Columbia PureBond
W O O D   W O R K S
March 2010   Vol. 8
Columbia Newsletter
History of the Product Standard
Out with the Old!

Most producers of hardwood and decorative plywood manufacture panels in accordance with what is most commonly called the HP-1 product standard, a fact widely known and accepted in our industry. However, every once in a while someone will call or email to ask me if our product is manufactured to the CS35-31 standard, the PS51-71 standard, or any variation of either, a clear indication that someone somewhere hasn't updated their files in a while. Many times the questioner has checked with several sources only to find no one is familiar with either of these "latest" standards. My response:  inform all in the chain of communication that led to that question to toss those standards and step into the present!

In with the New!

ANSI Standard

The reason for the above conundrum is that the standards specified have evolved into what we know today as the formally referenced American National Standard for Hardwood and Decorative Plywood, ANSI/HPVA HP-1-2004, approved May 6, 2004, aka "the standard," the "ANSI standard", the "HPVA Standard", "HP-1", and various others.  The old referenced standards are essentially defunct!
A Little History

By the early 1900s, the fledgling plywood industry was beginning to make inroads into the building materials market.  This structurally sound innovative product was becoming widely available with the advent of modern peeling and drying equipment.  It was economical in that not only was it less costly than solid wood, but also it was a real time saver compared to the traditional method of placing diagonal strips of sub-floor and roofing lumber strips.  Add to that advancing adhesive technology to include grain glutens and animal proteins (that brings back visions of the old grey mare being led to a big building with a gigantic sign reading "Glue Factory", doesn't it?) and it is easy to see how this product could become so popular.  By 1931 several manufacturers had also discovered that certain hardwood species like oak and birch could be peeled and used as outer skins, thus making these formerly structural panels now attractive as decorative interior panels to take the place of old fashioned veneering techniques used to manufacture furniture one piece at a time. 

In fact, by that time representatives of CS 35-31 Standardthese manufacturers determined that it would be in their best interest to establish a standard for appearance and certain applicable properties such as width, length, thickness, and glue bond performance, among others.  The result was the Commercial Standard, CS 35-31, published under sanctions of the US Department of Commerce.  The standard contained all the aforementioned requirements for 2 face grades:  Premium and Good.  Did you know that "Good One Side" was once a formal standard grade?

NBS Standard
Over time, that standard was revised 5 times until it was replaced by the National Bureau of Standards NBS Voluntary Product Standard PS 51-71 in January of 1972.  In 1983, PS 51-71 was rendered obsolete with the requirement that voluntary product standards be published under guidelines developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).  The new standard, developed by the then Hardwood Plywood Manufacturers' Association ANSI/HPMA  HP-1-1983 has since been revised 6 times, including 2 unsanctioned interim standards culminating with the current Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association ANSI/HPVA HP-1-2004 standard and its extensive narrative and tables for 6 face grades, 4 back grades, and 4 inner ply grades.

Other Standards
AWI Standards While the HP-1-2004 standard prevails for our industry, the Architectural Woodwork Standards are often referenced for high quality millwork utilizing highly specified veneers.  In most cases, any other standard that may be referenced in a set of specifications is either not applicable to hardwood stock panel production, or an indication that the product is destined for very restrictive applications such as aircraft or marine.
For Additional Information...

Or, to purchase copies of their respective standards, you may want to contact the Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association and the Architectural Woodwork Institute, both in Reston VA USA.

Until next time!

Ang Schramm

Columbia Forest Products
In This Issue
History of the Product Standard
In with the New!
A Little History
Other Standards
What is Wood Works?
Wood Works Newsletter
CFP University
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