A panel with character

Here, we take an in-depth look at Clear-Faced Douglas Fir Decorative Plywood, available in the UK from DHH Panel Products.


Canadian Clear-Faced Douglas Fir is a decorative plywood that’s full of character and flair, and often chosen for its distinctive appearance.

Its matured, sophisticated face, combined with a wild orange hue, gives the panel an unmistakable grain that stands out in any building.

The Douglas Fir face veneer has a rich, complex variety in the heartwood, which ranges from warm yellow to dark brown. This is accompanied by a darker grain banding that gives the face its recognisably distinct appearance, with a light yellow sapwood completing the look.

Tradespeople can enhance the face further using clear lacquers and oils to suit the application and the customer’s preference.

The strength and versatility of the panel makes it suitable for structural and exterior conditions as well as interiors.

Douglas Fir is CE marked to EN:13896/EN:636-3 standards; and the plies are individually bonded with a Class 3 EN:314 waterproof phenolic resin. This means the edges of the ply (when treated) can remain exposed without compromising the overall integrity of the panel. The product also comes with an E1 formaldehyde rating.

The panel is available ex-stock in a stock size of 2,440mm x 1,220mm, and in five thicknesses between 11mm and 24mm. The distinctive face can be supplied on either one or two sides of the panel; with either a solid or softwood core.

From the forests of British Columbia

Douglas Fir Plywood is produced by Richmond Plywood and sourced from PEFC-certified forests situated on the banks of Canada’s iconic Fraser River in British Columbia (BC).

The BC forest gives Canadian Douglas Fir a very specific exposure to the sun during both summer and winter, which means the heartwood can become more or less pronounced depending on the season during which the tree is felled.

The logs then travel via river to the processing plant, where great care is taken to peel high grade, one-piece rotary cut veneers that preserves the characteristic face.

This distinctive face is why Douglas Fir plywood is so popular worldwide, with more than 480,000 cubic meters being produced each year for global distribution.

Suitable for many applications

Douglas Fir Plywood has started to gain a strong reputation for versatility within the UK, with many large commercial buildings, as well as smaller projects, specifying it for use.

The panel can be used for a wide range of applications including fit out, wall lining and joinery projects, as well as furniture manufacture and for structural uses.

A particularly notable example is in the iconic Colyer-Fergusson Building at the University of Kent, where Douglas Fir Plywood was used as wall and ceiling panels.

Designers Tim Ronalds Architects chose Douglas Fir for its colour and vitality, as well as its acoustic ability to reverberate sound around the large concert hall. This project went on to win both a RIBA award and a national Wood Award.

A fit-out favourite

Douglas Fir Plywood can also often be found as part of retail and commercial fit-out projects.

Levi Jeans recently used the material as part of the refurbishment of a number of its stores, including its flagship Covent Garden store. The warm face of the panel is enhanced when a light lacquer is applied, and this was used to create wall panels, shelving units and point-of-sale display stands around sections of the store.

Malin+Goetz also used Douglas Fir Plywood as part of a refurbishment of its shop in Islington, London. Architect Jonathan Tuckey designed the fit-out to create cabinets, shelving and point-of-sale units. The solid core raw plywood edge was left exposed to create a more natural effect and to add character to the finished appearance.

Douglas Fir Plywood is also financially viable for smaller residential and commercial projects such as kitchens. In the picture below, a London-based design studio used Douglas Fir Plywood to design a residential kitchen. The panel was treated with a natural oil to darken the grain and emphasise the detail of the veins, before being used to create cabinets and a central kitchen island.

DHH Panel Products is an exclusive importer of Clear-Faced Douglas Fir Plywood within the UK.

dhhpanelproducts.co.uk