Luan Plywood?

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Forum topic by tool_junkie posted 02-09-2012 05:02 PM 9881 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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326 posts in 2763 days

02-09-2012 05:02 PM

Hello Everyone,

I was in Menards the other day and noticed 3/4” Luan Plywood. The veneer on it looked very pretty and I really wanted to buy it instead of the birch I bought, but wasn’t sure. (I was gonna dark stain the birch).

I haven’t seen Luan plywood mentioned on this forum a whole lot. So, I am wondering if it is not a good material to use for furniture type projects?


5 replies so far

View MrRon's profile


5258 posts in 3477 days

#1 posted 02-09-2012 05:20 PM

Luan is much softer than birch and probably won’t hold up over a long period of time.

View Dusty56's profile


11830 posts in 3922 days

#2 posted 02-09-2012 05:46 PM

Lauan is a generic term for several species related to Mahogany. It is used for doors, paneling , plywoods, etc.. I see no reason that you couldn’t use it for “furniture type projects”. We sell it (Meranti) as decking and 2x stock along with 3/4,5/4,8/4 stock. It is pretty hard , and I have no clue as to MrRon’s comment about it not lasting a long period of time. The Birch part of Birch plywood is usually only the very outermost veneers ,ie: the faces that you see , and they aren’t thick enough to matter.

LAUAN: The wood of trees of several genera of the Philippines, Malaya, and Sarawak, known in the American market as Philippine mahogany. The woods resemble mahogany in general appearance, weight, and strength but the shrinkage and swelling with changes in moisture are greater than in the true mahoganies.

The lauan woods are used for furniture and cabinet woods, paneling, and for boatbuilding. The lauans belong chiefly to the genus Shorea, and the various species have local or common names. The so-called dark-red Philippine mahogany is tangile, S. polysperma, and red lanan, S. negrosensis. Tangile is also called Bataan mahogany, and has the closest resemblance to true mahogany of all the species. The thick sapwood is light red, and the heartwood dark brownish red. It has greater tendency to warp than mahogany. Red lauan has larger pores, but is favored for boat construction because of the large sizes available. Tiaong, from the S. teysmanniana, resembles tangile but is lighter and softer. Almon, from the tree S. eximia, is harder and stronger than red lauan or tangile, but is coarser in texture and less lustrous.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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17 posts in 2533 days

#3 posted 02-09-2012 06:05 PM

Luan is usually cheaper than your typical plywood, but it is made with less support in the middle and is softer than birch, like Ron said. If you’re using it for a smaller project, it might be advantageous because of the price and how easy it is to cut, but if you’re going to build furniture that has to support a lot of weight I would be hesitant to use entirely luan.

-- Premiere Tree Services Network:

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2909 days

#4 posted 02-09-2012 06:10 PM

In my area it is sold as plywood or in the manufacturing of drawers only. We use it for drawer bottoms and that type of thing. Furniture backs etc. It is a good serviceable plywood as long as you know what you need and know what you are getting.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2719 days

#5 posted 02-09-2012 07:18 PM

I used thin Luan plywood for the bottom of the drawers in the jewelry box I made. Worked pretty well for that application.

-- Brian Timmons -

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