Frequently (and even infrequently) Asked Questions

"Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing." Euripides, the Greek Poet said that. 3000 years later, we still don't know what the heck he was talking about.

There are just a lot of question in life. Some get asked more frequently than others. Some don't get asked that often but they're good questions never-the-less. We have several of the former and a few of the latter right here in our F.A.Q. section.

Q: “Curved plywood… you must start with sheets of flat plywood and steam bend them!”  
Sorry, wrong.  Companies who make sheets of flat plywood use heated platens and multiple opening presses and they do a fine job of it so we leave the flat stuff to them.  We begin with the individual layers of wood veneer, coat every other layer with adhesive, and place the loose stack of veneer layers between two halves of a mold having the desired final shape.  We then close the mold in a press and apply dielectric heat from a radio wave generator.  Kind of like an industrial micro-wave if you will.  And, it's a very different process than that used to make flat plywood.

Q: “Does Plyforms make flat plywood?”
Not on purpose, but stuff happens. No, ideally, our plywood all sports a curve to some degree or manner. That said, on rare occasion we have made flat plywood, usually when excessive part thickness made use of the other guy’s heated platens impractical and our radio frequency dielectric heat was just the ticket. But in general, our thing is curved plywood and we’re mad for it. You wouldn’t want someone making your curved plywood who wasn’t, would you?

Q: “I have a great idea. Will Plyforms help me design and build a prototype?”
It depends. It’s not that we don’t like ideas. 'Heaven knows we’ve had a few and know how exciting they can be, with or without giraffes in vinyl trousers. It’s just that our manufacturing process is geared toward the production of truckloads of parts as opposed to a few prototype pieces and unless your name starts with Bill and ends with Gates, it probably isn’t cost effective for us to handle the inherent fits and starts of the product development phase. Hey, we’re just being honest and upfront with you.

On the other hand, if your idea involves some combination of a catapult, absinthe, time travel, and a Viking princess named “Vicki,” it’s imperative that you CALL US RIGHT NOW!

Q: "What’s a dieboard?"
It’s a secret. Think black, silent helicopters... Honestly, if you don’t already know, you probably don’t want or need to, but if your curiosity simply cannot be held in check, well, dieboards are actually wood tooling used in the manufacture of corrugated paper (“cardboard”) boxes.  

A rotary dieboard is a semi-cylinder of hard plywood to which cunningly curved knives are attached.  Two of these boards are bolted onto a steel cylinder which forms the upper portion of the rotary die-cutter. The lower portion is another cylinder covered with hard urethane.  The two cylinders are brought together and spun rapidly in opposite directions.  Cardboard sheets are fed between the two cylinders and the knives mounted on the plywood dieboard cut out pizza boxes or grocery store display cartons or whatever you’re making faster than your eye can see it happening.  You touch something cut out with a dieboard virtually every day of your life.

To be clear, Plyforms only makes the curved plywood dieboard, which we then sell to a die maker who adds the knives and they then sell the finished dieboard to a box plant who finally uses it to actually make boxes.  And it all started with a tree in the woods.

Q: "Do you make furniture?"
No, but our customers do. Plyforms makes the curved plywood furniture components and frames which furniture manufacturers like Sauder then cut to size, stain, and assemble into the chairs you sit in.

We did try to make a “lighter-than-air” inflatable chair once. It didn’t make it past the testing stage due to an unfortunate incident involving a chain-smoking beta-tester, hydrogen inflation, and the F.A.A. Live and learn, we say. So would our tester (let’s call him “Ash”), but he still isn’t talking to us. Or sitting much...

Q: “Does Plyforms sell retail products?”

Q: “Is Plyforms hiring?”
Well, from time-to-time, yes. We tried robots for a while but they became self-aware and it all ended in tears and scrap metal. So, we’re back to human employees. Hiring is handled all through Bay Technical Staffing. If you’re interested, call them at 989.662.7552.

Q: "What’s so great about plywood anyway?"
Gosh, where to start? Plywood is just really, really great in a lot of ways. First, you can mold it into shapes. Not “Venus de Milo” sort of shapes (although one employee did create an ugly de-lamination once that bore a slight resemblance to Rosie O’Donnell) but the very useful sort described in our Products section. Do you know the odds of a rotary dieboard occurring naturally in nature? Neither do we, but you just have to know that it just doesn’t happen very often. That’s what’s so great about plywood.

Second, plywood is crazy strong.  This has to do with the fact that each layer of veneer has it’s grain running in a opposite, crisscross direction than its neighbors.  Hence, plywood is actually stronger than a solid piece of wood of the same size cut from a tree.  That is, assuming you could find a tree large enough to cut a single-piece chair frame from.

Third, it has these really cool lines on it from the layers of veneer and it looks really slick. And you can make as thick or long or wide as you want it.  Within reason of course.

Have a question not listed above?
Send us an email and ask.