Plywood is a sheet material made up of thin layers of wood called “veneers”, bonded together with the grains of adjacent layers running perpendicular to one another. Being an article of wood, it has the essential characteristics of wood, including its bio-degradability.
Several varieties of plywood are manufactured in India. Of these, the following types are used extensively in furniture and in building interior systems:

Plywood for general purposes ( Ref: IS 303:1989)

These are manufactured from a wide range of commercial timbers with varying degrees of strength and durability. Under this category, there are two grades

Moisture Resistant (MR) Grade

MR grade plywood is designed for use in building interiors and in furniture. It is extensively used primarily on account of its low cost. MR type bonding is required to withstand three cycles, each consisting of 3 hours at 60 ± 2ºC in water and thereafter drying at 65 ± 2ºC for 8 hours

Boiling Water Resistant (BWR) Grade

BWR Grade plywood has a bond which must withstand three cycles, each consisting of 8 hours boiling in water and thereafter drying at 65 ± 2ºC for 16 hours as per IS 303 : 1989 (Amendement No.4, 2005). The stipulation for preservative treatment by vacuum pressure impregnation is optional and hence rarely done by normal brands

Marine Plywood (Ref: IS 710:2010)

Marine Plywood is basically designed for use in the construction, repair and maintenance of marine and river crafts and hence is required to withstand rigorous conditions involving wetting and drying and exposure to attack by fungi, insects and even marine organisms. The bonding is required to withstand a rigorous 72 hour boiling test, and the preservative treatment is with fixed type preservative chemicals by vacuum pressure impregnation. Plywood used for general purposes is found to be unsuitable for such applications. The method of manufacture of marine plywood has been specifically stated in IS 710:2010 so that the resulting plywood is capable of withstanding rigorous tests and service conditions. For this reason, marine plyood is generally preferred to BWR Grade plywood, as per IS 303, for use even in furniture and building interior systems.

Marine Plywood (Ref: IS 710:2010)

The type of adhesive used for bonding a product determines the resistance of the bond to boiling water, high moisture conditions, and cyclic changes in weather.

The synthetic resin adhesives commonly used in the manufacture of wood panel products are:
Phenol Formaldehyde(PF)
Melamine Urea Formaldehyde (MUF)
Urea Formaldehyde (UF)

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IS 848:2006, which is the Indian Standard Specification for Synthetic Resin Adhesives for Plywood, classifies synthetic resin adhesives commonly used in the manufacture of wood panel products into following types :

Water Resistance Requirement Related to Water Resistance
BWP (Boiling Water Proof) Adhesives of this type make the strongest and most durable bonds. In Plywood which is taken as a standard panel material, the bonding is required to withstand Six cycles, each consisting of 8hours boiling in water and thereafter drying at 65 ± 2º C for 16 hours
BWR (Boiling Water Resistant) The bonding obtained from BWR type adhesives have only a limited boiling water resistance. The bonding is required to withstand three cycles, each consisting of 8 hours boiling in water and thereafter drying at 65 ± 2ºC for 16 hours
MR (Moisture Resistant) Three cycles, each consist of 3 hours at 60 ± 2º C in water and thereafter drying at 65± 2º C for 8 hours

Reconstituted wood panel products are essentially articles of wood. Hence, they need to be protected against infestation by the following wood destroying organisms :


Fungi are microscopic organisms which attack wood used in damp situations. Of these, one variety causes harmless discolouration in the sapwood. The second variety destroys wood by decomposition.

Wood boring beetles

There are several varieties of wood boring beetles; but those which attack articles of wood in India belong to the family “Lyctus borers” which cause the well known “Powder discharge”. These are very small insects. They attack only the sapwood portion in any article, as they draw their nourishment from the stored food in the sapwood.


Termites usually attack articles which are fixed to the building elements like wall paneling, ceilings, wall units etc. They usually settle down around neglected areas inside the buildings. The infestation and destruction caused by termites are usually massive. They attack wood from below the surface leaving a sound, deceptive outer skin.

Subterranean termites are insects which operate from underground colonies. From here they move out in large armies in search of wood and other cellulosic materials. Telltale signs of their presence are the earthen tubes or runways built over the surfaces of walls, columns, beams etc. of buildings. They attack and destroy all types of wood products and even household item like books and clothing. Termites are so persistent that no wood based product can be made truly termite proof.

