The hardwood plywood family of products includes panel products constructed with core material made from: veneer (softwood or hardwood, which may be of a different species than the panel face), lumber, medium density fiberboard (MDF), particleboard, other composite panels, or any combination of these core materials. Panels made with the various core types may differ from one another with respect to certain properties such as flatness, dimensional stability, screwholding ability, bending strength, and visual edge quality. The relative importance of specific properties in a particular application of the product help determine the appropriate core type that should be used. Be sure to discuss your product needs with your AWI representative so that they can suggest an appropriate panel for your particular use.
SOFTWOOD VENEER cores are light and strong but do not typically yield a panel as flat and smooth as composite cores like particleboard or MDF. Using a two step, or “blank” process can significantly improve veneer core panels’ flatness.
MEDIUM DENSITY FIBERBOARD, (MDF) is flat and smooth with good thickness tolerances. It machines well, but wears machine tooling and is quite heavy. Screw holding strength is less than veneer core.
PARTICLEBOARD is the low cost core of choice. It is about the same weight as MDF, but does not machine as well and has poor screw holding capacity. Particleboard is flat and smooth, and has good thickness tolerances.
Specialty Cores include many variations within the above core types, as well as hybrids and non wood based panel products that are coming into commercial use.