Between the time panels are manufactured and put into their final application, there are many opportunities for hardwood plywood panels to be damaged. The following handling and storage tips should be observed at every step along the route to ensure the panels reach their final destination unscathed.
The best way to minimize handling damage is by handling the panels as little as possible. Plan your warehousing and process flow operations to minimize the need to handle the panels.
When you do need to move panels, make sure that they are properly secured and strapped. This will minimize the chances that the units will unexpectedly shift during transport.
Keep the panels properly protected until they are ready for use on the job site. The proper dunnage will absorb many handling dings and nicks before they reach the panels.
Properly trained employees are your best defense against damage. Make sure all employees are trained in the proper and safe use of fork trucks, pallet jacks, and other handling equipment. If your employees are careful and know how to handle panels, your panels will stay in good shape.
Proper stacking is vitally important to protecting panels. Make sure you maintain clean stacks with no protruding edges. When stacking units, keep similar lengths of similar product together and maintain proper alignment and quality of stacking sticks to avoid bending or flexing panels. The sticks should be thick enough to allow fork truck tines to pass unobstructed between units.
Wood is a natural material and is negatively affected by extreme swings in temperature. Also, wood stored in direct sunlight may heat up enough to warp. To minimize damage, storage temperatures should be maintained between 60–90ºF.
Extreme swings in humidity and direct contact with water can both damage the appearance and performance of hardwood panels. It is extremely important to store panels in a climate controlled environment to eliminate the impacts of moisture. The storage environment’s relative humidity should mimic the anticipated service environment, usually 30–55% RH.
Although most wood will change color upon exposure to sunlight, the effect is more pronounced in some of the species commonly used in hardwood panels. Cherry, for example, will begin to change color within a few hours of exposure to sunlight. For that reason, panels should be neatly stacked and covered during storage
Hardwood plywood is packaged in attractive unit covers that also help protect the panels from damage. Each panel is end stamped with the grade, species and standards. Special services, such as barcoding are also available upon request.
Delivery and Fabrication
Do not deliver panels to the job site until they are needed and the site is ready, but allow at least 48 hours for the panels to acclimate to the use environment before installation. Panels that aren’t given enough time to acclimate on the job site prior to fabrication may warp during use.
The panel is constructed to provide the best possible machining results when sawn, routed, shaped and drilled. Proper nails, screws and other fasteners may be placed near the edge without splitting the panel
It is recommended that fine-grit sandpaper and sanding sealer be used prior to staining. Because hardwoods react differently to certain finishes, a test sample should be done first, to determine the desired appearance before final finishing.