Re: Marine Plywood 101

Posted by CLC on Jan 23, 2006

The grading system is so subjective from manufacturer to manufacturer that it's of little value to the casual consumer.

The difference between A and B sides with Home Depot plywood is usually dramatic, with gaping craters on one side. The difference between A and B sides on marine grade plywood is often imperceptible even to trained eyes.

(Marine plywood ratings are mostly bull. I've ranted on this board and elsewhere that the "BS1088" and "Lloyds Certified" stamps are at best a spotty indicator of quality. You basically have to know the source to have any real assurance that it's the best stuff.)

The okoume we use day in and day out is in essence AA/A grade. Both sides are free of knots or defects. They might look different (ie, lighter or darker) but usually both sides have a beautiful grain figure. A lot of the varnished boats in our showroom have what is nominally the "B" side facing out.

We have a relationship with the European plywood mills we use and basically specify what we want the faces to look like. You see some variation but "AA/A" is a pretty good description.

We work hard to bookmatch parts, especially decks, but you'll see variation.

In Response to: Marine Plywood 101 by Chris J. on Jan 23, 2006