Difference between Plywood and MDF

by alex lanz on May 26, 2022

First of all we need to look at the makeup of both items, 

Plywood that we use can be made two different ways, 

Both ways require a mill to slice thin layers from a tree to create the layers.

1st method is to cross thin layers of timber with twine and add B composite glue while pressing to create a flat sheet.,

B composite glue is the only glue you should cut with a laser due to its low VOC (Volatile organic compounds).

The timber is a natural product and can be cut with ease.


2nd method is to use cross thin layers of timber without twine and a class A composite glue, 

A composite is a waterproof glue that reflects the laser beam, this means it won't cut through and the operator will probably lose an eye from the laser beam bouncing back at him or her. This glue also has a low VOC (Volatile organic compounds), but due to its reflective properties it is nearly impossible to cut with a laser.  


Next we have MDF, my most hated product on the planet.

Lets go over a little history about MDF, It`s been banned from over half of Europe and half of the USA, in Australia if you cut it on a building site you require to have a tent setup with an extraction fan and filter.


Why do so many laser cutting companies use it?

It's cheap and they don't know, that is my only thought, yes it is half the price of Plywood.

So how do they make it?

All of the wood is broken down to pulp much the same as when they make cardboard, it is then mixed with the glue and pressed into sheets.

The issue is with the glue, it contains  Formaldehyde as an integral part of the adhesive used to bond together the wood fibres which form MDF panels. Concentration of formaldehyde is known to cause serious health effects from asthma, allergies and cancer.


When you cut MDF with a laser the burnt edges have been proven to leak formaldehyde for up to 3 years, that is the strange smell you can't put your finger on.


So yes our products may be a little bit more expensive than the competitors but our material is double the price, as we care for not only our health but also yours. 

With MDF you also don't get the wood texture and also if you put it near water it will expand like popcorn in the microwave.

Twilight Craft we can personalize any item and deliver it to your door.

 Please think about what you are bringing into your house next time you order an MDF item.

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