A lively debate at the latest London plywood club meeting underlined that palm plywood is a hot topic rousing strong opinions in the trade.

Some believe the material has a place in the lower end of the market. They also maintain it has good eco credentials. It uses a plentiful, renewable by-product from the palm oil industry, plus it substitutes more valuable wood veneers in products for standard applications

But, and it’s a big but, the question is, is it true plywood and should it be referred to as such? A growing body of opinion says categorically not on both counts. Palm, they maintain is not even a true wood. And if the product is called plywood, there’s a risk of it being misused for more demanding, higher spec applications, even structurally, with the potential problems and risks that entails.

Some go further. They say calling it plywood tempts rogue traders to mis-sell it deliberately. In fact, they claim that’s already happening. If the mis-sellers get caught and fined, all well and good. But what if an innocent, unknowing intermediary is caught selling it on as a structural product? Worst of all, what if it subsequently fails in a structural application? That could not only cause injury or worse, it could tarnish other plywood products .

So there’s a demand that palm-cored product should at the very least always be marked and marketed as ‘palm-cored’ and unsuitable for structural use. Some say it’s safer not to call it plywood at all. There’s also an urgent call for it to be tested to UK/EU standards to find out precisely what it is good for.

What’s your view on the subject? Do you think there’s a place in the market for palm-cored ‘plywood’? If so, what should it be called and how should it be labelled and promoted? And do you suspect or even know that it’s being mis-sold as true all-wood plywood?