borealforest.org

Choose a Destination You are here!  
Changing Look of Structural Wood


The versatility of Oriented Strand Board (OSB) and Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)

PanelsDeclining forest reserves, exploding world populations and the resulting need for alternative building materials have created considerable demand for manufactured wood products.

Today, science allows us to manufacture wood panels that deliver exceptional performance. Providing uniformity, strength and versatility in an environmentally conscious way, the product could change the way we look at structural panels forever.

Oriented Strand Board (OSB)

What is OSB?

Oriented Strand Board is a construction panel made with layers of precision-manufactured wood "strands" that are aligned, formed into panels and pressed with an exterior grade adhesive resin.

OSB was developed from waferboard in the late 1970s but differs from waferboard in that long OSB wood strands are oriented, not randomly placed. Since its introduction into the marketplace, OSB has met quick approval and has virtually replaced other panels in new residential construction. Today, all Canadian and U.S. model building codes recognize OSB panels for the same uses as plywood.

How is OSB Manufactured?

OSB and waferboard are engineered, mat-formed panel products made of strands, flakes or wafers sliced from small diameter, round wood logs and bonded with an exterior-type binder under heat and pressure.

Strand dimensions are predetermined and have a uniform thickness. The majority of Structural Board Association (SBA) member mills use a combination of strands up to 6" (150 mm) long and 1" (25 mm) wide.

OSB panels consist of layered mats. The surface layer strands are aligned in the long panel direction, while the inner-layers consist of cross- or randomly-aligned strands. The combined layers of large mats are then subjected to intense heat and pressure to become a "master" panel, which are cut to size for shipping.

OSB derives its strength from the uninterrupted wood fiber, interwoven long strands or wafers, and the degree of orientation of surface layers strands. Combined with waterproof and boil proof resin binders, the strands provide internal strength, rigidity and moisture resistance.

I-Beams What are the benefits of OSB?

The engineered product is a high-quality, cost-effective panel for structural sheathing, subflooring, underlayments, webstock for I-beam floor joists, furniture stock and other building components. The process puts less of a strain on stands of larger diameter wood that is better suited for dimensional lumber, or left standing for future generations.

Return to Top of Page



Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)

What is MDF?

Medium Density Fibreboard is a construction panel which is widely used as a substitute for plywood, particleboard and solid lumber.

How is MDF Manufactured?

MDF is made in a process where woodchips are broken down into their natural cellulose fibres and resin and wax is added. The dried fibres are formed into mats and compressed into panels under high pressure. They are then sanded to a smooth finish and trimmed to a range of sizes to meet customer specifications.

What are the benefits of MDF?

MDF can be made from 100% recovered fiber, thus reducing the amount of wood waste being sent to landfills, slowing deforestation and preserving natural habitats. It can be made wthout urea formaldehyde resin, eliminating toxic air emissions, to create healthier work places and living environments.

Countertop MDF displays high moisture resistance, providing greater dimensional stability and product longevity. It can be fire resistant, providing Class 1 rated paneling and furniture core for safer applications.

Among a multitude of uses, MDF is used for manufacturing furniture, kitchen and bathroom countertops and cabinetry, store fixtures, office furniture, laminate flooring and mouldings.

It is the core material or "substrate" to which stylish and attractive finishes and laminates are applied. The strong, smooth, knot-free characteristics of MDF make it an ideal core material for components which require intricate shaping, or surfacing operations.

Return to Top of Page



Home | Forest Capital of Canada | About Our Website |
Ontario's North (West) Forest | Boreal Forests of the World | North (West) Forest Industry |
World Links and Resources | "Forest Finder" Search Engine | Educational Resources |
What's Happening | Contacts | Site Map |