If you're setting concrete forms or constructing a roof, you use construction-grade plywood made primarily from fir. For interior woodworking projects, however, you need top-grade hardwood plywood, and birch plywood one of the most stable and attractive types available. Birch grows in northern latitudes, and some of the best birch plywood comes from northern Europe.
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Birch Plywood Characteristics
Birch is an example of a high density plywood; the wood that forms the laminated layers is a harder species than fir, which is the material inside construction-grade plywood. The layers contain no voids, making it possible to rabbet clean grooves and fashion attractive edges without the need for filler. Of the four available grades of Baltic birch -- one of the most common types -- B/BB is the best. It features a single piece of veneer, and has uniform color on both the front and back faces.
Using Birch Plywood
Birch plywood comes in standard 4-by-8-foot sheets, although you can also find 5-by-5-foot and 10-by-5-foot sheets. It's available in thicknesses up to 30 millimeters, which translates to 1 1/5 inches. Thanks to its stability and the cleanliness of its face and edges, birch plywood is a favorite for interior cabinetry and bookcases, and drawer sides and bottoms. Birch accepts stain well -- if a little unevenly -- and its close grain produces a smooth, glassy surface when finished.