In order to protect wood based articles from termites, a comprehensive treatment plan is required. First the building as a whole needs to be protected from termite infestation by suitable chemical treatments, preferably at the time of construction or thereafter. Secondly, plywood and similar materials used in the building interior systems must be effectively treated with preservative chemicals.

Using untreated plywood, blockboard, particleboard and MDF can lead to serious problems of infestation by one or more of the above organisms. The only solution is to use products which are effectively treated with proper preservative chemicals.

The materials and methods used for the preservative treatment of plywood is essentially the same as those employed for treating natural wood. But plywood also lends itself to different treatment methods at various stages of manufacture as follows:

By soaking, diffusion or impregnation of the individual veneers before gluing, with water borne chemicals.
By adding preservative chemicals in the glue used for bonding.
By impregnating the consolidated plywood with water borne chemicals by vacuum pressure process or other methods

The most effective type of treatment is impregnating the products with “Fixed” type preservative chemicals by vacuum pressure process. Fixed type preservative chemicals are those which do not get washed away when the articles are exposed to extreme dampness in service. Hence, impregnation with fixed type chemicals gives permanent protection to articles of wood. For this reason, IS 710:2010, the IS Specification for Marine Plywood has stiputated only this type of preservative treatment.

A pressure impregnation plant consists of a pressure cylinder provided with a seal door, a vacuum pump, a pump for pumping preservative solution into the pressure vessel and measuring instruments. The plywood to be treated is stacked vertically inside the cylinder.After closing the seal door tightly, the air inside is evacuated using a vacuum pump. The cylinder is then filled with the preservative solution and a steady pressure is applied for a certain period. Thereafter the preservative solution is drained off, and the plywood is dried.

It is not possible for a consumer to judge the long term performance of a plywood panel by visual examination. The claim of Boiling water Resistance can be tested by boiling specimens in water. Borer resistance etc. can be tested only in well equipped laboratories. Some people do go by the colour and weight of the plywood. But such assumptions are unscientific. One must insist on written guarantees from manufacturers.

Anchor 72 Marine Plywood provides firm written guarantees on request. Download the written guarantee

It is not possible for a consumer to judge the long term performance of a plywood panel by visual examination. The claim of Boiling water Resistance can be tested by boiling specimens in water. Borer resistance etc. can be tested only in well equipped laboratories. Some people do go by the colour and weight of the plywood. But such assumptions are unscientific. One must insist on written guarantees from manufacturers.

Anchor 72 Marine Plywood provides firm written guarantees on request. Download the written guarantee

Anchor has found a foolproof method to prevent duplication. Anchor products carry a unique state-of-the-art security hologram, designed exclusively for Anchor, with high level security features like animation, kinetic effect, covert images, animated concealed images, micro lettering etc.

Please look for this hologram on the above products.
It has taken years of dedicated hard work for Anchor to establish a reputation for quality and become the No.1 brand of plywood in the country. To help the user distinguish between fakes and inferior quality duplicate panels, we at Anchor have invested in marking genuine Anchor brand Plywood. The introduction of a high security hologram with unique secret coding in micro lettering is a hurdle that duplicators will find it impossible to cross. Your assurance is to buy only genuine Anchor Plywood sporting the hologram.

Articles of furniture made from wood must be kept dry and the surrounding places must be kept dry and well ventilated. They must be periodically painted or polished. Where possible it is advisable to leave some space between walls and articles like wardrobes. All nooks and corners of rooms as well as ceilings lofts etc. must be regularly swept and examined for telltale signs of termites. Anti-termite treatments must be done to buildings periodically.

The surfaces of veneered decorative plywood must be protected from moisture, heat and dust, all the time. Exposure to high humidity conditions can lead to the development of fungus and moulds, which disfigure the plywood. Likewise, exposure to cyclic, moistening and drying, or to excessive dry heat can lead to the development of surface checks and cracks, and to darkening, discolouration of the grains.

Fire is a ruthless destroyer of life and property. It has been always a dreaded phenomenon. In the earliest days of evolution of human life, fire, along with other natural forces terrified man. In due course man started worshipping fire.

