Unfortunately, the term “marine grade” gets thrown around a lot and has created many misconceptions about what it is and how it should be used. These days when someone specifies they need marine grade plywood they could be searching for a waterproof product to be used for exterior work on boats that will coming into direct contact with water and possibly submerged completely, or they could be seeking an exterior grade plywood that have some water resistance to be used for something like a house in a wet climate. These are only two examples of the many applications for which marine grade plywood is used.
Water resistance, weight, strength, and ease of bending are all important factors to consider before deciding which type of marine plywood to buy. The most common species available in marine plywood are Okoume, Okoume Gaboon, Meranti, and Douglas Fir. As with all our products, J. Gibson McIlvain strives to provide a higher quality. We offer two types of marine grade plywood: Douglas Fir and Okoume Gaboon plywood.
Douglas Fir marine plywood is very strong, bends well, and is of medium weight. It is the cheapest of options for marine plywood, and the faces may have up to five patches or repairs but no voids. Although the grading term is no longer in use, a BS 6566 grade could be applied to our Douglas Fir plywood. It excels in all things except appearance. The lower BS 6566 grade means that the appearance is not as good as BS 1088 and knots and patches may be apparent, but it still meets the high standards for weather and boil proof (WBP) glue that is key to keep the plies from de-laminating. The early and late growth common with a softwood can leave an uneven surface that will telegraph its inconsistencies through a fiberglass or epoxied surface. This is the plywood to use in the many areas where it will not be seen. The natural weather resistance that is inherent with Douglas Fir makes this an outstanding plywood for marine use.
Our Bruynzeel Okoume Gaboon (Aucoumea klaineana) plywood is rated as BS 1088 and is the best product to be used for boat building and extreme environments. Okoume Gaboon is an African species that is very similar to Mahogany that has a very consistent appearance with a tight grain and is very light. Of course it is also highly weather resistant. When used as a plywood that is treated with WBP phenolic glue and laminated with a 100% Okoume Gaboon core, it is very durable, weighs little, and finishes like glass. This is the product to choose for decking and exterior surfaces that need to be veneered with an attractive wood, painted, fiberglassed, or epoxied. Our Bruynzeel plywood is of a very high quality and is sought after by the best boat builders in the world. J. Gibson McIlvain is an exclusive North American distributor of Bruynzeel plywood. Learn more about this truly top quality marine plywood with this Bruynzeel Spec. Sheet
Both species are available in a variety of thicknesses with rotary cut faces and zero voids. The veneer ply count may vary depending on whether the product is domestic or imported. We do this on purpose to offer options for those looking to bend the plywood in boat building applications who may require more or fewer veneers.