8 Types of Manufactured Wood

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 01/12/2023

Wood has been a foundational material for centuries, shaping our homes, furniture, and countless other items.

But there's more to wood than what grows in forests.

Manufactured wood, also known as engineered wood, brings forth a world of possibilities.

In this article, we'll explore eight common types of manufactured wood, delving into their uses, advantages and drawbacks.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Manufactured Wood?
  2. 1. Blockboard
  3. 2. Chipboard (Particleboard)
  4. 3. Fibreboard
  5. 4. Hardboard
  6. 5. Insulation Board
  7. 6. MDF
  8. 7. Plywood
  9. 8. Veneer
  10. Conclusion

What is Manufactured Wood?

Manufactured wood stands as a testament to human ingenuity in the realm of woodworking.

Unlike traditional lumber, which is sourced directly from trees, manufactured wood is an amalgamation of wood fibres, particles, or even entire logs that have undergone meticulous engineering processes.

The production of manufactured wood involves breaking down raw wood materials into smaller components, often in the form of fibres, chips, or sawmill shavings.

These components are then combined using high-quality adhesives, creating a strong bond that is further reinforced through heat and pressure.

This process, often termed as composite technology, results in the formation of sturdy and versatile wood products.

One of the defining features of manufactured wood lies in its consistency.

Unlike natural wood, which can vary significantly in terms of density, texture, and appearance, engineered wood products offer uniformity.

This consistency allows manufacturers and builders to predict and control the material's properties, ensuring that it meets specific standards and requirements.

Moreover, the adaptability of manufactured wood is noteworthy.

By altering the composition, density, and adhesives used in the manufacturing process, engineers and designers can tailor these materials for a wide array of purposes.

This adaptability has led to the creation of diverse engineered wood products, each optimised for particular applications in the construction, furniture, and interior design industries.

Manufactured wood is not merely a replication of natural wood; it represents an enhancement, an evolution that addresses the limitations of traditional lumber.

While solid wood can be susceptible to warping, cracking, and insect infestations, engineered wood products are engineered to resist these issues.

Additionally, due to their consistent quality and availability, they are often more cost-effective, making them an attractive choice for both large-scale construction projects and intricate furniture designs.

1. Blockboard

Image credit: Gharpedia

Blockboard, a versatile type of manufactured wood, is known for its remarkable strength and stability.

The manufacturing process of blockboard begins with selecting high-quality softwood strips.

These strips are carefully arranged side by side and bonded together using strong adhesive.

Once the core is formed, it is enveloped by thin layers of hardwood veneers.

These veneers are glued onto both sides of the core, creating a sandwich-like structure.

The entire assembly is subjected to high pressure and heat, ensuring a secure bond and structural integrity.

Uses of Blockboard

Blockboard finds widespread use in the construction industry, particularly in creating heavy-duty furniture, doors, and panels.

Its robust nature makes it ideal for applications where strength and stability are paramount.

Furniture crafted from blockboard includes cabinets, tables, wardrobes, and shelving units.

It is also frequently employed in interior and exterior doors due to its resistance to warping.

In addition, blockboard is used in wall panels and partitions, where durability and longevity are essential.

Advantages of Blockboard

Exceptional Strength

The core made of softwood strips and hardwood veneers gives blockboard exceptional strength, making it suitable for heavy-duty applications.


Blockboard is highly stable and resistant to warping, ensuring that furniture and doors retain their shape and functionality over time.


Its versatile nature allows for various finishes, making it adaptable to different interior and exterior design styles.

Ease of Workability

Blockboard is relatively easy to cut, shape, and finish, making it convenient for carpenters and craftsmen to work with.

Drawbacks of Blockboard


Due to its dense structure, blockboard can be heavy, which might pose challenges during installation, especially for larger furniture pieces.

Moisture Sensitivity

While blockboard is more stable than solid wood, it can still be affected by moisture.

Prolonged exposure to damp conditions can lead to damage, making proper sealing and finishing crucial.

2. Chipboard (Particleboard)

Image credit: Wikipedia

Chipboard, often referred to as particleboard, is engineered from a blend of wood chips, sawmill shavings, and resin binders.

These raw materials are mixed thoroughly and then compressed under high pressure and heat.

The heat activates the resin, creating a strong bond that holds the wood particles together.

This process results in a dense and robust sheet material, ready for various applications.

