Manufacturing plywood boards: then and now

Plywood is a simple material made by glueing together thin sheets of wood, known as veneers or plies. These basic elements have remained broadly the same throughout its history. The most significant breakthrough in its production came in the early 1800s with the development of steam-powered machines that could cut veneers cheaply. The most influential of these was the rotary veneer cutter.

The cutter rotates a log against a wide, horizontal blade, causing it to ‘peel’ into a continuous sheet of wood. This enables the creation of longer, wider sheets of veneer than previously possible and with little waste. Using these machines meant that plywood could be manufactured quickly and inexpensively on a large scale.

This film shows the stages in manufacturing plywood boards in the mid-20th century and today. The process remains essentially unchanged, although today many of the machines are much faster and computer controlled.

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Picture of Natan_el_Tigre52 achievements

+7 1. Natan_el_Tigre commented 3 years ago

Cool, was just wondering about this the other day! And at about 4:30 I was wondering, "Wow, he's doing that without gloves?!" Then at 4:34 I saw the bandages, ha-ha! Ah, the good, old days... :x
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+2 2. Thanny commented 3 years ago

Yeah, my primary thought during much of the classic footage was, "Why the hell are they not wearing gloves??"