Know Your Wood: Medium Density Fiber (MDF)
Now you’ve probably seen more MDF than fully-wood furniture whenever you visit furniture stores. So why is it so popular among manufacturers? First, let’s look at how it’s made.
MDF is a manufactured board made by heating wood pieces into fibers and then bonded together with resin to form a sturdy board.
MDF is not to be confused with particle boards, as the latter is generally less sturdier, as the board is made of wood shavings, and can have voids or holes inside, unlike MDF, which is solid throughout.
MDF typically comes in different densities: medium and hard or high. High is the most dense, but it is difficult to gauge density accurately as the manufacturing process varies slightly across companies.
Uncoated MDF is seldom used as tabletops as it stains quite poorly. Staining authentic wood is the process of changing the original wood board’s tone or color. This is preferred by people who want to customize their furniture. Also, as uncoated MDF is not resistant to moisture and water, manufacturers waterproof sides, edges and surfaces completely and thoroughly using primer coats.
The reason why MDF is so favored by furniture manufacturers is they do not cost a lot, and have soft and clean edges. This makes redesigning, painting and cutting the board easier. The variety of designs and shapes you can replicate with MDF is endless. The downside to MDF boards is they’re not good at holding nails because of their fine inner structure.What manufacturers do about this is using plywood for edges with nails, or using very strong wood glues to hold the boards together. MDF boards are also prone to sagging, so manufacturers have to construct supporting beams under MDF shelves.
So if you’re thinking that MDF furniture is less durable compared to ones made with authentic wood– think again. A certain range of MDF boards have been found to be denser than wood boards. They are also preferred by many because MDF is easy to shape. The one reason why some manufacturers, even possibly buyers, prefer authentic wood is because of its inherent exclusivity and eliticity. Authentic wood is for people who do not mind paying more for the beauty it offers.
We hope we have been able to shed light into the reason why the MDF industry in furniture keeps growing everyday, and to the buying trends of consumers.
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