Uses of Chipboard

Particleboard is a versatile material extensively used in furniture manufacturing.

It serves as the core material for cabinets, shelves, tables, and various other pieces.

Its smooth surface and ability to hold finishes well make it suitable for laminating or veneering, enabling a wide range of decorative options.

Additionally, particleboard is employed in interior construction for applications such as wall panels and partitions.

Advantages of Chipboard


Particleboard is considerably more budget-friendly than solid wood, making it an economical choice for furniture and interior construction.


Its smooth surface allows for easy finishing, enabling a variety of decorative treatments such as painting, veneering, or laminating.

Environmentally Friendly

Particleboard is often made from recycled wood materials, contributing to sustainable practices in the woodworking industry.


The manufacturing process ensures uniformity, providing consistent quality and thickness across sheets.

Drawbacks of Chipboard

Moisture Sensitivity

Particleboard is highly susceptible to moisture.

Prolonged exposure can cause swelling and warping, limiting its use in damp environments.


While sturdy, particleboard is not as strong as solid wood, making it less suitable for applications requiring significant weight-bearing capacities.


Over time, especially with heavy use, particleboard may chip or dent more easily than solid wood, impacting its long-term durability.

3. Fibreboard

Image credit: Wikipedia

Fibreboard is crafted from wood fibres, usually sourced from recycled wood products or wood chips.

These fibres are mixed with heat and adhesive, then subjected to high pressure, forming a dense and uniform sheet material.

The heat activates the adhesive, bonding the fibres tightly together.

The density of the board can be varied based on the application requirements, resulting in different types such as high-density fibreboard (HDF) and low-density fibreboard (LDF).

Uses of Fibreboard

Fibreboard finds extensive use in the furniture industry, where its malleability allows intricate designs for items like cabinets, tables, and chairs.

High-density fibreboard (HDF) acts as a sturdy foundation in laminate flooring, offering durability and a smooth surface.

Additionally, it serves as the core material for interior doors and decorative wall panels, effectively holding veneers and laminates.

In crafting and DIY projects, low-density fibreboard (LDF) is preferred due to its lightweight nature and ease of intricate shaping.

Advantages of Fibreboard


Fibreboard's ability to hold finishes well makes it a preferred choice for applications where a smooth, even surface is necessary.


Compared to solid wood, fibreboard is cost-effective, making it a budget-friendly option for furniture and interior elements.


Often made from recycled wood fibres, fibreboard promotes sustainable practices in woodworking.

Ease of Machining

Fibreboard can be easily cut, shaped, and moulded, allowing for intricate designs and creative detailing in furniture and decorative pieces.

Drawbacks of Fibreboard

Moisture Sensitivity

Similar to other engineered wood products, fibreboard is sensitive to moisture. Prolonged exposure can cause swelling and damage the material.


While suitable for many applications, fibreboard is not as durable as solid wood, especially in high-stress areas.

Limited Load-Bearing Capacity

Due to its composition, fibreboard is not ideal for applications that require substantial weight-bearing capabilities.

4. Hardboard

Image credit: Wikipedia

Hardboard, also known as Masonite, is a versatile engineered wood product created by refining wood fibres into a pulp.

This pulp is then combined with adhesives and compressed under high pressure.

Heat is applied during the pressing process, creating a solid, dense board.

This results in a dense and exceptionally smooth board.

Its robust nature makes it a popular choice in various applications.

Uses of Hardboard

Due to its smooth surface and high strength, hardboard is employed in a range of applications.

It is often used as backing material for cabinets, providing stability and support.

In the construction industry, hardboard finds use as door skins, where its resilience and ease of machining make it a preferred material.

Additionally, it is utilised in decorative wall panelling, adding a sleek finish to interior spaces.

Advantages of Hardboard

Smooth Surface for Finishing

One of hardboard's notable benefits lies in its smooth texture, providing an excellent canvas for painting or veneering applications.

High Density and Strength

Its dense composition imparts significant strength, making hardboard resistant to warping and damage, ensuring durability in various uses.

Lightweight and Easy Handling

Despite its robustness, hardboard is relatively lightweight, making it easy to handle and install, enhancing convenience in construction projects.

Versatility in Machining

Craftsmen and builders favour hardboard due to its versatility in machining, allowing for intricate designs and precise shaping.

