If you're trying to complete some projects around the house but have a hard time figuring out what kind of material is the best for the job, James Dulley is here to understand and decide for future projects. In this article James explains the differences between fiberboard, particleboard, and oriented strand board.
Fiberboard, Particleboard and Oriented Strand Board
Dear James: There quite a few projects I need to do around my house. How do I decide when and where to use particleboard, plywood or oriented strand board? — Rich J.
Dear Rich: You must have visited your home center store recently and done your research. Those are the basic four materials to use for flat structural members and each is best for specific applications.
If you are ever unsure about a specific project, plywood is always an acceptable choice, but not always the best or the least expensive. Actually, there are many different grades of plywood available and the properties and prices vary greatly among them. When you buy plywood, first discuss your project with the lumber salesperson so you get the proper grade.
- Set of 3 prep series wood composite cutting boards
- Boards measure 15.5" x 10", 13" x 8.5" and 9.5" x 6.5"
- Safe for all knives; heat resistant up to 350-Degree; handle opening; dishwasher safe; will not harbor bacteria
- Made in USA from trees harvested under the guidelines of the north America sustainable forestry standards
- Company eco initiative commitment: green guard certified, classified "green" product; uses sustainable manufacturing practices; minimal recyclable packaging
Medium density fiberboard (MDF) is made of fine wood fibers from waste wood and resins to hold them together. Since it is made from waste wood, it is an earth-friendly material to use. It is a high-quality strong product and is typically used for furniture, shelving, molding, and cabinets. It is often finished with a laminate or veneer surface or just painted.
MDF is easy to work with using standard woodworking tools and is particular good for holding screw threads and resisting tear-out. It is usually available in 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick sheet which are slightly larger than standard 4 by 8 foot sheets. It is also available in precut shelving sizes for easy installation.
Particleboard is slightly different in that it uses waste sawdust mixed with the resins. It also is strong and heavy and will not warp or bow as plywood sometimes does. It is primarily used for furniture, underlayment and a base for countertops. It does not hold up well in wet locations where it may swell from excessive moisture. Consider the likelihood of heavy moisture in a location before using it.
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- ✅ Knife-Friendly and Durable – This cutting board tray lasts longer than many kitchens tools! The advantages of a finely constructed bamboo end grain cutting board: it's lighter than a traditional wooden cutting board, extremely durable, and scratch resistant. Enjoy the performance and comfort of bamboo: it’s dense enough for safe chopping, while soft enough to not damage your knives. Designed for use by professional chefs and frequent use in home and kitchen, with ultimate satisfaction.
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Like MDF, particleboard is easy to work with. Since both these materials use resins, it is wise to wear a breathing mask when sawing them. Particleboard does not have as high a tear-out strength as MDF. It is finished with laminate or veneer, but seldom just painted. You can find it in standard 4 by 8-foot sheets and the home center store will usually cut it down for you for free.
Oriented strand board (OSB) is a completely different material than the previous two mentioned. It is primarily used as sheathing and underlayment for house construction and remodeling projects. It is ideal for exterior wall sheathing, roofing base and floors inside your house.
OSB is produced somewhat similar to plywood in that it is made from several layers of thin sheets. Instead of using thin sheets of solid wood as plywood does, OSB is made from small 1 by 4-inch flakes of wood which are bonded together by resins.
The strands in the chips in each thin sheet all go in one direction. Each successive thin sheet is rotated 90 degrees from the one below it. This creates a multilayer working sheet which is extremely stable and will not warp or bow.
- 🔪 KEEP YOUR CUTTING BOARDS FROM MOVING causing potentially dangerous slipping & sliding when cutting food. Reducing knife hazards.
- 🧽 EASY TO CLEAN & STORE, just place it in the top rack dishwasher safe or wash by hand, fold in drawer when done.
- 👍 NON-POROUS material does not absorb liquids minimizing cross-contamination.
- 👍 SIZE 16" width by 10" height (40.6 x 25.4cm) Great for use under countertop appliances, too!
- 👍👍 PERFECT ADDITION for any home, boat, and RV.
The surface of OSB is not typically finished because it always covered with some other material (siding, flooring, shingles, etc.). It can be easily cut with a power saw, but it is not generally shaped or sanded as MDF and particleboard are.
Send your questions to Here’s How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.
To find out more about James Dulley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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