Manmade boards: plywood, particle board and MDF

Manmade boards: plywood, particle board and MDF

Much of the ordinary household furniture bought today is manufactured from manmade boards such as plywood, particle board, and MDF. There are several reasons for this. First it is cheap; second, it is often veneered with highly expensive woods which in the solid are not available; and third, because manmade boards come in large width, they are very stable and will give no trouble in a warm, dry, centrally heated environment.

Manmade boards can also be environmentally friendly, in that they are often comprised of waste products from the mills, such as sawdust, bark, and cutoffs.

They are usually bonded with a resin which ties the particles together but has a devastating effect on tools unless they are tungsten-carbide tipped.

The cheapest of manmade boards, as far as the wood worker is concerned, is particle board, which is made from bonded wood chips. It’s ideal for cladding, cheap carcassing, and for making forms and templates for more exacting work.

Plywood is ideal for kitchen countertops, boatbuilding (marine ply) as well as shuttering, general cladding applications, toymaking, and molds and forms.

For really good dimensional stability MDF is the best. It will take veneer well and is very easy to work with in the field of furniture making.

There are many types, grades, and thicknesses of manmade boards, and all have very useful applications in modern woodworking. Just a few of them to name: masonite, three-ply board, MDF, birch multi-ply.

What type of manmade boards are you producing  and what are their main applications?

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