Drawbacks of Hardboard

Moisture Susceptibility

One of hardboard's limitations is its vulnerability to moisture.

Prolonged exposure to water can cause it to swell or deteriorate, limiting its application in damp environments.

Lack of Natural Grain Patterns

Unlike solid wood, hardboard lacks the inherent grain patterns.

This absence might be a drawback in applications where the desire is for the natural aesthetic of wood, impacting its use in certain decorative contexts.

5. Insulation Board

Image credit: Ebay

Insulation boards are crafted through compressing wood fibres, creating a dense structure optimised for thermal efficiency.

These fibres, often derived from recycled wood products, are bonded under pressure, forming sturdy panels.

Uses of Insulation Board

Insulation boards are widely used in buildings to enhance energy efficiency.

They serve as a barrier against heat transfer, keeping spaces warm in winter and cool in summer.

Advantages of Insulation Board

Excellent Thermal Insulation

Insulation boards excel in providing thermal insulation, regulating indoor temperatures and reducing energy consumption by minimising heat loss or gain.

Lightweight and Easy Installation

Their lightweight nature makes them convenient to handle and install, speeding up construction processes and lowering labour costs.

Eco-Friendly Option

Many insulation boards are made from recycled wood fibres, making them environmentally friendly choices in construction, aligning with sustainable building practices.

Drawbacks of Insulation Board

Moisture Sensitivity

Insulation boards can be sensitive to moisture.

Prolonged exposure to damp conditions might compromise their insulating properties and structural integrity.

Limited Load-Bearing Capacity

While suitable for insulation and soundproofing, insulation boards typically have limited load-bearing capacity, restricting their use in certain structural applications.

Proper support and framing are crucial when incorporating them into construction projects.

6. MDF

Image credit: Amazon

MDF or Medium Density Fibreboard is a versatile manufactured wood product.

MDF is created by breaking down wood fibres into a pulp, which is then mixed with wax and resin adhesive.

This mixture is compressed and heated to form sturdy sheets of uniform density.

Uses of MDF

MDF's smooth and uniform surface makes it a preferred choice for crafting furniture pieces like tables, chairs, and cabinets.

Its consistent texture allows for intricate designs and detailed woodworking.

In addition, MDF is often used for decorative mouldings and trim work due to its ease of shaping and finishing.

It can mimic the look of solid wood at a fraction of the cost.

MDF also serves as a core material for doors, especially those with intricate designs.

It provides stability and durability, making it suitable for interior and decorative doors.

Advantages of MDF

Uniform Texture

MDF has a consistent texture, ensuring smooth finishes on all sides.

MDF easily accepts many forms of primer for a smoother paint finish.

This uniformity is valuable in applications where a polished appearance is essential.


MDF readily absorbs paints, and adheres to veneers and laminates, allowing for a variety of finishes.

This adaptability makes it ideal for creating custom designs in furniture and decorative elements.


Compared to solid wood, MDF is a more affordable option for furniture and decorative applications, making it accessible for various budgets.

Drawbacks of MDF

Moisture Vulnerability

MDF is sensitive to moisture.

Prolonged exposure to damp conditions can cause it to swell or lose structural integrity.

Proper sealing and finishing are essential to protect it from moisture.

Limited Structural Strength

While MDF is excellent for decorative and lightweight applications, it lacks the structural strength of solid wood.

It may not be suitable for heavy-load-bearing furniture or structural components without proper reinforcement.

7. Plywood

Image credit: Wikipedia

Plywood is perhaps one of the most well-known engineered woods.

Plywood is manufactured by bonding multiple layers of thin wood veneers, known as plies, together.

Each ply is positioned with its wood grain perpendicular to the adjacent layers.

This cross-graining technique enhances the structural integrity of the material.

The layers are bonded with adhesive under high pressure and heat, creating a robust and durable sheet.

Uses of Plywood

Plywood is a staple in the construction industry.

It is widely used for sheathing, roofing, flooring, and formwork due to its strength and resistance to warping.

Plywood's stability makes it valuable in structural applications.

Plywood also serves as a foundational material for furniture, especially in modern and contemporary designs.

Its versatility allows for intricate cuts and designs, making it ideal for crafting chairs, tables, cabinets, and shelving units.

Plywood is also a popular choice for constructing cabinet boxes.

