What Is Sande Plywood? How & When To Use It Explained

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Sande plywood, known for its durability and uniform appearance, is a standout material in woodworking. It’s especially valued for its moisture resistance, making it ideal for various construction and furniture projects.

This article explores sande plywood’s properties, uses, and advantages over other plywood types, providing essential insights for woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts.

What Is Sande Plywood?

Sande plywood, also known as “mulberry wood” or scientifically as brosimum utile, is a high-quality plywood choice. Sourced from the regions between Ecuador, Colombia, and the coastal areas of Costa Rica, it’s a popular material in the United States for plywood manufacturing.

This wood is prized for its consistent appearance, with sapwood and heartwood displaying uniform yellowish to light brown hues, perfect for staining.

What is Sande Plywood Made Of?

Stacked Plywood

The plywood is made from thin veneers of sande wood, each layer oriented at a 90-degree angle to the next, enhancing its strength and stability. The plies are bonded with high-quality adhesive, often waterproof, making it ideal for moisture-rich environments.

Sande plywood is known for its smooth, knot-free surface and density, comparable to red oak, contributing to its durability and suitability for various stains.

What is Sande Plywood Used For?

In terms of applications, sande plywood excels in areas requiring moisture resistance.

It’s an excellent choice for marine applications like boat building and docks.

In residential and commercial construction, it’s ideal for moisture-prone areas like kitchens and bathrooms and used in cabinetry, vanities, and shelving.

Its aesthetic qualities also make it a top choice for furniture making, decorative paneling, wainscoting, and detailed woodworking projects.

Other Uses Of Mulberry Wood

Sande wood’s versatility extends beyond plywood. It’s used in particleboard, fiberboard, furniture, and molding. The tree’s bark even finds applications in the textile industry. However, its primary use is in creating marine-grade plywood, suitable for environments where water resistance is crucial.

Sande Plywood As Marine Grade Plywood

Marine Grade Plywood

In our discussion about different types of plywood, we touched upon marine-grade plywood. It’s important to clarify that this term doesn’t imply exclusive use in boat construction. Instead, it refers to the plywood’s manufacturing process, making it suitable for outdoor applications where exposure to water is likely.

Marine-grade plywood isn’t waterproof, but it’s a high-quality hardwood plywood made with waterproof glue. Its construction sets it apart from regular plywood. Standard plywood often has voids and knot holes in the core plies, invisible until the plywood is cut.

In contrast, marine-grade plywood consists of multiple thin plies without these voids or knot holes, preventing water infiltration and subsequent rot and decay.

It’s also worth noting that marine-grade plywood typically isn’t chemically treated, so it’s not completely rot-resistant. However, its high-grade construction makes it a top-quality plywood choice.

This quality makes sande plywood, a type of marine-grade plywood, ideal for interior projects like furniture and cabinets, particularly in moisture-prone areas like bathrooms and kitchens. It’s also suitable for exterior applications such as decking, benches, and garden features.

Furthermore, sande plywood accepts stains and paints well, ensuring that your cabinets and vanities are functional and aesthetically pleasing. Its durability and finish-friendly nature make it a reliable material for both beauty and utility in moisture-rich environments.

Sande Plywood vs. Birch Plywood

Sande and birch plywood, while similar in aesthetics and grain, have distinct differences that set them apart, especially when considering their applications and durability.

Sande Plywood is known for its superior water resistance, making it an ideal choice for constant exposure to moisture. This is largely due to its marine-grade quality, which includes waterproof glue and a core without voids or knot holes. Sande plywood is particularly suitable for environments where water presence is constant, such as in marine applications or moisture-rich areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

Birch Plywood, on the other hand, is suitable for temporary exposure to the elements. It’s often used in construction for sidewalls or subflooring, where it faces limited exposure until further protective measures are in place. However, prolonged exposure can weaken its non-waterproof glue, leading to potential damage.

When it comes to cost, both types of plywood are on the higher end, but sande plywood typically commands a higher price. This is due to its specialized manufacturing for enhanced water resistance and the absence of voids in its core.

Comparison Chart: Sande Plywood vs. Birch Plywood

FeatureSande PlywoodBirch Plywood
Water ResistanceExcellent (suitable for constant exposure)Limited (suitable for temporary exposure)
Glue TypeWaterproofNon-waterproof
Core VoidsNonePossible
CostGenerally higherExpensive, but less than Sande
Ideal UseMarine applications, moisture-rich environmentsTemporary exposure areas, construction

Sande plywood has its place as valued marine-grade plywood for uses where moisture and water could be expected to be present.  Keep it in mind for that purpose for your next project.

4 thoughts on “What Is Sande Plywood? How & When To Use It Explained”

  1. What would be really helpful – I haven’t been able to find it – is a list or video or database actually showing all the different grades & types – -such that one could compare one to the other – and make an apples to apples comparison, and thereby make a decent decision on what to buy/use. — I say this because the video above was great, but did nto help me at all. it only showed snippits of several different types, leaving me as confused as ever on what’s what with plywood. He didn’t even talk about sande plywood. Which is what I was hoping to see

    • I appreciate your suggestion for a list or database that shows all the different grades and types of plywood for an apples-to-apples comparison. I will definitely consider creating such a resource in the future.

      In the meantime, I suggest checking out some online resources, such as the Plywood Grading Guide from the American Plywood Association. It provides detailed information on the different grades and types of plywood, as well as their recommended uses.


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