Particle board is a manufactured board that is often used in furniture because it can be made cheaply and is more affordable than solid timber but has a similar look.
It is mostly found in furniture that require large pieces such as table tops, desks and TV cabinets, this saves people from having to bond two pieces of timber together to achieve the same size.
This type of manufactured board is made from wood chips which are glued together and then compressed under heat in a large board shape, it is then dried and cut into various sizes to be sold.
These boards can either be bought bare or it can be covered with thin sheets of veneer or a plastic laminate, these two materials give the board a solid timber look and feel while costing marginally less.
Particle board is a good alternate option when buying furniture to a budget because it gives the impression of solid timber and it usually lasts for long periods of time if looked after and taken care of well, like all solid timber.
- Cost effective
- It is available in large sizes
- Veneer or plastic laminate can be applied to make it look more like solid timber
- It doesn’t have natural defects and It doesn’t swell
- Still doesn’t quite match the quality of solid timber
- Can be prone to chip or flake
- It isn’t available in very thick sizes
- It isn’t suitable for many joints
What is it?
Wood-based panel manufactured under pressure and heat from particles of wood (flakes, chips, shavings, sawdust and similar) and/or other lignocellulosic material in particle form (flax shives, hemp shives, bagasse fragments and similar) with the addition of an adhesive.
How is it made?
Production involves mechanically breaking up wood and reconstituting it using synthetic resin adhesives. The process is highly automated and most woody parts of a tree are usable. The basic stages of production are:
Where chips are produced from logs, debarking may be carried out prior to chipping.
Chipping or milling:
Solid wood raw material such as forest thinnings and sawmill slabs are cut to predetermined lengths and fed into a chipper.
Planer shavings and similar waste is milled to the required particle size. Surface and core chips are often prepared in different ways and held in separate silos.
Wood chips are passed through a dryer to reduce their moisture content to about 2,5% to facilitate gluing and hot pressing. Core and surface chips may be dried to slightly different moisture contents.
Sifting / particle classification:
Particles are graded to produce a “furnish” with a specified mix of particle sizes. Oversize chips are re-milled.
Dry chips are blended with synthetic resin and with other appropriate additives such as hardener or wax emulsion. Proportioning of glue and chips has to be very exact and may be deliberately varied, surface chips often having higher glue contents. The type of glue used also determines the properties, such as e.g. the moisture resistance. If needed for specific applications, fungicides or flame retardants can also be added.
A mattress of wood chips coated with adhesive is formed by dropping them on to caul plates or belts. Depending on the type of mat-forming machinery, this will produce either homogeneous graded density or layered mats.
Pre-compressing is commonly carried out and then the mat is further compressed to a predetermined thickness in a high pressure and temperature press, which may be multi-daylight, single daylight or continuous.
Trimming and sanding:
After cooling, each panel is trimmed and then sanded to precise thickness.
What is it used for?
By replacing solid wood in a variety of applications, particleboard makes wood furniture more affordable. Particleboard is easy to work and flexible in application. Its use has given wood furniture production programmability and greater flexibility. As a base material it provides an enormous range of possibilities in furniture manufacturing.
Particleboard supports all the variations in design and style which have become the basis for modern living. Choosing particleboard for furniture means supporting both tradition and style.
Particleboard for structural applications is easy to handle and to process. Different types of speciality boards can be produced according to individual building application requirements. Moisture resistance, fire retardance or acoustic insulation are all proporties which can be achieved by using specific types of particleboard.
Particleboard can also be used for construction purposes in combination with other materials, for example in parquet or insulation materials. Choosing particleboard for your construction needs means you benefit from a reliable and versatile building material.