Its stability ensures that cabinets retain their shape over time, even under the weight of kitchen appliances and utensils.

Advantages of Plywood

Strength and Stability

Plywood's cross-grain construction gives it remarkable strength.

It can withstand heavy loads and resist bending and warping, making it a reliable choice for various applications.


Plywood comes in different grades and thicknesses, making it adaptable for diverse projects. It can be easily cut, shaped, and finished to suit specific requirements.


Plywood offers a balance between cost and performance. It provides significant strength without the high price tag associated with solid wood.

Drawbacks of Plywood

Vulnerability to Moisture

While exterior-grade plywood is designed to resist moisture, it is not entirely waterproof.

Prolonged exposure to water can lead to delamination and deterioration of the material.


The visible layered structure of plywood might not suit all aesthetic preferences.

In high-end furniture and architectural applications, solid wood veneers are often preferred for a seamless, natural appearance.

8. Veneer

Image credit: Amazon

Veneer is not a wood type per se, but rather a thin layer of wood sliced or peeled from a log.

Veneer is created by slicing or peeling thin layers from logs or using advanced cutting techniques.

These layers, often just a few millimetres thick, showcase the wood's natural grain patterns and colours.

The veneers are then processed to enhance their durability, flexibility, and appearance.

They can be stained, dyed, or even engineered to achieve specific finishes and colours.

Uses of Veneer

Veneer is widely used in furniture manufacturing.

It provides an opportunity to showcase expensive or exotic wood species without the high cost of solid wood.

Veneered furniture pieces often have a polished and refined appearance.

Many high-quality kitchen cabinet doors are crafted with veneered surfaces.

This application allows for uniformity in appearance and texture across multiple cabinet doors and panels.

Veneer is also often applied to decorative panels, enhancing their visual appeal.

These panels find use in interior decor, wall coverings, and even upscale flooring.

Advantages of Veneer


Veneer allows the use of premium wood species without the expense of solid wood.

This cost-effective alternative makes it possible to achieve an elegant look within budget constraints.


Veneers come in a wide array of wood species, allowing for diverse aesthetic choices.

From the warmth of cherry wood to the elegance of walnut, veneer provides options for various interior design styles.


Veneer can be applied to different surfaces, including curved ones, thanks to its flexibility.

This makes it versatile for a range of applications in furniture and interior design.

Drawbacks of Veneer


While veneer is durable, it is not as resilient as solid wood.

It can be susceptible to scratches and damage, although high-quality finishes mitigate these risks to a large extent.

Moisture Sensitivity

Veneer, especially natural veneer, can be sensitive to changes in humidity.

Extreme fluctuations can lead to warping or delamination, making it important to maintain stable indoor conditions.

Repair Challenges

Repairing damaged veneer can be challenging.

Unlike solid wood, which can be sanded and refinished multiple times, veneer has limited depth, making it harder to repair deep scratches or dents without replacing the entire veneer sheet.


Manufactured wood opens doors to creativity and sustainability in the world of woodworking.

Each type, from the robust blockboard to the versatile plywood and the insulating wonders of insulation board, brings its unique set of qualities to the table.

Understanding these engineered wood varieties not only broadens our options but also fosters a more eco-friendly approach to woodworking, utilising resources efficiently and reducing waste.

As technology advances, we can expect even more innovative uses for manufactured wood, shaping a greener and more diverse future for woodworking enthusiasts and professionals alike.

How is MDF Made?

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 01/10/2023

MDF is a popular type of engineered wood used in various projects.

While it is often confused with plywood, it’s not the same as it’s denser and stronger.

Table of Contents

  1. What is MDF?
  2. Physical Properties of MDF
  3. Typical Applications
  4. MDF Fibre Preparation
  5. MDF Sheet Formation
  6. Advantages of MDF
  7. Disadvantages of MDF
  8. Conclusion

What is MDF?

MDF stands for medium density fibreboard.

This engineered wood product has gained a great deal of popularity over the years as it offers various advantages.

This includes affordability and the fact that it can be used for a myriad of purposes, ranging from home furniture to decorative products.

In fact, it’s often thought to be the same as plywood or fibreboard.

This is not the case however, as it’s considerably denser and a fabricated product using various elements.

MDF is composed of hardwood or softwood residuals which are broken down into wood fibres.

They then combined together with wax and resin binder by applying very high pressure and heat.

