LVL Plank – Predictable Performance

Choosing the right scaffold plank can be a daunting task with the wide variety of options available. It is vital to be well-informed about the types of wood planks, especially when considering laminated veneer lumber (LVL) planks. Understanding the technical details, the manufacturer’s credentials, and the structural design properties of these planks is key to making a safe and informed purchase.

Unfortunately, many in the industry are not fully educated on the differences between wood plank types. This lack of knowledge is particularly evident when it comes to LVL scaffold boards. Thus, it is crucial to grasp how engineered wood planks have evolved, their attributes, and the essential questions to ask suppliers. This knowledge ensures that you choose the right product that meets safety and performance standards.

Developed out of an environmental necessity in the early 1970s, LVL planks have become a popular choice for their predictability and strength. As pressures on the forestry industry increased, manufacturers sought ways to optimize the use of wood fiber. This led to the creation of LVL, a product that offers superior performance and reliability. The introduction of LVL scaffold planks, like our “Master Plank,” revolutionized the market by providing a dependable, engineered solution that consistently meets and exceeds safety requirements.

The Evolution of Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) Plank

In the early 1970s, increasing environmental regulations started affecting the forestry industry. Manufacturers had to rethink how they used wood fiber to maximize production yields while minimizing waste. This need for efficiency led to the development of engineered wood products, including laminated veneer lumber (LVL). LVL quickly became an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional lumber, offering reliable strength and performance.

In 1976, McCausey Specialty Products introduced their “Master Plank” LVL product. There was a growing demand for scaffolding materials with predictable performance and superior strength. LVL met this demand by providing a consistent, high-quality product engineered to withstand the rigors of construction and other industrial applications. Since then, LVL has become a standard in scaffold planks, setting a benchmark for safety and durability.

Manufacturing LVL involves layering wood veneers, all oriented in the same direction, and bonding them with strong adhesives. This process creates a uniform and homogeneous product, free from defects like knots and voids. The result is a plank with predictable strength and performance, ideal for use in scaffolding and other high-stress environments. LVL’s evolution has transformed it into a reliable, advanced material that continues to set industry standards.

Key Attributes and Manufacturing Process of LVL Plank

LVL is composed of multiple layers of thin wood veneers glued together. Unlike plywood, where veneers are cross-laminated, LVL veneers are aligned in the same direction. This unidirectional grain orientation gives LVL its strength and stability. The production process begins with selecting high-quality veneers, which are then dried, graded, and coated with adhesive. These veneers are arranged in a precise sequence to ensure uniformity and then pressed under heat and pressure to form a solid billet.

The manufacturing process is highly controlled. Automated systems ensure each veneer is placed accurately, dispersing any natural defects like knots evenly throughout the billet. This meticulous process results in a consistent product that offers superior performance compared to traditional wood planks.

After pressing, the billet undergoes further refining. It is cut to the desired width and length, creating planks that meet specific dimensional requirements. Each plank is then proof-tested for load capacity and strength, adhering to standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and monitored by OSHA regulations. Qualified planks are stamped with key information such as the manufacturer’s name, the third-party inspection agency logo, and crucial structural design properties like Extreme Fiber Bending strength (Fb) and Modulus of Elasticity (MOE).

This comprehensive manufacturing process ensures that LVL planks provide a safe, reliable solution for scaffolding needs. They offer predictable performance and meet stringent safety requirements, making them a preferred choice in various industries.

Comparing LVL Planks with Traditional Scaffold Planks

When comparing LVL planks to traditional solid wood scaffold planks, several key differences stand out. First and foremost, LVL planks offer greater uniformity and predictability. Traditional wood can have defects such as knots and grain irregularities that compromise strength. In contrast, the manufacturing process of LVL distributes these defects evenly, creating a more consistent and reliable product.

LVL planks also boast superior structural performance. They have higher bending strength and stiffness compared to traditional wood planks of similar dimensions. This means LVL can support more weight and bend less under load, making them safer and more durable for scaffolding. Additionally, LVL planks are more resistant to environmental factors like moisture and temperature changes. Traditional wood tends to warp and swell when exposed to changes in humidity and temperature, but LVL maintains its shape and strength.

From an economic perspective, LVL is often more cost-effective in the long run. While the initial cost may be higher, their durability and performance reduce replacement frequency and maintenance costs. Additionally, LVL planks are lighter, making them easier to handle and install, which also reduces labor costs. Overall, the predictable performance and longevity of LVL make it a preferable option for many construction projects.

Essential Questions to Ask When Purchasing LVL Scaffold Planks

When selecting LVL scaffold planks, it’s crucial to ask the right questions to ensure quality and safety. Here are some essential questions to guide you:

1. Who Manufactures the LVL Planks?

It’s important to know the manufacturer and their reputation in the industry. Consider how long they have been producing LVL planks and their track record for quality and reliability.

2. What are the Plank’s Specifications?

Verify the structural design properties, including the Extreme Fiber Bending strength (Fb) and Modulus of Elasticity (MOE). These values indicate the plank’s strength and stiffness, which are crucial for ensuring it can handle the loads required for your project.

3. How is Quality Controlled?

Ensure the planks undergo rigorous quality control testing. Are all planks tested, or just random samples? Does an independent, accredited inspection agency oversee the testing procedures? Compliance with ANSI and OSHA standards is non-negotiable for safety and reliability.

4. What is the Veneer Composition?

Different wood species have varying density and strength attributes. Knowing what species are used in the LVL and how the veneers are graded and arranged can give insight into the plank’s performance and weight.

5. Is There Third-Party Certification?

Confirm that each plank is stamped with a certification from an independent inspection agency. This seal of approval guarantees that the product meets all necessary standards and regulations.

6. What is the Manufacturer’s Liability Coverage?

Verify that the manufacturer and supplier have adequate liability insurance. This coverage can protect you in case of product failure or defects.

By asking these essential questions, you can ensure that the LVL planks you purchase meet the highest standards for safety and performance.


Choosing the right scaffold plank is crucial for any construction project. LVL planks stand out due to their superior strength, predictability, and longevity compared to traditional wood planks. Understanding the evolution and manufacturing process of LVL helps highlight its advantages. When buying LVL planks, asking the right questions ensures you make an informed decision, prioritizing safety and performance.

At McCausey Specialty Products, we’ve pioneered products like “Master Plank” to meet industry demands for reliable and strong scaffold planks. Our dedication to quality and innovation sets us apart. By choosing LVL planks, you’re investing in a product engineered for excellence, backed by stringent quality controls and industry standards.

For reliable, high-quality LVL scaffold planks, consider partnering with McCausey Specialty Products. Visit our website or contact us today to learn more about our products and ensure the safety and efficiency of your next project. Your workers’ safety and the success of your project are our top priorities.


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