Maple question


I have a question that is really really novice and I'm sorry for asking such a stupid question, but I really have no place else to ask this.
My neighbor is moving and gave me 3 4x8 sheets of 3/4" maple plywood. I'm not sure which side is which, and that's where my question is. One side seems to have no sections that were joined together, but the grain is very thick. It is also a small bit darker. The other side is very smooth, nice looking grain, but the veneer is in roughly 12" strips so you can see where it was either folded or joined or however it is done.
I like the grain and coloring in the "pieced together" side better than the other side. I decided to use this for a new desk and bookcase for the office.
Which side is up? Is there a right and wrong? Is one side a better "grade" but pieced together and the other side a worse grade but in wider sheets?
I've hunted the net and found many pages discussing how veneer is cut, but nothing explaining which side is up.
Jeff
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The pieced together section is probably made to look like planks of wood. Usually, there will be "bookmatched", symmetrical sections on the good side.
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"grade"
Generally there is a "better side". The "big-sheet side" is rotory cut. It is likely the lesser grade side. Rotory cut IMHO (and apparently yours too) looks inferior because perpetually flatsawn wood does not exist in nature and therefore looks "not quite right".
That said, there is nothing that says you can't use the rotory cut side if that suited you. Choose the side based on which looks best to you.
-Steve
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That's probably the most important factor ;-)
When I look at plywood, I usually notice that on one side you can tell where the seams are more than the other side. I usually consider the side with the less obvious seams the "good" side.
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But the "seamed" side looks more like individual boards glued together.
--
BNSF = Build Now, Seep Forever

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Look for the grade stamp. It will be on the back (lower grade) side. If there is no stamp mark on either side, then look at the edges. When you find the writing, lay the sheet down so that this writing is right side up. The top side of the panel will then be the front (higher grade) side.
--
Charley



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When you say the grain is very thick and darker I think you are looking at the back side. I assume by thick you mean rough. If you have a piece of ply and one side is smooth and one not smooth, then the smooth side is the good face. No question.
All that being said, use the side you like the look of the best.
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Absolutely. Might be the same as some oak I got a while back, too. Rotary on one face, flitch slice on the other.
With maple and birch, they tend to use the darker heartwood veneers as the counterpoint to the light sapwood the customer expects.
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