheet over and repeat the process of the other side. Check that the corners are straight and not chipped up. If the sheet of plywood has no knot holes at all and the surface is completely smooth throughout, you have grade AA plywood, which is the highest grade.
Compare one side to the other. Check if one side is smoother than the other. If one side is completely smooth and the other is a little rough, you have AC plywood. This is smooth on one side and rough on the other.
Look over the surface once again and count the number of knot holes. Run your hands over them and see how much space they take up. If there are more than a few knot holes and surface is rough on both sides, you have CDX plywood. This is the lowest grade of plywood.
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