Physical Properties of MDF

Pile of MDF Boards

Image credit: Amazon

MDF is made up of 82% wood fibre and 9% resin.

Urea-formaldehyde resin glue is used.

There is 8% water and 1% paraffin wax added to this, to ultimately achieve the density desired from the boards.

In fact there are different densities and classifications of MDF, namely light, standard, flame retardant, high density and exterior MDF boards.

MDF is considerably uniform when compared to natural woods.

It does not contain any rings or knots on the surface area.

MDF has a flat and smooth surface which makes it ideal for veneering as there are no underlying grains or imperfections.

Typical Applications

MDF is used for a wide variety of applications and projects nowadays.

MDF is best used for indoor applications as it’s widely known to have poor moisture resistance.

It’s commonly used to build home furniture, such as cabinets, drawer fronts and shelves.

It’s also a popular option for wall linings, partitions and school projects as it’s very flexible and versatile.

MDF is commonly used for flooring and wainscoting too.

The density of MDF boards make it an ideal choice for decorative overlays and to make the walls of pipe-organ chambers.

It is also used in speaker boxes and theatre set construction.

MDF Fibre Preparation

Image credit: Pexels

The following processes need to be carried out to produce MDF:


Logs used are debarked since the bark is not ideal for use in wood-based panels.

The bark is thus removed from the logs by means of drum or rotor debarkers.

In the former, the logs will rub against the drum and one another, thereby removing the bark.

If a rotor debarker is used, each log rotates around its longitudinal axis, and through the rolling process the rotor will peel off the log’s bark.


The round wood is chipped into wood chips.

The size of these chips will determine the length of the flakes or fibres achieved later.

A drum chipper or disc chipper is used for this process.


The wood chip washing stage refers to when stones, sand, or any other fine non-metallic foreign objects are washed out of the wood chips.


The wood chips will subsequently undergo refining in a refiner in order to be ground into high quality fibres suitable for MDF sheet formation.

This is important to ensure a uniform quality in the fibres.

The wood chips will first be boiled and then taken to the refiner, where they get defibrated.

Generally single-disc refiners are used for this process.

MDF Sheet Formation

Following the above stages, the MDF sheet formation can then take place.

This comprises various phases, namely:


When glueing, it’s critical to apply a precise dose of adhesive.

This is added to the fibres and is important that it gets evenly distributed.

In order to determine the specific amount of adhesive needed, the weight of the wood will be measured using a belt weigher.

Sometimes substances are added to the adhesive to improve its moisture resistance or for fire protection.


The glued fibres will then be spread out evenly onto a conveyor belt which is continuously running.

Liquid Application

Next, release agents, water and any other additives will be sprayed onto it, prior to proceeding to the pressing stage.


During pressing, the glue will be cured as a result of the pressure and high temperature being applied.

The mat composed of fibres and flakes will be pre-pressed and then transferred to the press to be pressed to the required thickness.

The glue will harden, and as a result the wood particles will be plasticised.

Multi-opening presses and continuous presses can be used for this process, with the latter being the most popular as they offer a higher output.

Advantages of MDF

Some of the advantages of MDF include:

  • It is flexible
  • It can be painted
  • It is consistent both in strength and size
  • It is strong and not susceptible to splitting when screws are installed or pulled out
  • It is less prone to expansion and contraction than natural wood
  • It bonds well to wood glue
  • It can be laminated and doweled

Disadvantages of MDF

The main disadvantages of MDF include:

  • Low moisture resistance, so warping could occur if exposed to high humidity
  • May release formaldehyde which is a human carcinogen
  • It is denser than chipboard or plywood so not ideal for some applications
  • If it is a low grade MDF it can swell and break as soon as it is exposed to water
  • It tends to dull cutting blades much more quickly than other types of wood


As you will have discovered, the manufacturing process of how MDF is made contains a number of stages.

From sourcing, debarking and chipping the wood, to refining, glueing and pressing, MDF is a material that takes its form from a combination of intricate manufacturing techniques.

But the end product is a highly versatile and strong material that many trades use for a variety of applications.

The versatility and affordability of MDF makes it one of the most popular materials used in a myriad of projects nowadays.

MDF can be cut to size, laminated and edged to create a variety of stunning bespoke furniture pieces from cabinets, to kitchen units to custom wardrobes and more.

So it’s no wonder MDF is such a popular and commonly used building material.

