How to Work With Blockboard and Laminboard


Blockboard and laminboard are similar both have a core of wood strips, sand­wiched between veneers. The strips all run one way, so that the boards are as stiff as natural wood in that direction. The veneers are at right-angles to the strips, so that boards are stiffer than natural wood in the other direction.

In blockboard – pine, say – the core strips are softwood and may be glued together and to the veneers or they may simply be glued to the veneers. The soft­wood strips may be glued end to end but there may be the occasional gap between strips. The veneers are usually birch though other, more decorative, veneers are also available.

Blockboard and Laminboard

Laminboard is basically a more re­fined form of blockboard. The wood strips are smaller – never more than 9mm wide and are a higher density wood (both softwoods and hardwoods are used). The strips are always glued together and the boards are constructed with more care, so that cut edges should never show holes or gaps. Laminboard is heavier than blockboard and has a smoother surface the unevenness of the larger blockboard strips can cause ripples on the surface of the board. Like block-board, you can get boards with decora­tive outer veneers.

Neither blockboard nor laminboard are available with WBP glues, so they should not be used outside. The face quality of the boards is graded – like plywood and the most widely available grade is BB (birch-faced).

Birch-faced blockboard and birch-faced laminboard often have two sheets of veneer on each surface – these are known as 5-ply boards. With mahogany-faced blockboard the grain often runs parallel to the strips. African walnut, oak and teak-faced blockboards often have the decorative vencer on one face only.

Blockboard and laminboard are useful for very wide shelves, furniture, doors and table or work tops. Laminboard can also be used for cabinet work.

Blockboard is widely available – as standard-sized sheets or cut to size. Laminboard is much less available and much more expensive.

Blockboard and Laminboard

Cutting

The boards can be cut with the usual woodworking tools though care is needed when the end grain is smoothed it tends to split at the edges. Always try to make sure that the core strips run along the longest dimension.

Fixing

The boards can generally be glued and lake screws well along two edges and on the surfaces but the end grain of the core docs not take screws well and is diffi­cult to glue securely.

Finishing

Blockboard can be finished with  paint, varnish or plastic laminate. Because of its better quality and higher cost, laminboard is usually varnished. To prevent uneven surface tensions leading to the boards warping, both surfaces must be treated in the same way. Both boards can be edged by lippings either glued or pinned on. Softwood or ramin lippings can be used if the boards are to be painted or varnished.

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  5. How to Treat and Patch Veneers and Surfaces

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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