Millions of years later, today, the civilized man can proudly boast of having tamed the monstrous fire to serve him. Fire propels most of his inventions from steam engines to space crafts. But in its wild form fire is hardly less terrifying today than it was in the primitive days!

Yet the fear of fire, like the fear death, is a fleeting sensation. When we see it striking others, it does scare us, but moments later we proceed with life as if we are some how unlikely to be hit. This explains the indifferent attitude of the modern man to fire safety in buildings.

In the pursuit of comfortable lifestyles, man has set up several death traps in all modern buildings, like ruptured wirings, loosely connected electrical circuits, overloaded appliances, carelessly connected gas cylinders, improper storage and handling of inflammable materials, non-observance of essential safety rules, etc. any of which can cause a devastating fire outbreak. When a major fire erupts, the strongest of structures are reduced to ashes, leaving a long trail of losses of human lives and property.
The threat of fire in buildings is thus perpetual. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure adequate safety to life and property by proper design of the exterior and interior structural elements and by the use of fire resistant materials.

In our search for fire resistant materials there are certain popular misconceptions to be discarded. First of all it is necessary to recognize that buildings can be made only firesafe, and not fireproof. Fireproof buildings simply do not exist. All buildings contain enough combustible materials, which will sustain fire in a major fire outbreak. The heat generated in the process can cause extensive damage to the structural elements, which may collapse and bring about loss of life.

Secondly, the property of “incombustibility” of building and construction materials alone does not secure protection to human life. An incombustible material like steel, for example, expands and also tends to lose a lot of its strength and stiffness, as the temperature rises. As a result steel structures buckle and collapse. Besides steel is a good conductor of heat and tends to spread fire through heat transfer.

In the context of fire hazards, the popular perception is that wood is a risky proposition. Well, wood is indeed a combustible material, and is even used as fuel. However, the combustibility of wood depends on the form and size of the article. For example, in the form of heavy structural components like beams and columns, wood has very poor combustibility. Besides, wood has poor thermal conductivity and does not lose strength very fast. Hence heavy articles of wood offer much greater safety in the event of a fire outbreak, than incombustible materials like steel and cement concrete.

In the form of thin sheet materials, however, wood is highly combustible on account of its high surface area to volume ratio. For example, a thin veneer of wood burns easily. Plywood is likewise a relatively thin sheet material and hence tends to burn and spread fire rather easily depending upon the intensity of the fire.

However, plywood lends itself to impregnation with waterborne chemicals which impart to it high resistance to ignition, spread of flame and flame penetration.

The Bureau of Indian Standards has brought out a publication called “National Building Code of India” covering the various requirements related to construction of buildings in India. Part IV of this publication deals with fire protection and forms the basis for setting standards of fire resistance for building materials. Reproduced below is Clause 0.3 of Part IV of the National Building Code of India:

“0.3 Absolute safety from fire is not attainable in practice. The objective of this part is to specify measures, which will provide that degree of safety from fire, which can be reasonably achieved. The code endeavours to avoid requirements which might involve unreasonable hardships or unnecessary inconvenience or interference with normal use and occupancy of buildings, but insists upon compliance with minimum standards for fire safety necessary in public interest.”

The above clause broadly explains the objective related to fire safety in buildings. The code has further stipulated two basic requirements related to fire resistance in building materials.

This is a measure of flammability of the finished surfaces of building interiors like walls, partitions, ceilings etc. IS 1642:1960, which is the “Indian Standard Code of Practice for Fire Safety of Buildings (General): Materials and Details of Construction” has divided surfacing materials used in building construction into four classes as follows :

Class I Surfaces of very low flame spread
Class II Surfaces of low flame spread
Class III Surfaces of medium flame spread
Class IV Surfaces of rapid flame spread

The method of test for determination of surface spread is described in Appendix A of IS 1642:1960.
IS 1642:1960 has further given the following recommendations for use of surfacing materials conforming to the various classes of surface spread;

Class I May be used in any situation
Class II May be used in any situation except in walls and ceilings of staircases and passages
Class III May be used only in living rooms and bed rooms (but not rooms in the roof) and only as a lining to
It will therefore be observed that the highest rating in terms of surface spread is Class I

Fire Rating is essentially a measure of fire resistance of building elements such as partitions, walls, ceilings etc. evaluated on the basis of certain safety related factors, rather than properties like incombustibility alone. It is a measure of containment of fire within a room or building in terms of the protection against fire penetrating a wall, floor, roof etc. either directly or through a high rate of heat transfer that might cause combustible materials to be ignited on the side of the wall or floor away from the actual fire. It is thus, a property of an assembly of several materials including fastenings and of the workmanship, and is not including fastenings and of the workmanship, and is not the property of any single material used for construction.

