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
In with the New!
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
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 these 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
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.
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 www.hpva.org and the Architectural Woodwork
Institute www.awinet.org, both in Reston VA
Until next time!
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