Plywood is mostly made directly with wood veneers by binding and pressing large number of sheets together as per the thickness of the product required. Plywood comes in various sizes and thicknesses and in various grades like MR, BWP etc.
Even calibrated ply is available especially for kitchens and designer furniture. Ply is made up of mostly eucalyptus, rubber, poplar, birch, oak, maple and sometimes teak veneers as well.
Have you heard about engineered wood composite that’s what particle board and MDF are, the main difference is that MDF is denser, quite heavier and stronger than regular particle board available in market. There is one more type, Heavy density fibre board that is called HDF, which is even stronger and heavier than MDF.
As the word suggests engineered wood it’s actually engineered from the sawdust, huge amount of sawdust is collected and mixed with right quality and quantity of binder glue and then pressed and dried at high temperature in to rectangular sheets.
The visible difference between MDF and particle board is that there are no voids visible in MDF cross section but in particle board one can see rough structure and lots of voids that’s why particle boards are lighter than MDF.
Thus ideally there is no actual wood either in particle board or fibre board.
In market you will get various sizes of MDF sheets like 4×8, 4×6 etc. just like particle boards or plywood, there are sheets of various thicknesses available like 4mm, 6mm, 12mm, 18 mm and higher.
Block board is special purpose panel, it has wooden strips inside throughout the length of the paneland these thick seasoned wood strips offer very high strength and stiffness to these panels. Block boards are generally needed for long panel application like table tops, doors, heighted partitions etc.
Mostly cheaper as compared to plywood.
We get smooth surface without any hard knots or holes and suitable for pasting laminates or even surface can be directly painted by using right primer.
Most of the MDF is calibrated i.e. uniform thickness across the sheet so carpentry is easy and edges are quite smooth so donít leave any voids on the edges.
Good material to make decorative edges by using routing tools and best material to cut out designer or decorative jalis / nets for partitions etc.
MDF is just particle board pressed under more pressure and temperature, just a glorified version of particle board.
Regular MDF is not water resistant, rather it soaks water quite easily when it comes in contact, thus it needs to be sealed on edges properly especially with edge bands.
Screw holding capacity of MDF is quite less as compared to plywood, as it is made with fine particles and stripping of screw holes is quite common in case of MDF.
Always need helper while working on MDF, these sheets are quite denser and thus heavy.
As there are very fine particles used in MDF manufacturing they are harmful for workers, care shall be taken to avoid inhaling of those particles and it contains UREA as well.
Owing to multiple layers of wood veneers with the direction of grain running a different direction alternately, itís a very strong infrastructure material.
Naturally plywood is quite water resistant as compared to MDF and particle boards, and this can be made completely waterproof even, especially when the marine applications are needed.
Plywood is easily stainable, its perfect material for kitchen cabinets, table tops, and for any other projects in which you need a large wood surface for staining.
The Best Screw holding strength is offered by plywood among all these panel options.
Quite economical if compared with wood at the same time offer very good strength and durability.
It is the costliest panel item in carpentry field.
After cutting plywood edges doesnít give smooth finish, so always need to use edge band or lipping to get the smooth product finish.
Fine designs engraving is almost impossible on plywood surface.
As the surface of plywood is rough, there is need of pasting laminates for any application that makes it more costly and time consuming carpentry item.
Itís very light weight material, furniture made with particle board are very lightweight and very suitable for modular furniture.
One of the cheapest material in furniture industry
Available in pre-laminated format in various colours and textures
Very low strength product
Not suitable for heavy furniture
May be good for office use where the usage is limited