IS;3809-1979 is the Indian Standard Specification which lays down the test procedure for the determination of fire resistance of building structures or elements like walls, partitions etc. A structure is rated in terms of the length of time for which a test specimen representative of that structure satisfies certain criteria when exposed to fire, more less simulating actual fire conditions.

The characteristics, which are evaluated for the purpose of rating the fire resistance of various structures, are the following:

In the case of a predominantly load bearing structure the criterion for evaluation is the load bearing capacity under the stipulated heating conditions.
In the case of a non-load bearing separating element, the criteria are insulation and integrity.
In the case of a load bearing-cum-separating structure the fire resistance is judged by all the three criteria of load bearing capacity, insulation and integrity.

In the evaluation of the fire resistance of a structure due consideration is given to the critical functions of that structure in a building as explained below :

Load bearing capacity.

The test for determination of fire rating is carried out, as per the procedure laid down in IS;3809-1979, as follows :

A test specimen representative of the complete element of construction, on which information is required, is prepared in the prescribed size. The materials used, construction and workmanship are required to be representative of those in actual practice. In the case of load bearing elements the test specimen is subjected, before exposure to fire, to a load which induces, in the critical parts of the elements, stresses of the same magnitude as are produced in the full size structure under normal working conditions.

After preparation and conditioning, the test specimen is exposed to the prescribed fire/heating conditions and is observed for signs of failure in any of the three critical parameters as follows:

Load Bearing Capacity :
The stage at which a test specimen can no longer support the test load is taken as the stage of failure. The length of time for which the test specimen has withstood the fire, supporting the test load, is recorded.
The point of failure of an element in terms of insulation is determined on the basis of the rise in temperature on the unexposed face of the specimen. The length of time taken for the temperature on the unexposed face to rise to the prescribed limit is recorded.
The failure of a structure in terms of integrity is caused by the development of cracks, holes or other openings, through which flames or hot gases tend to pass. The length of time for which the test specimen withstands the prescribed heating conditions without showing any sign of integrity failure is recorded.

As stated earlier the fire rating of a structure is eventually determined taking into account its performance in terms of some, or all the three basic parameters; viz. load bearing capacity, insulation and integrity, depending on its critical functions in the building.

It is thus clear that fire rating has more to do with complete structures than with materials alone. In the case of sheet materials used in building interiors for partitions etc. (whether wood based or non-wood based) a desired fire rating for any system has to be achieved by adopting a proper design incorporating comprehensive specifications for materials, construction and workmanship. Thereafter a prototype of that element may be tested for evaluation of fire rating in an institution like CBRI. It makes no sense asking for the fire rating of any single material. It is a whole structure or system that is fire rated.

To the best of our knowledge except for solid core flush doors there are no fire rated systems presently available in the country. For interior structural elements like partitions, panelling, ceiling or flooring, although a number of products claiming properties like incombustibility are available. It is assumed that use of incombustible or “fire proof” materials make the building elements fireproof and therefore safe for life and property in the event of a fire outbreak.

That fireproof building materials themselves do not guarantee safety of life and property was demonstrated by the outbreak of a big fire in the General Motors’ huge plant in Michigan in the year 1953. The plant, which was considered completely incombustible was a total loss due to the collapse of unprotected metallic structures. Likewise a big fire destroyed McCormick Place, Chicago’s famous exhibition hall in 1967. All its structural members, including interior non-bearing walls were incombustible, and yet a small fire that started in some of the materials contained inside spread rapidly and caused a total collapse, causing a loss of $150 million.

