The only Wreck reference I find mentions that it may stink, but the
thread was from 2001. Anyone with recent experience? Kitchen cabinet
boxes a good use for this stuff? I understand it's very smooth on both
sides and a lot cheaper than say birch ply. Anyone know what this is
made from and why it would be considerably less expensive. Imported?
I use it all the time. I can get contractor birch for $25 and Lauan for
$21 and unless I just want a cream panel I'll use Virolla. Most of the
time it has a nice red tint. My hardwood supplier list Lauan and virola
as two different species but most places stock it as the same wood. It's
one of 28 to 32 species from the Indonesian part of the world. It does
have a smell sometimes. That's the phenolic glue that's used.
It is a South American - not Indonesian - hard wood similar in
appearance and properties to "Luan" or "Phillipine mahogany" (which is
actually a term for a melange of various trees).
I wouldn't exactly describe it as "smooth" as the wood is quite open,
just as is Phillipine mahogany. It tends to be splintery on the edges.
All that I have ever seen has been rotary cut...looks innocuous but not
I wouldn't hesitate to use it for your intended use but if you want to
cap the raw edges you may have trouble finding lumber to use that is
similar in appearance.
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I don't think I've seen Virola but Lauan has a huge variation
in appearance. I made some footlockers from 3/4" Lauan that
had a bold grain and used red oak edge banding on it--it matches
well, believe it or not. Other Lauans are more fine-grined and
cocao-colored and would be well-matched with mahogany edge banding.
Home Depot and Lowes have carried this plywood for a few
years now. It splinters easily on cross cuts but on occasion,
you find some pretty interesting grain patterns on one side.
It's fine for shop grade stuff and with a little care, could be
used for kitchen cabinets.
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