Are You Confused About All This? What Do You Have Plywood or What?

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Part of the problem with this material is that some many different names were used to refer to it.  Let’s try to clear up as much confusion as we can and help you figure out what you have, and what you might need to replace or remodel your home.

The Terms:

“Weldtex”  was the brand name that we are pretty sure both Weldwood, and US Plywood used to market this material.  Often, but no always it is found stamped on the back of old tiles and wall panels.

“Combed Plywood” this is one way to refer to the unique pattern that is milled into the face of the wooden ceiling tile, or wall panel.  Imagine if you had a sheet cake topped with white icing and you slowly passed a comb over the surface.  The result would be peaks and valleys creating a fine texture vs. the smooth surface you started with.

“Striated Plywood” this is yet another way to describe the same milled pattern.  The dictionary defines it like this “a minute groove, scratch, or channel especially when one of a parallel series.”  This is exactly the same  meaning as “combed.”  It’s just a different term used to say the same thing.

What Do You Have Plywood or Solid Lumber?

Weldtex, combed, or striated material was manufactured in roughly two different forms, plywood and solid lumber.

The plywood form was used for ceiling tiles, accent wall panels, exterior soffits and sometimes exterior siding.  And most often but not in every case, the plywood version was 3/8″ thick.

varied texture of combed plywood

Edge view of 3/8″ combed plywood

We think the reason that it is often 3/8″ thick is because it provides a 1/8″ face veneer (layer) a 1/8″ core, and a 1/8″ back.  The 1/8″ face is required in order to have enough thickness to mill the striations, or combed face into the material.  If the face is less than 1/8″ the cutters would cut all the way through the first layer and result in a terrible looking product.

Keeping this in mind, we can’t mill the striated, or combed pattern into hardwood faced plywood, like walnut, or birch, etc.  The reason is that plywood mills have learned to mill the hardwood face down to a very, very thin layer.  Much thinner than 1/8″  in fact he face veneers of hardwood plywood are very thin—1/30 of an inch, on average.  This can make plywood hard to cut without splintering, and  doesn’t even leave much after sanding let alone the ability to mill the deeper combed pattern.

So if you have ceiling tiles or accent wall panels the chances are you have 3/8″ thick plywood.  The majority of our customers have indicated this, almost without exception.  But it’s a good idea to measure to be sure.

So What About Hardwood, Are There Options?

Yes, there are options, but NOT in plywood, we must use solid wood planks/boards/lumber not plywood veneer (layers).   Solid wood is just that, no veneer layers it’s the same wood all the way through.

The typical forms are as follows.

3/8″ thick by 5 1/2″ wide in various lengths (walnut, oak, poplar, soft maple, mahogany, cypress, and other species as well)

3/8″ thick by 5 1/2 wide in various lengths, and the same species listed above.

Lastly, tongue and groove clear cedar commonly used in exterior vertical siding.

Solid hardwood and cedar prices can be quoted once we know the species and quantity.  Contact us for more information.

combed cedar 1x6

Clear Cedar Tongue and Groove

Solid Walnut

Solid Mahogany, White Oak, and Walnut side by side

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