How do you repair particle board furniture? Spoiler: you don’t. After this experience, we’ve decided we should never buy particle board furniture again! Here’s why.
First, watch this video to see how we decided to deal with particle board furniture. We looked at a three-year-old buffet table and asked, “How do we fix this?”
This buffet table is a great example of what we call “Fast Furniture.” Much like Fast Food and Fast Fashion, Fast Furniture’s single focus on price comes at the expense of quality, health, and the environment. But we decided to respond to it by launching the slow furniture movement. If you want to see more, watch our slow furniture movement videos for other examples of fast furniture and what we do with fast furniture (with a chainsaw).
Our particle board furniture story
How do you repair particle board furniture? When the veneer scratches, swells with moisture, and starts to disintegrate, we have to ask—seriously—how do you repair THAT? We give up. The mistake has been made. At this point, it goes in the trash. Or, maybe we’ll throw it off the balcony instead.
The only real solution is to get it right the first time. Have your furniture built to last. And that’s where we come in, to provide solid wood furniture made to your specifications at DutchCrafters.
Manufactured wood furniture
Manufactured wood furniture is a booming business. But is it worth it? Is it worth the cost to the environment, our wallets, and our sanity when it goes bad within three years? Types of manufactured wood paneling:
- Particle board (aka particleboard or particle-board)
- Low-density fiberboard (LDF)
- Medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
- Oriented strand board (OSB)
- Pressed wood
All of these manufactured wood types have their differences, but they share the characteristics that they are made of wood by-products (ranging from shreds of wood to particles) that are glued together into panels or sheets. In fact, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Woodworking Hazards states, “Composition board, for example, particle board, is made by gluing wood dust, chips, etc. together with urea-formaldehyde resins. The materials can emit unreacted formaldehyde for some years after manufacture, with composition board emitting more formaldehyde.” When crafted into furniture, they are often covered by a veneer to protect the wood from moisture and beautify the product. These veneers often replicate painted or stained wood. However, when they sustain damage, it becomes very clear that they’re not the real thing.
Benefits of particle board furniture
Particle board furniture’s benefits include:
- Less expensive purchase price
- The lighter weight makes it cheaper to ship long distances and easier to move around the house
- Hard paneling does not dent easily
Problems with particle board furniture
Any manufactured product you buy will have some benefits and some pros and some cons, but particle board furniture creates far more problems than solid wood furniture. These range from manufacturer health risks to customer health risks to rapid deterioration and breakdown. Read more in the next sections about damage and the health risks caused by formaldehyde.
Types of particle board furniture damage
Particle board furniture is particularly susceptible to the following damage:
- Scratched veneers, revealing the tan particle board underneath
- Broken corners and edges
- Loosening screws and fasteners over time
- Crumbling wood fragments
- Extreme swelling when exposed to water
Formaldehyde in Particle Board Furniture
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health Environmental Health Formaldehyde Fact Sheet, Formaldehyde is used in many types of pressed wood products, including particle board. Some people are more sensitive than others to the respiratory effects of formaldehyde gas from the furniture. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared that Formaldehyde is a probable carcinogen.
Stick With Solid Wood
If this worries you, we have good news! Many outstanding furniture manufacturers still make solid wood furniture. And some of the best are Amish men and women in woodshops across Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.