Difference Between Rubber Wood and MDF

Main Difference

The main difference between rubberwood and MDF (medium-density fiberboard) is that the rubberwood is a type of hardwood that comes from the rubber tree and MDF is the wood waste products (sawdust essentially) and mixing it with resins.

Rubber Wood vs. MDF

Wood is mainly classified into two categories. These two categories are hardwood and softwood. Rubberwood is the wood that comes from the rubber tree, specifically the Pará rubber tree. It is a type of hardwood. MDF (medium-density fiberboard) is made by mixing wood waste products (sawdust essentially) with resins. This mixture is then compressed to create large and flat boards. Rubberwood is softer and less dense wood. However, it is not true in all cases. For example, the balsa wood is soft, light, and less dense than most of the other woods, but is classified as a hardwood. MDF is not solid wood. But it lasts far longer than you expect at a fraction of its price. Rubberwood is a light, low-cost, tropical hardwood timber. It is a medium-textured, moderately hard, straight-grained wood which is approximately the same density as ash and maple hardwood. MDF is similar to the traditional plywood, but it has several advantages over it. It is denser and stronger than plywood, as well as particleboard. The common applications of the rubberwood include toys, furniture, and kitchen accessories. MDF is used as a building material and in furniture making. It has a hard, flat, smooth surface which makes it ideal for veneering. The timber of rubberwood is considered environmental friendly than many other hardwoods. MDF is not environmental friendly as it constantly emits volatile organic compounds like urea-formaldehyde for at least several months after manufacture. These compounds create health risks at sufficient concentrations.

Comparison Chart

Rubber WoodMDF
A type of hardwood which comes from the rubber treeAn engineered wood product made by mixing wood waste products with resins
Applications
Toys, furniture, kitchen accessories, etcBuilding material, furniture, veneering
Eco-Friendly
It isIt is not
Rate
Little expensiveInexpensive
Reliability
MoreLess

What is Rubber Wood?

Rubberwood is a wood which derives from a rubber tree. The rubber tree is getting its name from the milky latex it exudes when cut. This latex is used in making rubber. Initially, rubberwood is whitish lumber that fades to a light brown over time. It is a medium-textured, moderately hard, straight-grained wood which is approximately the same density as ash and maple hardwood. Rubberwood is not resistant to weather. It is not suitable for outdoor furniture. However, it is made into cutting boards, toys, and shelves of home. Rubberwood is a light, low-cost, tropical hardwood timber. It is comparable to teak in many aspects. Rubberwood is best for a wide array of woodworking and timber projects. It is becoming one of the most important export timbers of many Southeast Asian countries. Rubber trees are the plantation-grown trees. Rubber latex is harvested from all trees 5 to 30 years old annually. The latex of rubberwood continues extracting until its production. In most cases, this occurs approximately after the 30 years of tree planting. Rubberwood is an agricultural byproduct because the primary agricultural harvest is latex. The timber of rubberwood is considered environmental friendly than many other hardwoods. Due to its name, one expects the wood of rubber tree to be soft and springy like rubber. But it is essentially a hardwood. It means that the Pará rubber tree is an angiosperm.

Features

  • Dense grain
  • Easily controlled in the kiln drying process
  • Easily manageable in the kitchen
  • Not suitable for outdoor usage
  • Recycled wood
  • Eco-friendly

What is MDF?

MDF (medium-density fiberboard) is made by mixing wood waste products (sawdust essentially) with resins. It is an engineered wood product which is created by breaking down wood residuals into wood fibers. The wood fibers combined with wax and a resin binder. This mixture is then flattened and made into panels by applying high pressure and temperature. It is finished with a layer of real-wood veneer or not-real-wood laminate for furniture. A majority of furniture go for MDF with a wooden veneer, giving it an expensive look. Furniture made with MDF is generally inexpensive and stylish. MDF is resistant to climate conditions. MDF is not solid wood, but it lasts far longer than you expect at a fraction of its price. It does not contain knots or rings like natural wood making it more uniform. Furthermore, it is easier to cut and work with as compared to the traditional wood. The hard, flat, smooth surface of MDF makes it ideal for veneering. It can also be glued, dowelled, or laminated. However, MDF requires a lot of chemicals to produce. It is similar to real wood in a way that it has the possibility of splitting. The furniture made with MDF is not usually recommended as the chemicals used in its production are harmful to your health.

Cons

  • Much heavy making it tough to move
  • Does not hold smooth-shank nails or fine-pitch screws well
  • Highest formaldehyde-emitting wood product (formaldehyde causes cancer)
  • Susceptible to moisture damage
  • The veneers used on MDF tend to chip quickly
  • Damage is difficult to repair

Key Differences

  1. Rubberwood comes from the rubber tree, specifically the Pará rubber tree whereas MDF (medium-density fiberboard) is produced by mixing wood waste products (sawdust essentially) with resins.
  2. The common applications of the rubberwood include toys, furniture, and kitchen accessories while the common applications of MDF are building material, furniture making, and specially veneering.
  3. The timber of rubberwood is considered environmental friendly than many on the other hand, MDF is not environmental friendly as it constantly emits volatile organic compounds like urea-formaldehyde into the air that create health risks at sufficient concentrations.
  4. Rubberwood is a light, low-cost, medium-textured, moderately hard, and straight-grained wood while MDF is an engineered wood product which is created by breaking down wood residuals into wood fibers.

Conclusion

Rubberwood and MDF are different as rubberwood is a naturally occurring wood whereas MDF is an engineered and self -made kind of wood.

Author:

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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