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Particle board....to what degree have you accepted it as an “acceptable evil”.

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Forum topic by bd1886 posted 07-09-2018 04:38 AM 3745 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bd1886

34 posts in 382 days


07-09-2018 04:38 AM

You know what I miss? Affordable Fir (....and hell even affordable Hem and Poplar!)
When I left the trades 10 years ago, MDF was frowned upon in anything but low grade construction and occasional use for wide banding up away from moisture. Now? Our supply chains have conditioned us to it’s acceptability fairly far up the food chain in even “quality” construction. (Would imagine it’s still shunned in top end…..mostly?)
Anyways, just finished a trim job for my son using this thick paper and just couldn’t stand all that standard dimensional look in the Craftsman design we went for? So lobbed it down, oil primed the edges and insisted on real wood for moldings (and some router work) for traditional trim elements.
Do I understand the need for conservation of wood? Of course but can’t help suspect that profit motives are forcing this truly crappy product onto us and better woods out.
Now if resin technology advanced to produce a happy medium for bonding all that paper pulp (that makes it quality) no problem, but “box store” powers that be are the drivers of all this garbage (I suspect?) and as I get further into construction again….I will need to find better suppliers apparently.

Hell….finding this stuff on exteriors a bit?! Just venting here but “How far towards acceptance?” have each of you grown towards using MDF and why? (An inquiring sawdust worshiper wants to know lol.) Thanks, Scott


20 replies so far

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5966 posts in 2828 days


#1 posted 07-09-2018 05:15 AM

Particle board = tree barf.

MDF I use for countertops, edgebanded with wood of some kind, and then Formica.

Neighbor had several bath cabinets his kids killed before he realized they are not meant to survive water. Then paid for a all wood cabinet. Since then no more destroyed cabinets due to water damage.

They like it because it is cheap, with a high profit margin verses all wood construction. It guarantees the product will fail and another will need to be purchased. Thus continuing the circle of raping your wallet.

LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View TheLorax's profile

TheLorax

55 posts in 1656 days


#2 posted 07-09-2018 05:29 AM

I’ve noticed this too and I think its getting to the point where some consumers will begin to think that real wood is not as nice.
For example, laminate floor is basically cardboard so now everyone can afford to have 8” wide floor planks and people will start to think that 8” laminate planks are superior to 2 1/4” real oak or hickory.
Another example is base boards being like 10” tall because its just mdf so why not make it look “fancy”. I think its going to reach a point where real wood will be shunned in middle class circles simply from a lack of understanding.

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bd1886

34 posts in 382 days


#3 posted 07-09-2018 06:29 AM


I ve noticed this too and I think its getting to the point where some consumers will begin to think that real wood is not as nice.
For example, laminate floor is basically cardboard so now everyone can afford to have 8” wide floor planks and people will start to think that 8” laminate planks are superior to 2 1/4” real oak or hickory.
Another example is base boards being like 10” tall because its just mdf so why not make it look “fancy”. I think its going to reach a point where real wood will be shunned in middle class circles simply from a lack of understanding.

- TheLorax

Your thoughts can’t help but have a very real degree of truth Lorax. I’ve seen it from another direction in what is being developed within the varying skill sets of construction (after leaving it for a 10 year stint).
My trade is painting, but as I developed I tended to gravitate towards the details of restoration and historical design. (Even back in the 80’s and 90’s that mindset was waining in all the trades though I guess.) Repair, glazing with colored clears, graining for matching existng etc. we’re still skills to be found much more easily than today though.
Finding “Supply” for doing these things is now much more envolved and much harder to find to match and recreate existing (Online sourcing sure helps and I truly believe (like you) that commonly found “supply” goes a long way towards dictating what we expect in ourselves.

Well getting set up again but this time? Not entering as a painter but as a specialist for resto. (My tint rack, specialty tools and gear will compliment my “third eye” quite nicely me thinks LOL!)

To be fair though, some products and procedures have advanced huge! (Power tools and things “easy to install/apply” especially.) But? With diluted expectations and “cheap import” competition, quality can’t help but fade so what does one do? Keep your clientele base small and service it well by showing them the possibilities. (....and you can bet our forums here are chocked full of people who do just that!)

Yup…..don’t like particle board particularly, because paper is best used for spending (and wiping your bum). OK then …..all vented now folks lol, Scott

View Robert's profile

Robert

3436 posts in 1899 days


#4 posted 07-09-2018 02:21 PM



Particle board = tree barf.
- woodbutcherbynight

Then wouldn’t that make MDF = tree diarrhea? LOL…..

Particle board has its place, just like MDF for applications requiring stability and uniformity, like cabinetmaking and countertops.

