What the Heck is MDF? and Other Questions AnsweredBy
I do a lot of online shopping and research. In my investigations, I’ve discovered that there are a myriad of terms that retail websites use, and they expect us to understand what they mean. Well, sometimes we don’t. And that’s why I’ll be bringing you a series of posts explaining some of these terms so you can be an educated online shopper. Today we’ll be talking about wood.
Anything claiming to be made of solid wood is just that – solid wood. Easy enough. But what about items that say they are made from particle board, pressed wood or MDF. Do you know what those are?
When shopping for things like home furnishings, a little education can go a long way. Here’s what you need to know regarding wood:
Engineered wood, also called Composite wood or Pressed wood. These are broad terms that include a range of derivative wood products which are manufactured by binding together wood strands, particles, fibers, or veneers with adhesives to form composite materials. These products are engineered to precise design specifications which are tested to meet national or international standards. These woods include Plywood, Particle board and Fiberboard. These are all generally very economical as they can make use of scrap wood from the lumber industry that would otherwise be thrown out.
Veneer in woodworking, refers to thin slices of wood, usually thinner than 3 millimeters (1/8 inch). Veneer layers are usually glued and pressed onto core panels of different materials (such as wood, particle board or medium density fiberboard) to obtain doors, tops and side panels for cabinets, parquet floors and pieces of furniture. They are also used in marquetry.
Plywood is made from thin sheets of wood veneer, called plies or veneers, not wood fibers or particles. These are stacked together with the direction of each ply's grain differing from its neighbors' by 90° (cross-banding). The plies are bonded under heat and pressure with strong adhesives, making plywood a type of composite wood. A common reason for using plywood instead of plain wood is its resistance to cracking, shrinkage, twisting/warping, and its general high degree of strength, as well as being a cost effective alternative.
Fiberboard is an engineered wood product manufactured from wood particles, such as wood chips, sawmill shavings, or even saw dust, and a synthetic resin or other binder, which is pressed and extruded. Particle board is a type of fiberboard, a composite material, but it is made up of larger pieces of wood than medium-density fiberboard and hardboard.
Types of fiberboard (in order of increasing density) include particle board (sometimes called chipboard), medium-density fiberboard, high-density fiberboard and hardboard. Fiberboard is sometimes used as a synonym for particle board, but particle board usually refers to low-density fiberboard.
Fiberboard, particularly medium-density fiberboard (MDF), is heavily used in the furniture industry. MDF is an engineered wood product formed by breaking down softwood into wood fibers, combining it with wax and resin, and forming panels by applying high temperature and pressure. It is a building material similar in application to plywood but made up of separated fibers, not wood veneers. It is denser than normal particleboard. Its name is derived from the distinction in densities of fiberboard. MDF typically has a density of 600-800 kg/m³, in contrast to particle board (160-450 kg/m³) and to high-density fiberboard (500-1450 kg/m³). Similar manufacturing processes are used in making all types of fiberboard. For pieces that will be visible, a veneer of wood is often glued onto fiberboard to give it the appearance of conventional wood.
So there you have it! You’re in the know when it comes to shopping for wood products!wood MDF fiberboard plywood particle board definitions stacksandstacks.com