Various Sheet Goods Used in Fine Woodworking

The term sheet goods consist of a collection of various manufactured wood products that have specific uses in woodworking projects where it would be difficult to use standard dimensional lumber. A good example is in building cabinets. A sheet of sanded plywood will be a much better choice for the sides, top, bottom and shelves within a cabinet than a glue-up of various pieces of dimensional lumber. For one, the dimensional lumber would be more expensive, and not nearly as strong as the plywood.

So while there are some advantages to using sheet goods, there are disadvantages as well. One of the biggest disadvantages is that the face of the plywood, MDF or other sheet product is a very thin veneer, which can be a problem if you are required to sand more than just the superficial face of the board.

Here are some various articles on using sheet goods in your woodworking projects:

  • 01 of 06

    What Is Plywood?

    Edge of Plywood - 9 Ply

    Nicolette Patton / CKD

    Plywood is a manufactured wood product that is widely used in the construction industry, but it is also ideal for some woodworking projects such as making cabinets. Plywood consists of a number of thin layers of softwood, laid so that the grain of each successive layer is perpendicular to the previous layer. To make thicker plywood, more layers are applied. This results in a very strong finished product, with some very useful applications. This article covers more about the advantages and disadvantages of using plywood in your woodworking projects.

  • 02 of 06

    Identifying Plywood Sizes

    Carrying Plywood

    Trevor Williams / Getty Images

    Plywood sizing can be a bit confusing. Much like how a 2x4 piece of dimensional lumber doesn't actually measure 2-inches by 4-inches, a sheet of plywood uses similarly confusing sizing. While a 4x8 sheet of plywood should truly measure 4-feet by 8-feet, it's the thickness that is in question. In some cases, this really wouldn't matter, but when trying to insert a piece of plywood into a dado, if you don't know the exact thickness of the plywood when cutting the dado, the joint will be sloppy. Read this article to learn more about plywood sizing.

  • 03 of 06

    Plywood Grades

    Stacked plywood

    Eric Anthony Johnson / Getty Images

    Plywood is graded with a lettering system, which depends on the quality of the various grades of wood used, the number of blemishes and how well the plywood is sanded. This grading system can lead to some confusing choices, and you'll need to know the difference between A-C plywood and CDX plywood when making a purchase. And it doesn't stop there, because the bonding type and final application of the plywood also factor into the grading. Confused? Read this article to learn all about plywood grades.

  • 04 of 06

    Plywood Edge Treatments

    Banding a Plywood Edge

    The Spruce / Chris Baylor

    The two faces of a sheet of plywood may come from the manufacturer as sanded or unsanded, depending on the final application (and of course, the price). However, in most cases, the edges of the plywood are left uncovered, revealing the layers used to manufacture the plywood. In most cases, these edges should not be left uncovered, as they are a bit unsightly and can leave the plywood susceptible to water damage and splintering. Here are some techniques for treating the edges of your plywood.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

    MDF = Medium Density Fiberboard - Cabinet Terminology |

    Nicolette Patton / CKD

    Medium-density fiberboard is made of very small pieces of wood glued and pressed together to form a sheet, with a thin veneer applied to each of the faces, and in some cases, the edges of the stock. Because MDF can be made from ground-up cutoffs and extra leftover pieces of stock from milling SPF lumber, it is essentially a method for the mills to use the leftovers to make a viable product. Think of it as the hot dog of the lumberyard. Is there a place for using MDF in fine woodworking projects?

  • 06 of 06

    Should You Use Particle Board in Woodworking Projects?

    Particle or chip board

    Dave Rudkin / Getty Images

    Particle board is widely used in the manufacture of mass-produced furniture. It is cheap, easy to work with and a thin veneer can be applied to give the particle board core the look of a rich hardwood. Should this deter you from using the material in any of your fine woodworking projects?