There is no "grain" to particleboard, end or otherwise. It is made up of
small, randomly oriented fragments of wood fiber (basically sawdust) in a
resin binder. Threaded fasteners frequently fail in particleboard because
there is little structural integrity to the material.
The fix for your particular problem is to bore out the failed screw hole,
glue in a hardwood dowel, drill a pilot hole and reinstall the screw.
...or maybe, glue the dowel at right angles to the screw. A screw into the
endgrain of most any wood is a weak attachment. This is a picture of
something I did last summer rebuilding a desk. The pine serves as a
substrate for a quarter inch oak plywood top glued to the substrate. I
drilled the holes 5/8" with a Forstner bit and used hardwood dowels. Also I
used pocket screws predrilled through the oak trim on the desk edge. The
screw holes were then plugged with matching oak. Of course, I realize that
my suggestion just might not be feasible for this particular problem.
Randomly oriented in three dimensions?
I think not.
They may be randomly oriented in the horizontal plane but they are
oriented horizontally in layers. Therefore, there is end grain.
As Paul sez, compare the paint sucking ability of edge vs face.
"The thing about saying the wrong words is that A, I don't notice it, and B,
sometimes orange water gibbon bucket and plastic." -- Mr. Burrows
Well, particle board can refer to a variety of things but..
Considering the considerable difference in paint sucking ability of MDF
on its edge vrs. its face, I would have to say it is oriented in some
For the sheet goods made of coarser chips, it is quite evident from
looking at it that the press process orients the chips "flat"; this
would indeed make it directional. This is probably true for MDF as well,
it is just harder to observe; anything composite made of non-symmetrical
bits would tend to exhibit this I would think.
OTOH, man-made materials is certainly not my field of expertise.
Particle board, MDF & OSB are all quite different products.; they all
have their uses. MDF has decent strength, machines well & accepts
paint well. It is not particle board but it isn't furniture grade
Particle board is just that; made of wood particles; not much better
than coarse sawdust.
MDF is made from wood fibers that are generated by breaking down wood
chemically to the fiber level.
OSB is made from wood species that cannot be "peeled"; but can chipped
That said; the faces of all particle board, MDF & OSB are denser than
the edges, thus generating "end grain" or directionality behavior.
Source of info:
f2f discussion with APA wood specialists
I don't like or use particle board.
Didn't like OSB too much until I did a fair amount of work with it
(shearwall testing); changed my opinion.
MDF id pretty good stuff; strong, machines well and paints up nice. I
use it a lot for shop garage cabinets / shelving.
MDF has 4 planes of "endgrain" but one can work around it.
I call it an "edge" rather than an "endgrain." In any event, there
are special screws for particleboard. I have had success using a
piano hinge (lots of small screws) to attach an MDF door. A screw
in the edge is more likely to fail than into a face due to more
support in the surrounding area.
Some is pressed, some is made through a roller process (usually lower
grades). The pressed stuff has faces and four edges, the rolled stuff
has variation between warp and weft edges as well.
MDF will take screws in an edge, if you pre-drill and use a parallel
threaded woodscrew (not a drywall or self-tapper). Chipboard
(particleboard) is garbage however you treat it.
A 1" board lstarts as a 24" mat of fibre pulp before compression so i
suggest if there is an endgrain it is the edge. So someone has put a
screw into the edge of a board. As to fixing the break up of said board
i use superglue thin and cramp flat before setting. The hole invariable
closes and insert screw again.
When I used to assemble case-goods, I used a 1/8" bradpoint bit in an
air-drill and then used a 2" #8 'LOWROOT' screw. Aggressive threads, but
skinny root. The drill bit is bigger than the root of the screw, even
then, the shit will split sometimes. Its 'end-grain' is like a stack of
wafers.... easily split apart.
The 'face grain', however, has the added benefit of there being much
more surrounding material to allow some lateral pressure from the
cutting screw threads. The particles are finer on the surface as well.
But don't count on that near the edge... for obvious reasons.
Let's face it... the only redeeming factor is that PB is flat and cheap.
A great material to use as a substrate for veneers and laminates and
even melamine. A client of mine cut 2' x 2' panels from PB and 'tiled'
his workshop floor with them... he edgebanded each tile with 3/8" oak
strips. 3 coats of Fabulon and it looks like cork. A great, cheap floor.
..ran out of tea...gone
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