Use of material properties in commercial products

There are many commercial products that are made from timber, or from a timber-based man-made board.

A collection of colourful, small children's wooden building blocks placed on a wooden floor.
Children's colourful wooden building blocks

Many toys are made from timber, but the correct timber must be chosen with care, as the toys need to be tough and hard wearing. Beech is a hard-wearing timber and is used in many children’s toys, as well as for kitchen worktops, tool handles (such as chisels and files), chopping boards and a wide variety of other uses.

Flat-pack, chipboard furniture parts with instructions and tools.
Flat-pack furniture, often made from chipboard.

Flat-pack furniture is often made from a material called chipboard. Chipboard is made from small particles of timber and dust that are bound together with a resin. Chipboard is compressed so that it is dense and flat.

Chipboard needs to be coated so that moisture can’t get to the wood fibres; otherwise, they will absorb the water, causing the chipboard to swell. Chipboard is normally covered with a polymer laminate - the polymer might have a pattern on it to look like an expensive hardwood or could be white. Most flat-pack furniture is designed on a computer and then cut and drilled by a computer numerical controlled (CNC) router. Chipboard has no grain and can be drilled and cut with ease.