A viable alternative to Russian Birch Plywood

When selecting plywood for woodworking projects, making an informed decision is crucial. Despite the ban on Russian imports, Birch Plywood from European suppliers is still a great choice for many, available in the UK through companies such as DHH Panel Products. Supplying Timber finds out more.

DHH is constantly being asked for B/BB Birch plywood, which was traditionally sourced from Russia but is now illegal to import due to government sanctions imposed in April 2022. 

As a responsible supplier, DHH Panel Products is committed to complying with the Responsible Purchasing Policy; and therefore only purchases products from legal and sustainable sources. For almost 35 years, DHH has maintained strong relationships with suppliers across Europe – including Latvia, Poland, Estonia, and Finland.

A sample of Panguaneta ‘Maple Superior’ Sample. Can be differentiated from the similar ‘birch’ photo below by its slightly darker tone.
(Credit: © Panguaneta)

In order to continue to supply the gap created by the sanctions, DHH can offer customers a viable alternative – Panguaneta’s B/BB rotary cut Birch or Maple faced Poplar Plywood with a one-piece face veneer. 

These products are suitable for customers that need a decorative, defect-free face for their projects when BB/BB Birch faces are not quite good enough. The faces can be lacquered and coated in a similar way to B faced Birch and are a great alternative when seeking the same look.

Due diligence

This product stands out as a safe and legal alternative to Birch Plywood. Panguaneta, like DHH, has created a robust Due Diligence System that enables the company to closely monitor the forest of origin of the logs used to create these high-quality veneers. 

Panguaneta and DHH work closely together to ensure the products are meeting the guidelines set out under EUTR and UKTR. Unfortunately, some companies still appear to risk prosecution by importing illegal products with B/BB faces from China and other countries where birch is not harvested. These products are most likely using Russian logs, and therefore are not a safe and legal choice.

For many specifiers and designers that were looking for B/BB or S+/BB Birch Plywood, Birch and Maple B/BB faced products are becoming the go-to alternative.

The Poplar species itself is fast-growing and has been developed for the plywood industry. It is grown in Northern Italy along the banks of the River Po. This means the Poplar trees play a vital role in safeguarding the natural habitats biodiversity.

Panguaneta’s commitment to sustainability is evident through its EPD certification. Its Birch and Maple Faced Plywood is PEFC certified and, with its ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) glue bond, it meets stringent environmental standards.

The outer faces feature quality decorative Birch veneers with aesthetic appeal that allows for a clearer B face with BB reverse. One of the other big positives for the panels is they have a void-free core that is also available in multi veneer, so it has an identical core make up to Birch plywood in ply numbers, and the plywood edge can also be revealed in the same way. These lightweight panels also have a glue bond, which is ideal for laser cutting and have a stable moisture content between 8 and 13% which aids flatness.

The B/BB Birch faced plywood as well as the poplar throughout plywood is a highly stable panel with multi-veneered lightweight construction making it suitable and durable for many applications; from furniture production to fit outs, as well as general joinery projects. The lightweight feature of this panel makes it easy to carry and transport. This has made it a hit with the automotive, caravan, boat and yacht building industries where weight is a major consideration. The thinner panel is also popular with the craft industry which often requires 3, 4 or 6mm laser plywood.

These B/BB Poplar core boards are lightweight, have a void free, multi-veneer core and are, ultimately, a safe and legal choice for decorative faces.