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Terms and Definitions

Engineered wood, also called Composite wood or Pressed wood, includes 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.

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. 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 a type of engineered wood product that is made out of wood fibers. Types of fiberboard (in order of increasing density) include particle board, 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. Plywood is not a type of fiberboard, as it is made of thin sheets of wood, not wood fibers or particles. Fiberboard, particularly medium-density fiberboard (MDF), is heavily used in the furniture industry. For pieces that will be visible, a veneer of wood is often glued onto fiberboard to give it the appearance of conventional wood.

Particle board (sometimes called chipboard) 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.

Medium-density fiberboard (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.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS (plastic), is a common thermoplastic used to make light, rigid, molded products such as piping, golf club heads, automotive body parts, wheel covers, enclosures, protective head gear, and toys. ABS is considered superior for its hardness, gloss, toughness, shock absorbency, and electrical insulation properties.

Polyvinyl chloride, commonly abbreviated PVC, is a widely used thermoplastic polymer. There are many uses for PVC. As a hard plastic, it is used as vinyl siding, magnetic stripe cards, window profiles, gramophone records, pipe, plumbing and conduit fixtures. It can be made softer and more flexible with additives, to be used in clothing and upholstery and to make various flexible building materials.

Resin or Polyester Resin is known as a thermosetting plastic, which means the plastic sets at high temperatures as apposed to thermoplastics which can be formed at high temperatures. This is a durable choice for outdoor furniture.

Fiberglass (fiber-reinforced polymer [FRP] or glass-reinforced plastic [GRP]) is a composite material made from extremely fine fibers of glass combined with a polymer, which results in a relatively lightweight material.

Powder Coating is a paint finish made from finely ground solid resins. It is usually applied electrostatically and then heat cured. Powder coat finishes are very tough and flexible and much harder to chip, crack, or peel than most other coatings.

Rubberwood is a hardwood from the maple family of woods and is an ideal choice for furniture manufacturing because of its durability and tendency to resist shrinking, warping or cracking. After its 26-30 years of latex production, the trees are felled and new ones are planted. So, unlike other woods that are cut down for the sole purpose of producing furniture, rubberwood is used only after it completes its latex producing cycle and dies, making it eco-friendly.

While Wengé finishes may vary slightly from one manufacturer to another, it is generally a very dark brown bordering on black.