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Sheet Goods Selector

Do you know what sheet goods work best for shop fixtures? Or which ones excel in furniture construction? Armed with our chart, you'll be an instant expert.

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Sheet Goods Selector 1

Sheet Goods Selector 1

PARTICLEBOARD Description: Wood shredded into tiny chips (essentially sawdust, often from waste wood), combined with adhesives, and then heated and compressed to form sheets. Uses: Widely used as a substrate for flooring and countertops and for building inexpensive knockdown furniture and cabinetry. Also suitable for some shop fixtures. Available Sizes: Sold in 4x8' 1/4", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 1", and 1-1/8" thicknesses. Half and quarter sheets are often available. Common Grades: PBU -- for floor underlayment. M-S, M-1, M-2, M-3 industrial grades are best for making shelving and countertops. Pros: PBU grade is readily available and inexpensive. Particleboard cuts easily and is fairly stable. Cons: Low stiffness, heavy, holds fasteners poorly, not moisture resistant. Where to find it: Home centers carry 1/4-3/4" PBU grade. "M" grades (mostly M-2) are found at building-material and millwork suppliers. Price (3/4"x4x8', sheet unless noted): $12+ per sheet for PBU grade. "M" grade prices range about 20 percent higher.


MELAMINE Description: Particleboard faced with paper impregnated with melamine resin, a type of plastic. Paper on low-cost types is simply adhered. Higher-cost sheets are thermally fused (essentially melted together). Uses: Great for making cabinet carcases because it wipes clean easily. Use it, as well, for shop fixtures or to make an economical router-table top. Available Sizes: Sold in 49x97" oversize sheets in 1/4", 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4" thicknesses. Common Grades: There are no standard grades for melamine, but there are "vertical" and "horizontal" types. Higher-priced sheets generally feature thermally fused coatings and are made with thicker paper. Pros: It is inexpensive, readily available in a variety of colors and in wood-grain patterns, and has an easily cleaned surface. Also available with kraft paper or real-wood veneer on one face. Cons: Melamine is not moisture resistant, heavy, edges chip easily when cutting unless you use blade designed for cutting laminates. Where to find it: Home centers carry 1/2" and 3/4" sheets, shelves, and closet parts. Colors other than white and patterned papers are available by special order. Price (3/4"x4x8', sheet unless noted): $25+ for adhered-surface, vertical-grade white sheets common in home centers. Colors and wood-grain patterns cost slightly more. $40+ for thermally fused sheets.


HARDBOARD Description: Ground wood pulp combined with resins and pressed into sheets. May be smooth on one or both faces. Uses: Excellent for shop fixtures and jigs (especially the variety with two smooth faces) and benchtops. Use perforated hardboard for hanging tools. Available Sizes: Available in two thicknesses: 1/8" and 1/4" in 4x8' sheets. Common Grades: Service (2 green stripes), Standard (1 green stripe), Service-tempered (2 red stripes), Tempered (1 red stripe), S1S (smooth one side), S2S (smooth two sides) Pros: Readily available, easy to cut, relatively stable, available with two smooth sides or one, takes paint well. Cons: Standard and Service grades are susceptible to moisture, can't sand faces, flexible, edges easily damaged, holds fasteners poorly. Where to find it: Home centers carry 4x8' sheets plus half and quarter sheets in standard and tempered grades. Look for the edge stripes. Price $10 (1/4" 4'x8', tempered). Perforated sheets are also available at a similar price.


Continued on page 2:  Sheet Goods Selector 2

 

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Comments (11)
7929657951
jeff1518 wrote:

OSB is a very conspicuous omission

5/8/2014 04:57:38 PM Report Abuse
dwdemuth1 wrote:

How does Menards and Home Depot come up with their labeling?

4/6/2012 09:09:21 AM Report Abuse
ruthless1666 wrote:

i also need to learn how to type

4/5/2012 04:07:42 PM Report Abuse
ruthless1666 wrote:

i agrre ,why tell us all that and not give us a chart or something to help distinguish what the grades are

4/5/2012 04:06:56 PM Report Abuse
gppatnude wrote:

"print" option takes me to another page, not the print function

4/5/2012 11:15:04 AM Report Abuse
almbldr wrote:

1/4" is one of the top selling products here in the North East. We have it here in our true "lumber yards" not the H/D or Lowes that I am aware of.

2/2/2012 04:30:59 PM Report Abuse
abroomell1 wrote:

What good does it do to know the names of various grades? At least tell us what they mean, and which ones are better.

1/14/2012 04:42:11 PM Report Abuse
musicman86231 wrote:

OK. Where on earth can you find 1/4" hardboard?

1/11/2012 02:57:36 PM Report Abuse
DilleHayes wrote:

This would be great article for magazine or online in PFD format thank you Roy

1/5/2012 12:33:40 PM Report Abuse
jander1960 wrote:

Likewise in mid-TN... I haven't found 1/4" hardboard in the home centers here either.

4/23/2011 01:43:58 PM Report Abuse
jdsjmail wrote:

I/4" is not always available, here in NW Ohio I can only find 1/8 amd 3/16. JD

8/25/2010 07:18:17 PM Report Abuse

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