Ply­wood: the broad­est prod­uct of­fer in Aus­tralia

Australasian Timber - - PLYWOODS -

PLY­WOOD IS one of the most pop­u­lar tim­ber choices among the Aus­tralian con­struc­tion in­dus­try thanks to its un­par­al­leled ver­sa­til­ity. Big River Group, one of Aus­tralia’s lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­ers and dis­trib­u­tors of tim­ber and build­ing prod­ucts, in­stalled its first ve­neer peel­ing lathe in 1947 in its Grafton site. The open­ing of the Junc­tion Hill site fol­lowed in 1960, with new lathes and dry­ers for pro­cess­ing high-grade tim­ber ve­neers, and in 1983 the com­pany in­stalled its first ply­wood press­ing as­sets to be­gin the pro­duc­tion of form­ply.

Now, 70 years on, the com­pany has one of the largest ply­wood prod­uct of­fers in Aus­tralia.

This is in part thanks to the $17mil­lion up­grade of the group’s Wagga Wagga site, pur­chased in 2007. The in­vest­ment in­creased the site’s pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity four-fold, and greatly ex­panded its prod­uct range.

The Wagga Wagga plant fo­cuses on high-vol­ume com­mod­ity lines while the Grafton site pro­duces spe­cial­ist tim­ber, hav­ing been equipped with a new spindle­less lathe and scarf­ing ma­chine.

Al­though the man­u­fac­ture of ply­wood hasn’t al­tered much in the last cen­tury, these changes to the Grafton Mill al­lowed Big River Group to de­velop and re­fine more niche ap­pli­ca­tions of ply­wood. In­deed, Big River ply­wood can be tai­lored to suit an ex­ten­sive range of ap­pli­ca­tions, and is now of­ten used as a fea­ture ma­te­rial.

The range in­cludes: Ar­mour­ply and Ar­mour­panel These hard­wood ply­woods are man­u­fac­tured in Grafton from sev­eral dif­fer­ent Aus­tralian na­tive species. As F22 and F27 ply­woods, these are some of the strong­est avail­able in the world.

Ar­mour­panel is the dec­o­ra­tive fin­ish ver­sion and it main­tains the high-strength prop­er­ties, while also lend­ing it­self well to high-qual­ity dec­o­ra­tive fin­ish. Ap­pli­ca­tions in­clude floor­ing in high-de­mand com­mer­cial build­ings, com­po­nents in fur­ni­ture and cab­i­netry, and fea­ture walls, floors and ceil­ings in apart­ments, homes, of­fices or shops.


Big River Ar­mour­form is one of the strong­est form­ply prod­ucts in the world and can be made up to an F27 stress rat­ing. It has been used on count­less con­crete form­work con­struc­tions sites both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, and is a key prod­uct for both sites.

The high-strength hard­wood form­ply man­u­fac­tured in Grafton can be found in many cat­tle and stock crates and trail­ers around the coun­try where the durable hard­wood ve­neers used in its con­struc­tion al­low it to en­dure harsh en­vi­ron­ments.

Form­ply can also be used dec­o­ra­tively in fur­ni­ture and cab­i­netry as it’s avail­able in a range of thick­nesses, strength rat­ings and fin­ish qual­i­ties.

Struc­tural ply­wood

A lead­ing com­mod­ity for the Wagga Wagga

Mill, struc­tural ply­wood can be used in mul­ti­ple ways; from floor­ing and brac­ing in res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial con­struc­tions, to fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­ture, por­ta­ble build­ings, home handyman jobs and many more.

Sev­eral dif­fer­ent treat­ments and fin­ishes can also be used to con­sid­er­ably ex­tend its ca­pa­bil­i­ties. For ex­am­ple, it can be chem­i­cally treated to re­sist pest or fun­gal at­tack in high ex­po­sure and ex­te­rior ap­pli­ca­tions, and it can be ma­chined for a dec­o­ra­tive fin­ish or to re­sist sur­face check­ing from harsh weather.

Sound­bar­rier is a prod­uct that utilises both of these pro­cesses to cre­ate a highly durable tim­ber. It is used to line a num­ber of high­ways, com­mer­cial sites, schools and even home yards.

Anti-slip ply­wood

This spe­cial­ist ply­wood is man­u­fac­tured in Grafton and is avail­able in a va­ri­ety of thick­nesses and strength rat­ings. The anti-slip coat­ing can be ap­plied in yel­low, black or grey al­low­ing the prod­uct to be colour matched to its sur­rounds. Ap­pli­ca­tions in­clude tem­po­rary walk­ways and ramps at con­struc­tion sites, as well as per­ma­nent in­stal­la­tions such as dis­abled ac­cess ramps.


Bridge­ply is pri­mar­ily used to re­pair ex­ist­ing tim­ber bridges, sav­ing sub­stan­tial time and money com­pared to re-build­ing, or re­pair­ing us­ing tra­di­tional hard­wood plank bridge decks. (see our spe­cial fea­ture in the May edi­tion of Aus­tralasian Tim­ber). It’s man­u­fac­tured through a col­lab­o­ra­tive process util­is­ing both sites for dif­fer­ent pro­duc­tion steps.

Both sites can man­u­fac­ture ply­wood in 2400 x 1200, and 1800 x 1200 panel sizes, as well as cut to size. Grafton Mill has a scarf join­ing ma­chine which al­lows ply­wood ma­chin­ing to al­most any sheet size within the lim­its of trans­porta­tion. The long­est or­der made to date is a 13.1m sheet of Bridge­ply, which was car­ried on a 14m long semi-trailer.

As tes­ta­ment to Big River Group’s strong ser­vice cul­ture and tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise, the in­dus­try heavy­weight has sev­eral new man­u­fac­tur­ing ini­tia­tives planned over the next year, and in­no­va­tion for Aus­tralian ply­wood is set to thrive.

Now, 70 years on, the com­pany has one of the largest ply­wood prod­uct of­fers in Aus­tralia.

■ Lounge and kitchen in Big River Ar­mour­panel Spot­ted Gum ply­wood. Photo by Grant Kennedy.

■ Big River Form­ply be­ing loaded at Grafton Mill.

■ Big River ve­neer join­ing at Wagga Wagga Mill.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.