My most recent furniture piece I made based on the fact that I am in a semi-transient state, hmm word choice? I guess I’m trying to say that I’m not completely rooted down yet, as in I love my little apartment but soon I may want to actually buy my own place instead of just paying rent every month which in all honestly I’ll never see again. So that means yet another possible move in my future. (BTW I despise moving, I never fail to lose something important.) So far I have moved a total of 8 times in the past 5 years, which is highly normal at my age, going back and forth to college. But that means that my furniture had it quite rough, almost all of my wooden tables, chairs etc had to be replaced after this last move. Amazingly, my Ikea bed, which is “wrought iron” survived though all 8 moves and is still standing tall and study. I digress, wasn’t I supposed to be talking about wood or something?
So back to the choices that must be made when buying furniture, the most recent furniture piece I bought was a “wooden” dresser from Ikea. And during the research necessary for this post I looked up what my dresser was actually made of (shouldn’t I have done this before I bought it?) and this is what I found:
Drawer side/ Drawer back: Particleboard, Foil
Drawer bottom/ Back: Fiberboard
Support rail, back/ Partition: Particleboard
Top panel: Stain, Clear acrylic lacquer, Ash veneer, Particleboard, Ash veneer
Side panel: Stain, Clear acrylic lacquer, Ash veneer, Particleboard
Drawer front: Stain, Clear acrylic lacquer, Particleboard, Ash veneer
Rail: Particleboard, Ash veneer, Stain, Clear acrylic lacquer
That’s straight from the Ikea website. All those words: particleboard, fiberboard, veneer, foil even, wow my beloved dresser which enables me to stuff it mercilessly with clothes that I never fold doesn’t seem like it should even be standing. This thing doesn’t sound like it’s going to last very long…..
Here is my run down on some of those common words you run across and you’re all like WTF? (what-the-fiberboard, duh)
MDF/Medium Density Fiberboard: MDF is made by breaking softwoods down into individual fibers, which are then glued and pressed together. MDF is denser than particle board and has a smooth finish that takes paint very well, making it a great choice for furniture and home goods.Certain types of fiberboard can be considered “green” building products, this makes up a large part of the market for middle of the road furniture. The wood and wood fibers are pressed and flattened into a board that can be quite dense. Fiberboard like most things has a range of quality. Most of the time the more dense the board the higher the quality it is.
Wood veneer: refers to thin slices of wood, usually thinner than 3 mm (1/8 inch), that are typically glued onto core panels (typically, wood, particle board or medium-density fiberboard) to produce flat panels. Most of the time it is laid on top of real wood, fiberboard, or particle board. Wood veneer also has a range of quality, just because something is made of veneer doesn’t necessarily mean it’s poor quality.
Plywood: a type of manufactured timber made from thin sheets of wood veneer compiled on top of each other. It is one of the most widely used wood products. It is flexible, cheap, workable, recyclable, and can usually be locally manufactured. Plywood is used instead of plain wood because of its resistance to cracking, shrinkage, and twisting/warping, and its general high degree of strength. It’s used mainly for siding and support in furniture.
Pressed wood: engineered wood building and furniture construction material made from wood veneers, particles, or wood fibers bonded together with an adhesive under heat and pressure.
Particleboard: Made with tiny pieces of wood, sawmill shavings or sawdust, which are glued together and pressed into sheets, particle board is the most economical, but the weakest, of all the sheet goods. Use it for utility shelves or inexpensive garage or workshop projects. You never want to purchase a piece of furniture made with particleboard, it just won’t last.
Oriented Strand Board: also known as OSB, is also glued and pressed, but is stronger than particleboard because it’s made with larger pieces of wood, the strands of which are reversed for each layer. OSB can be used in all applications where you would use C-D grade plywood.
Wow that was a fair amount of definitions, but I’m sure that all you heard was blah, blah, blah, wood, blah, blah, blah. What does all this mean to you? Well I’m not sure what it means to you but I know what it now means to me. I’m going to look for more pieces that have elements of MDF in them. Why you ask? Well MDF is a fiberboard which is wood, just think of it as recycled or upcycled wood if you will. Not to mention at my stage in life I’m quite transient. I don’t want to be moving heavy solid hardwood. Buy choosing these types of pieces I’ll be making my home greener.
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