The Engineered Wood Association sets the standards for plywood grades. The four main plywood grades are A, B, C and D. Both sides of the plywood receive a letter grade based on the condition of the wood. Cabinet-grade plywood receives an A or B grade for both sides.
The surface of cabinet-grade plywood is sanded smooth and contains few defects. The solid core layers of the plywood contain fewer holes; hardwood plywood is stiff and is an excellent choice for weight-bearing cabinetry.
Maple, oak, cherry and birch comprise the veneer of cabinet-grade plywood. These hardwoods possess appealing grains and fewer knots than all-purpose soft pine plywood.
Cabinet-grade plywood costs more than the other plywoods. The higher price is due to the finer materials and more attentive manufacturing process.