How to Cut a Laminate Worktop

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 06/08/2023

Whether you're remodelling your kitchen or working on a DIY project, knowing how to cut a laminate worktop correctly is essential.

Laminate worktops have gained immense popularity due to their affordability, durability, and versatility.

With the right tools and techniques, you can achieve precise cuts and create seamless joints for a professional finish.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of cutting laminate worktops with precision and confidence.

Table of Contents

  1. What is a Laminate Worktop?
  2. Why Cut a Laminate Worktop?
  3. Tools & Materials
  4. What’s the Best Way to Cut a Laminate Worktop?
  5. How to Measure a Laminate Worktop
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. Tips for Cutting a Laminate Worktop
  8. Conclusion

What is a Laminate Worktop?

Image Credits: Pexels

A laminate worktop is a popular choice for kitchen and countertop surfaces due to its durability, affordability, and wide range of design options.

It’s made by layering multiple sheets of kraft paper impregnated with resin and bonding them under high pressure and heat.

The top layer is a decorative laminate, available in various patterns, colours, and textures, which gives the worktop its desired aesthetic.

Beneath the decorative layer is a core layer that provides structural stability, and at the bottom, there is a balancing layer that prevents warping.

Laminate worktops are known for their resistance to scratches, stains, and moisture, making them easy to clean and maintain.

In addition, they offer versatility in design, allowing homeowners to achieve the look of natural materials like wood, stone, or marble without the associated cost or maintenance requirements.

Why Cut a Laminate Worktop?

Cutting laminate worktops is often necessary during installation or renovation processes for several reasons:

Size Adjustment

Laminate worktops come in standard sizes but may need to be cut to fit specific dimensions or layouts.

Cutting allows you to customise the worktop to match the available space accurately.

Appliance Installation

When installing kitchen appliances like sinks, cooktops, or built-in ovens, you often need to create precise cutouts in the worktop to accommodate them.

These cutouts ensure a seamless fit and proper functionality of the appliances.

Corner & Joining Cuts

Laminate worktops may require cutting at corners to achieve a perfect fit in L-shaped or U-shaped kitchen layouts.

Additionally, if you have multiple worktop sections, the cutting may be necessary to create clean and tight joints between them.


Cutting laminate worktops can also be done for aesthetic purposes.

Consider incorporating unique design elements, such as curved edges or decorative patterns, to add a personal touch to your kitchen.

Repair & Replacement

In cases where the worktop is damaged, cutting may be necessary to remove the affected area and replace it with a new section.

This is particularly relevant for laminate worktops, as damaged portions can be replaced without refitting the entire surface.

Tools & Materials

To cut a laminate worktop, we recommend you have the following tools and materials to hand:

  • Laminate worktop
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Jigsaw or circular saw
  • Fine-toothed saw blade
  • Sandpaper (medium and fine grit)
  • File
  • Dust mask
  • Masking tape
  • Safety goggles

What’s the Best Way to Cut a Laminate Worktop?

The best way to cut a laminate worktop is using a circular saw.

Follow the step-by-step guide below to know how cut a laminate worktop:

Step 1: Measure & Mark

Start by measuring the dimensions needed for your laminate worktop.

Use a measuring tape to determine the length and width of the required cuts.

Mark the measurements clearly on the surface of the laminate using a pencil.

Step 2: Secure the Worktop

Place the laminate worktop on a stable and level surface, ensuring it overhangs the edge sufficiently to accommodate the length of your cuts.

Use clamps to firmly secure the worktop, preventing it from moving during the cutting process.

Step 3: Mark the Cut Line

Draw a straight line connecting your marked measurement using a combination of squares or straightedges.

Double-check the accuracy of the line to ensure a precise cut.

If you plan to install an under-mount sink or a cooktop, account for any additional cutouts required.

Step 4: Choose the Right Blade

When cutting laminate worktops, using the correct blade is crucial.

Opt for a fine-toothed saw blade explicitly designed for melamine-faced chipboard for clean, chip-free cuts.

In addition, ensure that the blade is sharp and in good condition to avoid tearing or splintering.

Step 5: Cutting with a Jigsaw

If you're using a jigsaw, drill a hole near one end of the cut line, slightly inside the marked area.

Insert the jigsaw blade through the hole and carefully follow the marked line, applying steady and even pressure.

