This is Part 3 in a series of posts about wood, wood products & wood veneers
If your mom was like mine, she warned you to always wear clean underwear in case you got in an accident and had to go to the hospital. I think she thought it would be a reflection on her if the doctor had to cut off your already torn underwear to operate on you. As if she or he would care…..
Well I’m here to tell you that it does matter what’s underneath the beautiful veneer on your furniture, especially if it gets in an accident and needs to be repaired.
Around the 1970′s furniture makers began using thinner veneers on particle board, medium density fibre boards (MDF) and plywood cores. Some of the benefits of using particle board, MDF and plywood are that it is cheaper, saves trees, and does not warp like solid wood can. However, if particle board and MDF gets wet, it will swell, never to return to its original shape. If plywood gets wet, the glues can sometimes break down, causing de-lamination. Solid wood can sometimes warp, shrink or expand depending on humidity, causing veneer to crack.
In our experience, veneer over solid wood is easier to repair, because wood can be patched and even glued back into shape. Even high end plywoods can be repaired in most cases because it is made with several layers of wood and glue. But particle board and MDF repairs are the most technical and difficult to do, with often the least effective results
Water is not the only problem with furniture made with particle board and MDF. If a part of the piece is crushed, dented or broken, it cannot just be glued back into place like wood can. Particle board is made up of wood chips, sawdust, glue and resin. MDF is made up of sawdust, glue and resin. This makes the repair difficult and complicated.
Just make sure you know what you’re buying. Ask the salesperson what the furniture is made of. A good way to check is to look underneath the piece, under the table top, under the legs, behind the drawers.
Yes, it does matter what’s underneath the veneer, especially if it is damaged and needs to be repaired. The more difficult the piece is to repair, the more it will usually cost to repair it.