Types of Wood in Furniture Part III

What are wood-based materials?

Wood-based materials are materials that are largely made from the renewable raw material wood.

A distinction is made between wood-based materials:

  • Layered materials
    (panels glued to form individual veneer layers)
  • Composite materials
    (panels that consist of a middle layer and two top layers)
  • Chipboard materials
    (panels made of wood chips and synthetic resin adhesive, manufactured at approx. 180 ° C under high pressure)
  • Wood fiber materials
    (panels made of wood fiber or rapeseed straw – some with adhesives)

Carrier plates in furniture construction

The term carrier plates is also coined in furniture construction. The core board category includes chipboard, blockboard, plywood and MDF boards.

Carrier plates serve as substitute materials for solid wood in furniture construction. They are used with veneers, plastic foils (decorative foils) or lacquers. Most kitchen worktops belong to the carrier plates.

What is MDF?

MDF or MDF boards is the abbreviation for medium-density fiberboard or medium-density fiberboard. The MDF boards are among the wood fiber materials. They are made from finely chipped wood fibers (approx. 90%) and binding agents. The wood fibers are mixed with the binder and then dried in a stream of hot air. The mixture is then pressed at elevated temperatures and under pressure into panels with a thickness of 3 mm to 25 mm.

Closed and homogeneous surfaces as well as dense and fine narrow surfaces are among the characteristics of MDF boards.

What are hardboard?

Hardboard consists of wood fibers and adhesives that are pressed under heat and pressure into boards with a thickness of 2 mm to 6 mm.

In furniture construction, hardboard is primarily used as rear walls for cupboards and living walls, as well as drawer bases.

What are chipboard?

Particle boards are wood-chip materials which, for example, act as carrier boards for veneers or decorative foils in furniture construction.

Chipboard is made from approx. 92% wood chips and approx. 8% synthetic resin glue. Chips and glue are pressed into a plate under great pressure and great heat. For the production of chipboard, both chips from hardwood (oak, ash, birch, beech) and chips from softwood (pine, spruce, fir) are used.

Chipboard is a further development of the plywood blockboard, which has been increasingly used in Germany for the construction of furniture since the 1960s. Chipboard is a very economical form of wood processing.

In addition to simple chipboard (single-layer boards), there are also three- and multi-layer boards. With these chipboards, the different layers have different densities.

What is plywood

Plywood is also known as sheet plywood, veneer plywood, or just plain veneer board. Veneer plywood belongs to the layer materials within the wood-based materials.

Plywood is made from peeled veneers glued crosswise or one on top of the other (including red beech, spruce or poplar). The individual veneer layers can be of different thicknesses. By gluing as ply wood, warping of the board should be prevented as much as possible. The aim is to prevent the individual veneer layers from working, which is why they are “blocked” by gluing, which has given this wood-based material the name plywood. The number of layers / layers in plywood is always odd: 3, 5, 7, 9,…

Plywood panels are characterized by high strength, dimensional stability and dimensional accuracy.

Veneer plywood has been used in furniture construction since the 1920s. It is used, for example, for the production of cabinet back panels or drawer frames.

What are blockboard?

Blockboard is also known as plywood. They belong to the group of composite materials and serve, among other things, as carrier plates. The blockboard is the oldest industrially manufactured wood-based material that has been used in furniture construction since 1898. One reason for this was that the apartments were increasingly heated with central heating, which made the rooms drier, which led to more cracks in classic solid wood furniture. Until the 1960s, the blockboard played a significant role in the development of furniture construction. Then it was replaced more and more by chipboard.

There are different versions of the blockboard, which differ in terms of the middle layers:

  • Middle layer of up to 8 mm thick, glued together sticks
  • Middle layer of 24 mm to 30 mm thick, not glued together strips
  • Middle layer of 24 mm to 30 mm thick, glued rods

A barrier veneer is glued on both sides at right angles to the middle layer or to the core of the blockboard, which is intended to prevent the board from “working” or “warping” the board.

Since blockboards are very stable, they are used as particularly high-quality carrier boards for self-supporting parts such as carcass elements or shelves.

MDF panels have a characteristic look

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