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So, I've been at the craft for decades, and I've been stumped about this ever since I came across this.

A few years back, I saw a Facebook Marketplace ad for exotic lumber for sale, and the prices being listed were... surreal. So I went. It turned out that the place was a woodworking school-cum-shared-workplace. Like a Hammerspace meets a Community College. The company that owned the building they were in had changed hands and they were being evicted due to liability concerns. As such, they were firesaling their lumber and sheet goods.

These guys had like 18 table saws, 3 24+" planers, a half dozen door-width drum sanders, more dust collection than you can imagine... In short: industrial equipment. LOTS of it. Multiple guilds' worth. And they were (justifiably) PANICKING. I felt terrible. So I volunteered to help. I spent the weekend helping them pallet and move their tools and equipment to their temp storage until they could secure a new facility.

At the end of the weekend, they made a gift to me of about three quarters of a ton of lumber. Mostly exotics, some sheet goods, etc. I've used much of it by now, but a few months ago, as I was digging through one of the short-length bins, I stumbled onto some plywood that I now recalled them giving me, but before then I'd never seen before. It's super-high-grade ply, maybe not Baltic Birch (the plies aren't that fine), but ApplePly quality at least - certainly no voids, knots, or fills - except the plies run perpendicular to the face. As if someone stacked and bonded hundred upon hundreds of plies together, then used what woulda had to have been a mill-sized bandsaw to cut it into 2" thick sheets. With the plies running 90 degrees to the way you'd expect.

To be clear, here:

enter image description here

No: it was not just several sheets glued up. There's no surface veneer in between. It's also durable as hell. Not like you'd expect: it's abnormally-heavy. It almost feels stabilized, but it's not; it feels like plywood under table saw or handsaw. This was MANUFACTURED this way; I'm categorically-certain. But I'll be damned if I know by WHOM or WHY. I have several pieces of this stuff, and I haven't the foggiest idea A: what it's FOR, and B: what it IS/IS CALLED. Has anyone else ever seen this stuff?

UPDATE: Graphus (in the comments below, ~but who hasn't actually created an answer I can choose as Best hint, hint)~ (UPDATE II Thank you Graphus), discovered Plexwood, which, if it's NOT the same stuff, it's so close as it makes no nevermind. They've also some drop-dead gorgeous stuff on offer... dear reader: treat yourself. Whether you like plywood as a media or not... you GOTTA admit...

enter image description here

...it's hard to argue with how hot some of this stuff is.

enter image description here

Thanks a million Graphus! Post and answer and I'll credit you in a hot second!

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    "No: it was not just several sheets glued up." How would you be able to tell? Glueing up from strips cut from normal ply is how stuff similar to this is generally made up (see many YT vids, esp. Michael Alm) and once finished off it looks like a manufactured product... which of course it sort of is :-) If the primary factor that seems to discount starting from ply is the lack of a thin surface veneer, not all plywood has a surface veneer. Certain all-hardwood ply is like this, there are shelf ends in a local library made from stuff with uniform plies throughout (all beech it seems). [contd]
    – Graphus
    Dec 9, 2023 at 8:15
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    But if I were tasked with custom-making this myself in a fully kitted out commercial workshop I'd start with a decent normal ply and simply remove the thin veneer as the first process — easily arranged in a shop with a wide-belt sander or a planer/thicknesser.
    – Graphus
    Dec 9, 2023 at 8:17
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    I kept on looking for stuff related to this trying various search terms relating to vertical plies and came across a few historical references to something that might have been like this (V-ply, apparently no longer made) but eventually stumbled across Plexwood. Is that it perhaps?
    – Graphus
    Dec 9, 2023 at 8:57
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    Google ‘patterned plywood’ and come back and tell us if that might be it. Dec 9, 2023 at 13:40
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    And hardness-wise, is it more softwood or bamboo? Dec 9, 2023 at 13:42

1 Answer 1

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It may not be exactly what you have there but Plexwood is the closest thing I could locate, after trying many different search options.

Plexwood sample grid

I say the closest, but actually it was the only thing I could find that seemed to fit the bill; I find this surprising given the obvious appeal of the product, but it may be reflective of the difficulty of manufacture.

Other than scant historical references to something called V-ply back in its day (which may or may not have been quite like this) I was completely unable to locate anything else remotely similar, other than user-made "patterned plywood".

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  • There it is! Sorry it took me so long to notice you'd converted it to a formal answer!
    – NerdyDeeds
    Dec 31, 2023 at 23:37
  • De nada. Happy new year!
    – Graphus
    Jan 1 at 8:21

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