Wood is arguably the most beautiful material available for designing furniture, shelving and even certain aspects of the home. Two excellent, man-made options available for these purposes are MDF (medium density fiberboard) and Baltic birch plywood.

These products use a resin for binding various pieces of wood together and extreme pressure to eliminate any voids. The primary difference is that MDF is often made from small materials, about the size of sawdust, while Baltic birch plywood uses veneers that are sandwiched together.

Two huge advantages of Baltic birch plywood are the all birch core and thick outer veneers. The core veneers are cross-banded and this process makes the plywood strong. Thick outer veneers make applying the finishing touches easier.

Unlike plywood, MDF doesn't provide much strength over long spans without support. However, MDF offers a smooth surface and this is excellent for cabinetry or furniture covered with a veneer. Keep in mind that MDF is rather dense and this means it is a heavier material than plywood.

Baltic birch plywood has another advantage over MDF. Plywood products handle connecting systems, including the use of screws, much better. This makes it an excellent material for long term use.

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