Formply: The Quick Lowdown

About Formply Plywood

A plywood sheet is a type of sheet building material used in furniture making and construction. It is fabricated by gluing thin veneers of wood together. Plywood is available in many varieties. In general, plywood is graded from A to D. An A grade is free of defects and has a good appearance. In contrast, C/D grades are usually used for structural applications due to their flaws. Therefore, you need to choose the right plywood for each application.

Form plywood can be found as a high-quality F14 plywood made from pine. This grade of plywood can withstand the rigors of construction, as it is coated with smooth resin paper. This plywood is durable, reusable and moisture resistant. Cross-laminated construction reduces expansion and contraction caused by changes in temperature and rain.

The Basics Of Formply

The building industry uses Formply primarily for concrete formwork. An overlay (high density overlay – HD0) of paper is bonded to the surface of the plywood. This paper is impregnated with phenolic resin, serving as to create a barrier between the curing concrete and the hardwood plywood surface.

Timber sheets with a smooth, attractive finish have a structural grading similar to that of structural plywood. 

Phenol formaldehyde resin is used to glue the veneers together. Formply timber sheets are designed to resist moisture damage due to the hardwearing Type A marine bond. As a builder, form ply timber sheets are an excellent option that is high-performance, aesthetically appealing, and able to withstand the rigors of your construction project.

Available Formply Sizes

Form ply Sheet Sizes

Sheets typically measure 1800/2400 x 1200mm.

Form Ply Thickness

It is available in a 12mm, 17mm, 19mm, or 25mm thickness.

Formply: Ideal Surface For Concrete Finish

It is an ideal surface for pouring concrete with a Class 2 finish on the first pour for builders and formworkers. Optimised forms such as table forms and jump forms can be generated with it. Timber and steel frame systems can be used with it.

Formply Environment Information

There are some Formply products with a formaldehyde emission level of E0. Other certifications available are FSC and PEFC.

Formply Has Tendency To Bow

Natural wood products such as plywood may bow due to ambient weather conditions. Manufacturers and distributors of plywood generally take all precautions to ensure flatness upon dispatch; however, once the sheets have left the factory, there is no guarantee that they will stay flat unless they are handled and fastened properly.

The Australian Standard

Look for plywood that is compliant with AS 6669 in Australia, which is certified by the Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia (EWPAA).

Formply should be designed and manufactured to AS/NZS 2269 with ‘A’ Bond glue and stress graded to F14 and F17.

Using Formply: The Advantages

Despite being exposed to rain and temperature fluctuations, form ply timber sheets are less likely to expand or contract due to their cross-laminated construction. As a result, form ply is ideal for use as a foundation for large deck forms. As well as being attractive and durable, the smooth surface protects both the front and back faces from damage. As well as using form sheets for steel and timber frame structures, they are also flexible enough to be used on concrete structures. As well as being lighter in weight, they are also suitable for concrete slab thicknesses, a broad range of frame spacings and surface tolerances.

Other Formply Applications

Other than being ideal for concrete formwork, formply wood sheets have virtually limitless uses, including the construction of bridges, cabinets, form ply furniture, form ply shelving, and benchtops. With its versatility and toughness, formply can be used in any application in which structural strength and performance are required.

Types Of Formply Available

There is a large range of formply available, depending on your specific needs. There are a number of varieties with different cores; including Birch, Eucalypt and Radiata Pine. 

Birch Formply

A black or brown overlay has traditionally been used, but with other options, such as Birch cores, you can choose from a wide range of different colours, such as Black, White, Blue, and Red. Due to this, Birch Formply has become extremely popular among commercial and domestic cabinet makers.

Where To Get Formply

Thinking that you need some Formply? Bunnings is a good starting point. They have a solid range to get you started. There is also Mitre 10 as an alternative.

Form Ply vs Marine Ply

Marine plywood must meet three major requirements that make it different from other types of plywood:

  1. The inner veneer layers cannot contain any voids. Whenever they become saturated with moisture, voids can cause delamination. 
  2. A waterproof glue must be used to manufacture marine plywood. 
  3. A marine-grade plywood typically has a higher-quality face veneer than what is typically found on exterior-grade structural plywood.

The majority of marine grade plywood will be manufactured to meet the WBP (water boil proof) standard, though this is not a strict requirement. Although marine plywood may not be WBP rated, it may still meet the requirement if the manufacturer hasn’t invested in having their product tested.

While marine plywood was originally developed for use in boatbuilding, it has found a home in many other areas.

Marine plywood has many similarities to Formply. Historically, before the existence of Formply, Marine plywood was used to make concrete formwork. This was accomplished by using the highly moisture-resistant marine plywood and coating it with oil, usually used motor oil, so it released from the concrete during curing.

So the upshot is that marine plywood and formply are very similar. Formply is a more specific version for the purposes of being used in concrete formwork.

The product Formply is a structural plywood, like marine ply. When used where it will always be in contact with moisture, this product takes the idea of moisture-proof plywood to another level.

It is essential that the plywood used for creating concrete forms be highly moisture resistant, and have a waterproof outer layer that can be easily separated from the curing concrete. 

While Formply does not strictly meet the three requirements of marine grade plywood, in some ways it can be considered to exceed them.

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