Hardboard, MDF and chipboard

These are three great DIY materials listed below that are made from waste wood and some form of resin or glue, and then pressed to make dense products with a variety of uses. The key attributes of these products are their structural qualities, setting them apart from natural wood for the DIY practitioner.

Hardboard, also known as HDF (high-density fibreboard), is made from fine, exploded, wood fibres, usually with one hard, smooth and shiny surface and a rougher, textured reverse. Perforated with regular ¼” or ⅛” holes, it becomes pegboard, ideal for hanging tools from hooks. Hardboard is used in construction and furniture and takes Formica and other finishes well.

MDF (medium density fibreboard) is made from wood waste fibres combined with wax and resin, formed into panels by heat and pressure. MDF does not hold smooth nails and can split if drilled without guide holes. Formaldehyde glue and fine fibres demand protection when cutting. It is a fantastic product around the home.

Chipboard, a cruder mixture of wood scrap, is a good sheet for flooring, and if covered with Formica makes good worktops but is too brittle for many applications.

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