Plywood is used in many applications that need high-quality, high-strength sheet material. Quality in this context means resistance to cracking, breaking, shrinkage, twisting and warping.
Exterior glued plywood is suitable for outdoor use, but because moisture affects the strength of wood, optimal performance is achieved where the moisture content remains relatively low. Subzero conditions do not affect the dimensional or strength properties of plywood, making some special applications possible.
Plywood is also used as an engineering material for stressed-skin applications. It has been used for marine and aviation applications since WWII. Most notable is the British de Havilland Mosquito bomber, with a fuselage made of birch plywood sandwiching a balsa core, and using plywood extensively for the wings. Plywood was also used for the hulls in the hard-chine Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB) and Motor Gun Boats (MGB) built by the British Power Boat Company and Vosper‘s. Plywood is currently successfully used in stressed-skin applications. The American designers Charles and Ray Eames are known for their plywood-based furniture, as is Finnish Architect Alvar Aalto and his firm Artek, while Phil Bolger has designed a wide range of boats built primarily of plywood. Jack Köper of Cape Town designed the plywood Dabchick sailing dinghy, which as of 2015 is still sailed by large numbers of teenagers. Plywood is often used to create curved surfaces because it can easily bend with the grain. Skateboard ramps often utilize plywood as the top smooth surface over bent curves to create transition that can simulate the shapes of ocean waves.