In reality therefore, fireproof buildings do not exist. We can only construct fire safe buildings using fire rated systems for the structural elements, which in turn can be designed with both combustible and non-combustible materials. Wood panel products like particleboards can be effectively incorporated in such systems. What we need is tested and evaluated designs, in the development of which institutions like CBRI should offer expertise and guidance.

The art of wood veneering dates back to the days of Egyptian civilization, when people used to decorate articles of cheap wood with very thin layers of superior wood.

The word veneer, thus acquired a negative meaning as a “mask” or a “pretence” put on by people to fool others!
The technology of decorative veneering evolved in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. Veneer is a thin layer of any wood cut from a log using a slicing, peeling, or sawing machine. Decorative veneer is a thin layer cut from a decorative timber, showing ornamental patterns of grain and colour combinations. Decorative veneer is bonded on to plywood and similar boards or articles of fine furniture, for decorative and ornamental purposes.

There are several species of trees all over the world. Each tree has its own characteristic colour, grains texture etc. Many of them have very mediocre figures, while a few have exquisite colour and grain patterns.

Figures and colours are formed inside the wood, as a tree grows by adding one ring every year around its trunk. Each ring represents the changing seasonal patterns and other external environmental factors which influence the formation of cells. Nature thus creates interesting variations of colour, grains and luster in each annual ring of certain species of trees, making them produce logs which can be used as a decorative material.

When the log of a decorative timber is cut, the surface shows figures in accordance with the direction of cutting with respect to the annual rings in wood. When the cutting is tangential to the annual rings, the figures obtained will be curved as shown:

When the cutting is perpendicular to the annual rings, the figures obtained will be stripes as shown:

Almost the entire production of decorative veneers all over the world is done by a cutting method called slicing. A veneer slicer is a machine with a cutter head consisting of a sharp knife and a counter knife fitted very much like those in a potato slicer. This cutter head is connected to a mechanism which makes it sweep back and forth over a log of wood placed on a sturdy platform. While the cutter head moves back and forth, the platform carrying the log of wood moves into the cutter head, producing one layer of veneer in every forward stroke.

Before a log is sliced, it is cut into a rectangular block to facilitate slicing in a desired direction. A log is first inspected for grains to decide the direction of slicing and then sawn according to the plan, into blocks or flitches. The process of flitching will decide the direction in which the log will be sliced, and thus the formation of figures.

When a log of decorative timber is sliced into thin veneers, each veneer will be seen to be very similar to the adjacent veneer. The change is very gradual and practically imperceptible. It is thus possible to get a large number of veneers looking very similar to one another depending on the size of the log. This enables us to trim the veneers into rectangular strips, match and splice them to produce wide sheets with matched figures.
There are two methods of matching as follows:

In book matching, every alternate strip is flipped horizontally to obtain the mirror image of the adjacent one, as in a book. This produces symmetry in the figure with reference to the center line as shown. Almost the entire production of veneered decorative plywood, today, is done with book matched veneers, on account of its popularity.

In this style of matching, the veneer strips are matched serially, ie., in the order in which they come out of a log. There will be no symmetry in the figure. The matching produces the effect of using timber planks which some interior designers like in certain situations, The picture obtained is as shown.

Fuming of certain tannin rich timbers like oak using ammonia gas results in darkening of the wood substance. The darkening results from the chemical reaction between the acid in wood with the alkaline ammonia, leading to the formation of organic salts. After the treatment, the wood keeps its natural charm, becomes more elastic, less crumbly and gets a silky sheen. On account of the variation in the tannin content in the wood, the fuming process produces exquisite light-and-shadow effects. The colouring of the wood is very durable and light stable too.

Decorative timbers are scarce and very expensive. The regeneration of such timbers is too slow to cope with the rising demand all over the world. The technology of veneer processing enables the industry to get maximum output from the available resources. For example 1 Cubic metre of timber can give about 20 Sqm of 25 mm thick solid planks. Against this we can get 1000 Sqm of 0.5 mm thick veneers from 1 Cubic metre. Veneering, thus, increases the surface coverage from the same input and helps conserve scarce natural resources.

Among the oldest manufacturers of veneered decorative plywood in the country, Anchor has a manufacturing unit right in the very heart of Mumbai city. With an extensive range of veneered decorative plywood, the Anchor unit at Reay Road, Mumbai will fill your soul with sheer delight.

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