The Exotic Woods Dictionary of Plywood Abbreviations

Vendor: Exotic Woods Inc

Product Type: Plywood


Plywood has many variations. The terminology can be confusing and when the phrases get abbreviated, even more so. In an attempt to clear things up, we offer the following guide to the most commonly used terms. There are pages and pages of criteria used in the grading and designation of sheet goods and new products are developed regularly…we have only touched on the basics here.

* For a description of Baltic Birch grades, please visit the Baltic Birch pages.

G1S: Presentation face on one side only. The backer veneer is for stability only.

G2S: The front and rear faces are of the same species.

FLITCH: A stack of veneer cut sequentially from the same board or log.

FC, FS: Flat Cut or Flat Sliced veneer

QTD: Quartersawn veneer

Rift: Rift sawn veneer

R/Q; Rift face, Quartersawn back

Rotary: peeled veneer (think paper towel roll)

PG: Paint grade, may contain filled knots and flaws.

VENEER GRADES: Alphabetical for face veneer, numerical for back veneer

  • A: clear, book-matched veneers no less than 6” wide

  • B: clear, book-matched or slip-matched veneers no less than 3” wide

  • C: allows for small imperfections and knots less than 1/4” repaired or not

  • D: unlimited colour streaks and colour variation, repaired flaws no larger than 1-1/2” diameter

  • 1 or 2 back, same species as front veneer, generally clean but lower standards applied. 3or 4 backs are considered utility grades. Sheets with #3 or #4 backs are considered G1S.


Factory second, with veneer anomalies (overlaps, folds or voids in the veneer face or back) or some minor damage to an edge. No more than 10% damage total over both faces.

CORE: the inner substrate

  • VC – Veneer Core. What we generally understand plywood to be, thin layers of wood (veneer) glue together.

  • PC – Particle Core. Sawdust and glue pressed for a very flat surface to adhere veneers to.

  • MDF – Medium Density Fibreboard. Wood fibre mixed with waxes and resins and pressed into sheets.


  • R/Q, VC, B-1 = rift sawn face with a quartersawn back (usually white oak) on veneer (plywood) core, B face and #1 back

  • FC, PC, A-1 SHOP = flat cut veneer both faces on particle core, A face and #1 back with some irregularities in veneer or some damage.

  • MDF A-4 = MDF core, A face, utility back. This is a G1S sheet.