What Is Waferboard

by Leroy
(Piscataway NJ)

What is Waferboard? Waferboard was designed as a structural use panel, but because it is easy to work with and has a distinctive appearance, its applications have been broadened to include a host of home craft projects. The material has become popular for wall paneling and other uses that include doors or door paneling, fencing, outdoor sheds and farm structures, and decorative inside projects. Standard panel size is 4' x 8' thicknesses range from 1/4" through 34". The panels are made by compressing wafer like pieces of wood that are bonded with phenol resin. The wafers can differ in size and thickness, and they can be assembled randomly or in a particular direction. Sometimes the wafers are arranged in layers that relate to their size and thickness.

The panels can be stained, painted, or finished in natural fashion. Semitransparent stains will provide color while allowing wafer grain and other natural characteristics to show through. When light colors are used, it's recommended that the stain be an oil based type to guard against discoloration that can happen because of water soluble compounds (extractives) in the wood. The material can be covered with either oil or water base paints. Most times it's best to use a primer or undercoat before the final finish, but do a test on a scrap piece if the color you wish to apply is very dark. It's possible that a single coat may do.

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