I’ve used MDF moulding and even though it runs against my grain a bit ;-) 1) it doesn’t split, 2) it doesn’t break off when sawing.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

524 posts in 2150 days


#5 posted 07-09-2018 02:32 PM

I consider MDF and particle board to be different products. I think MDF and particle board each have their place and may be the best choice in some circumstances. For example, MDF is a good choice as a base for plastic laminate or something that will get painted that does not see much (if any) moisture. I like to use MDF around my workshop because it’s cheap, stable, and machines well. I don’t see either product as a replacement for solid wood or plywood.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

3536 posts in 1806 days


#6 posted 07-09-2018 03:48 PM

I don’t know how many times someone has said to me: “You know it is a quality piece of furniture. See how heavy it is?” I usually inform them that it is so heavy because it is made mostly out of particle board which is more than double the weight of the same amount of real wood and even if it was made with plywood, it would be much lighter than that.

What bothers me the most is the deception to make it look like they used real wood. A neighbor gave me some old table leaves from a table they no longer had. I knew that the top was veneer but the bottom and the edges were made to look like they were real wood beneath the top. After sawing one in half I realized that they simply covered the bottom of the PB core with poplar veneer and the edges where the leaves joined together when in place had 1/4” poplar strips glued on to hide the fact that they were mostly PB. Only the aprons were real wood. IMO, they should be required to disclose what percentage of the piece is made from PB or MDF vs. real wood.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

8491 posts in 2569 days


#7 posted 07-09-2018 04:37 PM

To be fair, MDF is a much better base for veneering. You see a lot of high end veneered pieces that have a MDF core. So, it’s not necessarily all cheap stuff. Just depends on the construction. You wouldn’t use MDF in a bathroom or a kitchen, but outside of that it’s perfectly fine.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View 000's profile

000

2859 posts in 1318 days


#8 posted 07-09-2018 04:40 PM


What bothers me the most is the deception to make it look like they used real wood.

IMO, they should be required to disclose what percentage of the piece is made from PB or MDF vs. real wood.

- Lazyman

What is the difference if it’s 25% or 75%?
Whats next, start disclosing which parts have PB in them and which ones don’t?

If it’s not solid, it’s not solid.
Have you ever bought anything that says solid wood, then find out it’s PB?

Particle board has it’s place.
Mdf has it’s place also, just as cheap import plywood does too.

Bottom line is you have to use the products where applicable.

View YesHaveSome's profile

YesHaveSome

155 posts in 677 days


#9 posted 07-09-2018 06:16 PM

I agree with Woodbutcher on particle board.

MDF, however, is great stuff in certain applications. In fact, to achieve “premium” grade from the architectural woodwork institute, mdf core plywood is required in a lot of instances.

I used to be a millwork engineer and the company I worked for did only the highest of high end residential and hospitality projects. The homes we worked on averaged around $20-50 million (this was 10 years ago) and one that we did is one of the largest and most expensive homes in the states with a 9 figure price tag.

We used MDF for all doors and panels. We used it in other instances as well but I cant remember. I still have a few sets of shop drawings that I reference every now and then when I am designing.

-- But where does the meat go?

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2728 posts in 1641 days


#10 posted 07-09-2018 06:51 PM

At WallyWorld several years back I was mocking the “solid wood product” furniture when I noticed a label that said “genuine simulated wood grain finish”, as if there was an even cheaper class of furniture that no longer even tried to simulate wood grain….

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12842 posts in 2799 days


#11 posted 07-09-2018 07:50 PM

Eliminate pb and mdf and watch wood prices skyrocket. It’s a way of turning waste into a usable product now that more paper is being made in China. Finish guys like mdf because it’s smooth, stable, predictable, and cheap. They get in and out quicker

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View mramseyISU's profile

mramseyISU

572 posts in 1964 days


#12 posted 07-09-2018 08:17 PM

Like everything it has it’s place. I use MDF a lot on jigs but I don’t think I’ve ever used on anything that left my shop.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

20371 posts in 2275 days


#13 posted 07-09-2018 08:19 PM

I have not and will not use particleboard, but I do see it having a place, just not for what I do.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

6266 posts in 2684 days


#14 posted 07-09-2018 10:09 PM

I agree with wood butcher and rwe about tree barf and tree diarrhea. My question is that since OSB is a wood particle board, what would you call it? Tree scat ? OSB is something I totally detest.

View bd1886's profile

bd1886

34 posts in 382 days


#15 posted 07-09-2018 10:11 PM


I have not and will not use particleboard, but I do see it having a place, just not for what I do.

- firefighterontheside

I am in exactly the same boat.
Mid- wall wide board runs, wall panelwork, door construction. (With this last one either a resin sealed bottom or dimensional wood skin…..I do love the weighty feel of them.)

Found a source for hem/fir that’s reasonable…...delivered to any job. Yay

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