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Sheet Goods Selector

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Sheet Goods Selector 2

Sheet Goods Selector 2

MEDIUM-DENSITY FIBERBOARD (MDF) Description: Cellulose fibers combined with synthetic resin and formed under heat and pressure. Uses: Excellent for shop jigs and fixtures, cabinets, painted projects, molding and millwork, furniture, and as a substrate under veneer and plastic laminate. Available Sizes: 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", and 7/8" thicknesses in both 4x8' and 49x97" sheets. Common Grades: One main grade: Industrial. Lower grades, which aren't commonly available, carry "B" or "shop" grade. Also classified by density: Medium-density (MD) is standard; low-density (LD) is a lightweight version. Pros: Flat, no face or core voids, consistent thickness, glues easily, has machinable edges. Cons: Heavy [100 lbs. per sheet in MD grade; low-density version (LD) weighs approximately 60 lbs.], standard wood screws hold poorly. Where to find it: Home centers carry medium-density (MD) 3/4" sheets. Low-density (LD) is available through millwork suppliers and some hardwood retailers. Price (3/4"x4x8', sheet unless noted): $20+ for both MD and LD.


SOFTWOOD PLYWOOD Description: Face-glued layers of thin softwood veneer. Uses: Outdoor projects (exterior rated), carpentry and construction, shop cabinets, substrates, underlayment for floors and countertops. Available Sizes: 1/4", 5/16", 11/32", 1/2", 5/8", 23-32", and 3/4" thicknesses in 4x8' sheets. Common Grades: Veneer grades: A, B, C, D. Panel grades: include sheathing and "Sturd-I-Floor." Exposure: Exterior, Exposure 1, Exposure 2, Interior. Pros: Cheaper than hardwood plywood, readily available, face veneers can have a nice appearance in higher grades. Cons: Built more for performance than appearance; thick plies reduce stiffness; interior plies may have voids, face veneers often patched. Where to find it: All home centers and building-supply stores carry an array of softwood plywood for construction. Price (3/4"x4x8', sheet unless noted): $25+ for A-C sanded, varies by type and material.


MEDIUM-DENSITY & HIGH-DENSITY OVERLAY PLYWOOD (MDO/HDO) Description: Exterior-rated softwood plywood covered on both faces with resin-impregnated fiber (paper). Uses: Used extensively for highway signs, great for outdoor projects, siding, painted projects, watercraft, cabinets, shop fixtures, and concrete forms. Available Sizes: 1/4", 5/16", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", and 3/4" thicknesses in 4x8' sheets. Common Grades: Follows softwood plywood grading. Face and back plies (which are covered with paper) rate as B grade or better, inner plies are C grade. Pros: Resistant to weather and water, flat, smooth, surface is easily paintable, machines easily, and is very durable. Cons: Not widely available, heavy. Where to find it: Some home centers, wood specialty stores, sign shops. Price (3/4"x4x8', sheet unless noted): $35+ for MDO, HDO costs slightly more.

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Comments (11)
3-j wrote:

I have never considered OSB or strandboard, chipboard, etc. to be particle board. The sizes of the chips do not fit as "particles."

7/8/2015 03:27:23 PM Report Abuse
Hickorymeadow wrote:

Too bad the first sentence is just plain wrong. Particleboard is a whole family of sheet goods, including the old particleboard underlayment, seldom seen anymore, flakeboard, OSB, etc. The old cheap underlayment might have sawdust or fines that soaks up the resins adding no strength. Standard industrial flakeboard is produced from graded flakes or strands, no sawdust, producing the desired density, internal bond, and strength requirements of the grade intended.

4/16/2015 01:34:12 PM Report Abuse
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
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
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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