Take your time and let the blade do the work.

Keep the base of the jigsaw firmly against the worktop surface to prevent excessive vibrations.

Step 6: Cutting with a Circular Saw

If you prefer a circular saw, adjust the cutting depth to a slightly more pronounced position than the thickness of the laminate.

Align the saw blade with the cut line, ensuring that the edge of the base plate rests firmly against the straightedge.

Slowly guide the saw along the cut line, maintaining a steady pace to achieve a clean and accurate cut.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

After making the initial cut, you may notice some rough edges or uneven cuts.

Use sandpaper with medium grit to smoothen the edges to remove any burrs or imperfections.

Follow up with fine-grit sandpaper to achieve a smooth and polished finish.

Finally, use a file to refine the shape and remove any roughness for tight corners or curved cuts.

Step 8: Clean & Install

Once you're satisfied with the cuts and overall finish, thoroughly clean the laminate worktop to remove sawdust or debris.

Then, install the worktop, ensuring proper support and secure attachment.

How to Measure a Laminate Worktop

Image Credits: Pexels

Now that you’ve learned how to cut a laminate worktop, it's important to measure the laminate worktop accurately.

Measuring a laminate worktop correctly ensures a proper fit and successful installation.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to measure a laminate worktop:

Clear the Worktop

Remove any items, appliances, or clutter from the laminate worktop to ensure a clear, unobstructed surface for measurement.

Start with the Length

Use a measuring tape to measure the length of the area where the worktop will be installed.

Measure from one end to the other, considering any corners, walls, or gaps where the worktop must fit.

Consider Overhang

Decide on the desired overhang of the worktop.

The standard overhang is usually around 3.8 to 5cm (1.5 to 2 inches) on the front edge of the base cabinets.

Measure the distance from the edge of the base cabinets to determine the overhang length.

Measure the Depth

Determine the depth or width of the worktop by measuring from the back wall to the front edge of the base cabinets.

Take measurements at different points along the length to account for any irregularities or wall or cabinet depth variations.

Account for Cutouts

If you need to install appliances, sinks, or cooktops within the worktop, measure the dimensions and locations of the cutouts required.

Measure each cutout's width, depth, and shape, and ensure to include these measurements in your overall worktop dimensions.

Check It’s Square

Verify if the corners and angles of the area where the worktop will be installed are square.

Use a carpenter's square or a combination square to check the right tips of the corners.

If the corners are not perfectly square, measure the lengths of the diagonals to confirm the accuracy of the measurements.


Before finalising the measurements, double-check all the dimensions and ensure they’re accurate and consistent.

Take additional measures if needed to ensure precision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What’s the Best Tool to Cut Laminate Worktops?

The best tool is considered a circular saw with a fine-toothed blade for cutting laminate countertops.

Its adjustable depth and precise cutting capabilities are ideal for achieving clean and accurate cuts on laminate surfaces.

Q. How Do You Cut Laminate Worktops Without Chipping Them?

To cut laminate countertops without chipping, follow the below mentioned steps:

  1. Use a sharp blade with fine teeth on a circular saw.
  2. Apply painter's tape along the cutting line to reduce splintering.
  3. Cut the laminate from the backside to minimise chipping, and go slow to allow the blade to cut through smoothly.

Q. How Do You Seal a Laminate Worktop After Cutting?

After cutting a worktop, seal it by following these steps:

First, lightly sand the cut edges with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth them.

Clean the surface to remove dust and debris.

Apply a laminate edge banding or a clear silicone sealant to protect the edges from moisture and enhance durability.

Tips for Cutting a Laminate Worktop

Use the Right Tools

A circular saw is the best for cutting a laminate worktop, but you can also use a jigsaw or a hand saw.

Make sure the blade is sharp and the correct type of blade for the material of your worktop.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

It’s important to measure carefully before you cut.

Use a tape measure and a pencil to mark the line where you want to cut.

Clamp the Worktop Securely

This will prevent it from moving while you are cutting.

Use C-clamps or bar clamps to secure the laminate worktop to a workbench or other sturdy surface.

Use a Guide

A straightedge guide will help you to make a straight cut.

You can use a piece of plywood or a metal ruler as a guide.

Cut Slowly & Carefully

Don't try to force the saw through the worktop.

Cut slowly and carefully to avoid chipping or splintering the laminate.

