What is the Best Wood for Crating

Wood work backgroundIf you have the need to have items crated for shipping, the first option you might confronted with is what kind of wood your crate should be constructed out of. There are typically two main categories of wood that are used for building crates: plywood and oriented strand board (OSB). Both of them have their benefits and downfalls. Let’s take a look at these different kinds of woods that can be used for crating and see which one might better suit your crating needs.

Plywood Construction

Plywood comes in sheets of varying thickness. It is made by taking thin sheets of wood and stacking them on top of each other. In order to add thickness, more sheets are glued on top of one another. You can see this by looking at the edge of a piece of plywood. There will be varying layers of wood and glue that are clearly visible. For crate construction, the plywood sheets are cut down to the specific measurements that are needed for your application.


OSB also comes in large sheets that will be cut down to size for your application. OSB is created very differently than plywood. However, the materials are the same: wood and glue. In the case of OSB, instead of thin sheets the wood is coarsely chopped. These chips can be left-overs from lumber that did not meet quality standards or be lumber specifically for the creation of OSB. The wood chips are bound together with the glue and laid out in flat sheets of varying thickness. Again, you can see this clearly when looking at OSB, as the wood chips stand out very plainly.

OSB or Plywood for Crates

The real question is which one is better to make a crate out of. Truth is, depending on the situation either one could be the answer.

Cost: Cost is the first factor that you might want to consider when comparing woods for crate construction. Fact is, OSB wins hand down. It is hard to beat OSB when it comes to cost savings. Before you go choosing the cheaper option, keep reading to make sure that OSB will work for other aspects of your shipping.

Strength: The good news here is that there is little difference in strength. Both plywood and OSB will hold up to the task of supporting whatever it is you are crating.

Durability: Here is where OSB might fall a little flat. If you are going to be shipping in extreme weather or into areas that may have a lot of rain and humidity, OSB might not be for you. The nature of OSB makes it more porous and therefore more susceptible to falling apart when it gets wet. If you shipment is going to be spending a lot of times outdoors, choose plywood.

Plywood also wins in the category of looks, but depending on your needs looks may not be of a concern. Whichever lumber you choose, contact Cratex for all of your custom crating needs.