Fibre boards have been used extensively in the building industry for many years in various densities, but until recently the only application for furniture-making was the dense hardboard used for back panels and drawer bottoms. More recently, a medium density fibreboard (MDF) has been manufactured for the furniture industry, and it is available in thicknesses from 1/4 in (6 mm) up to 1 in (25 mm), which gives it a versatility in use that previously only plywood enjoyed.
On average it is about half the price of plywood, and although it is more expensive than particle board it is superior in that the edges do not have to be lipped. Industry can simply mould, colour and polish the edges as if they were solid wood. Its application for the craftsman would be similar to that of good quality plywood or chipboard, but it has a great disadvantage in that it will swell up like a sponge if the untreated edges are ever exposed to water. It is extremely stable and ideal for veneering, but its weight can be another disadvantage.
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