How to choose the right blockboard

Blockboard is widely regarded as the superior alternative to solid timber due to its unique production process. Massive logs are disassembled into strips and then reassembled using glue, creating a blockboard core. This construction method ensures a solid and stable product, eliminating the risk of warping commonly associated with solid wood.

There are various types of blockboard constructions available, with the most common being the 3-ply variant. It consists of a solid blockboard core covered by either rotary cut veneer, thin HDF, or thin particleboard.
The rotary cut veneer face, often made from poplar or ceiba (fromager) veneer, is ideal for veneering or applying thick HPL.
The HDF face is suitable for painting, lacquering, or applying thin HPL/CPL (continuous pressure laminate) or melamine paper.
The particleboard face is primarily recommended for applying burls.

A more sophisticated version of the 3-ply construction is the 5-ply blockboard, which incorporates a rotary cut veneer within the core and the face veneer or HDF. This additional veneer enhances the panel’s stability and ensures a perfectly flat surface. Blockboard cores are typically non-sanded, so the extra veneer provides a cushioning effect.

3-ply and 5-ply blockboards are commonly available in thicknesses ranging from 12 to 32mm.

When greater thickness is required, double or triple core constructions are utilized.

Double core blockboard is suitable for doors or long furniture elements. The core strips are aligned with the wood fibers in the longest direction, ensuring optimal stability.

Triple core blockboard offers an additional layer of stability. One of the three cores is placed crosswise between the other two cores, creating a “blockboard plywood” effect. This configuration results in an exceptionally stable product, even for large elements such as doors, tables, and furniture.

Double and triple core blockboards are available in thicknesses ranging from 36 to 60mm. Similar to 3-ply and 5-ply blockboards, they can be produced with rotary cut poplar veneer, ceiba veneer, thin HDF, or thin particleboard.

Weight is a crucial factor when considering blockboard. It can vary significantly depending on the wood species used for the core. Opting for a lightweight material can greatly reduce hardware costs (furniture fittings like hinges, screws, slides, knobs and pulls, etc. and also saw blades), labor efforts, and transportation expenses.

Three common timbers used for blockboard cores are spruce (fir), poplar, and albasia (albizia falcata).
Spruce blockboard has a density of approximately 430-450 kg/m3
Poplar blockboard has a density of around 400-420 kg/m3
Albasia blockboard has a density of about 330-350 kg/m3.

Spruce and poplar cores are typically constructed with butt joints, which may result in minor gaps when the board is cut. Albasia cores, on the other hand, are usually constructed using finger joints, ensuring a gap-free board.