Types of Wood Boards

Written by andrew copley
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Types of Wood Boards
Knowing what type of wood you are buying is half the battle. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

In the pioneer days, wood boards were, well, real wood boards. You cut down the tree, removed the bark, sawn it into strips and pieced them together to make furniture. In the 21st century, it's hard to tell if wood is real. New methods are used, along with glues. What seems like a real wood board is nothing more than a composite of different wood chips or even sawdust. Wood is still used but is it really a wood board you just bought?

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Real Wood

Today, just like in the old days, trees are cut into boards. The bark is removed and a saw runs along the length of the tree, cutting off different thicknesses of wood. The board is only as wide as the tree, but it is real wood. There is hardwood, such as oak, and softwood, such as pine. Hardwood boards are expensive and only used for high-quality furniture.


To make veneer boards, trees are debarked and put on a large lathe. A blade slices into the tree while it's turning continually, removing a layer of wood. The layer of wood that's removed is called a veneer. It is used to make plywood by gluing several veneers together. Other times, veneer is glued to the surface of a cheaper wood to make it look like expensive wood. Particle board can also have a layer of veneer on the outside, giving it the look of real wood.

Chipboard or Particleboard

Chipboard is manufactured by mixing resins with particles and chips of wood. The mixture is then spread into a mould and pressed into a uniform sheet of wood. Once dry, it is cut down into smaller-sized boards. Chipboard comes in three basic classes, low, medium and high density, depending on what type of wood pieces were used. Many times, a sheet of veneer is glued to one side and used for furniture. "


Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is like particleboard. Wood fibres are mixed with resin and pressed into shape. This gives the finished product a smoother look than particleboard. MDF can be pressed into moulds to make boards or for items such as decorative baseboards. Different finishes are added to the fibres to give the boards the appearance of different types of wood.

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