Plywood Molding Process

Updated March 23, 2017

A variety of methods for to bending and moulding wood exist, and can be very different in approach. However, the desired result is always the same: bending plywood or thin wood to a specific shape and curve. The type of method chosen depends on the wood's thickness and quality, and each has typical results and risks associated with it.

Bending Methods

Moisture and steam have long been used for their ability to soften and warp wood. This natural power is harnessed with steam moulding of plywood. The risk of getting burnt when using this method is high, as the wood has to be heated with steam to a certain temperature to be pliable. Alternatively, the kerf method involves making cuts in the wood at the angles it will bend, weakening the plywood enough to make the curve. The cuts are then filled in with glue once the curve is realised.

Induction Heating

Larger wood assemblies require more mechanical bending. Induction uses a press method to force thin sheets of plywood to bend at an angle with adhesive. The multiple layers then form a single product with the desired curves. Skateboard decks are a good example of this plywood mechanical process.

Cold Molding

Cold moulding uses no heat whatsoever. Instead, thin sheets of plywood are moulded into a desired bend using a frame, leaving the wood bent for a time until it assumes the correct curve. Layer upon layer of wood is added with veneers until the full surface is realised. Wood boat hulls for small boats are an example of a product created using this process.

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About the Author

Since 2009 Tom Lutzenberger has written for various websites, covering topics ranging from finance to automotive history. Lutzenberger works in public finance and policy and consults on a variety of analytical services. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Saint Mary's College and a Master of Business Administration in finance and marketing from California State University, Sacramento.