Wipe Away Sawdust

As you cut, sawdust will accumulate on the worktop.

Wipe it away with a damp cloth to keep the surface clean.

Inspect Your Cut

Once you’ve finished cutting, inspect the cut to ensure it is straight and free of splinters.

If you are unhappy with the amount, you can sand it smoothly.


To wrap up, learning how to cut a laminate worktop is a valuable skill for any DIY enthusiast or homeowner looking to upgrade their kitchen.

Following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article, you can achieve precise and professional-looking cuts, ensuring a seamless fit for your worktops.

However, if you're not confident in your cutting abilities or prefer to leave it to the experts, Chigwell Building Joinery offers a convenient solution.

Our cut-to-size laminate board service removes the hassle, providing you with tailor-made worktops that perfectly suit your requirements.

Whether you decide to tackle the cutting yourself or opt for the professional assistance of CBJ Ltd, you can confidently transform your kitchen into a functional and visually appealing space.

So, don't hesitate to contact us and take the first step towards your dream kitchen today.

12 Best Plywood Alternatives

Author Chigwell Building & Joinery

Date 01/06/2023

Depending on your intended use, there are several plywood alternatives you can use for various building projects.

But in doing so, you must choose carefully as some materials are inferior in many ways.

Typically, most contractors and experienced DIY enthusiasts opt for plywood first due to its strength, versatility and high end finish.

But with recent issues surrounding supply chains and increased prices, plywood is no longer as attainable as it once was.

As a result, you may need to look for a suitable alternative for your project.

Below we outline several plywood alternatives that can be used instead, whilst still giving great results.

Table of Contents

What is Plywood?

Plywood is a type of engineered building material made from thin layers or "plies" of wood veneers that are glued together under high pressure.

Typically, the layers are oriented with their grain direction perpendicular to each other, which gives the plywood its strength, stability and in certain cases, flexibility.

The number of plies used to manufacture a sheet of plywood can vary depending on the intended use and the desired thickness and strength.

Plywood is commonly used in construction, furniture-making, and other applications where a strong, durable, and stable wood material is required.

It can come in various sizes, thicknesses, and grades, depending on the intended use.

Some types of plywood may also have a decorative veneer on the outermost layer to enhance its appearance.

However, plywood is regarded as an expensive material, and may not always be suitable for projects on a tight budget.

Due to the pandemic and recent wildfires in countries where plywood is mass produced, plywood has become harder to obtain.

So finding suitable alternatives to plywood have increased in demand.

Why is Plywood in Short Supply?

There’s numerous factors why timber and consequently plywood is in short supply, which includes:


When the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was a global slump in sawmill activity, which led to far less plywood being produced.

The resulting knock in effect caused a major shortfall in timber-based materials being readily available as they were before.

Log Shortage

Due to both the pandemic and weather conditions, the number of logs cut in Europe dramatically fell from 2020 onwards, leading to a supply drop in raw materials.

Plywood use was still high as the construction industry continued to operate, so existing stocks disappeared whilst production simply couldn’t keep up with demand.


To make matters worse, extreme weather conditions during summer months led to a number of forest fires, destroying literally millions of acres of forests.


Due to the UK leaving the EU, the importation of timber material involved a great deal more red tape.

Moreover, the weakening British pound sterling meant purchasing power had been severely depleted, making it harder to acquire plywood at previously affordable prices.

Best Plywood Alternatives

You may be surprised to learn there are several excellent alternatives to plywood.

Depending on their use and the type of project you have in mind, some of the following materials may actually be more appropriate as well as more affordable than plywood sheets:

1. Polyurethane Board

Image credit: Pixabay

Polyurethane board, commonly referred to as PU board, is a type of rigid foam insulation material made from polyurethane foam.

It's frequently used in building and construction as a thermal insulator for walls, roofs, and floors.

Polyurethane board is manufactured by combining polyols (organic compounds with multiple hydroxyl groups) and diisocyanates (organic compounds with multiple isocyanate groups) in the presence of a blowing agent.

This causes the mixture to then expand and form a foam.

The foam is then cured and cut into boards of various sizes and thickness.

As a result, polyurethane boards have excellent thermal insulation properties, high compressive strength, and good resistance to water penetration.

It's also very lightweight, easy to install and affordable, making it a popular alternative to plywood for a wide range of building applications.

2. Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)