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I want to build a simple bedside table out of wood. What type of timber should I use?
Unless you're thinking of solid wood, which is pricey, the most widely available materials are plywood, blockboard and medium density fibreboard.MDF is my personal favourite as it's the easiest material to work with. You can cut, plane and route it easily, although make sure you use mask while you do so. It also has no grain, so it's ideal for creating a finish on, such as painting.
If you're aiming for a varnished or stained finish, plywood is a cost-effective option. However, it's heavy to work with and the edges can split and splinter.
To avoid this, try to cut across the grain. Blockboard has a plywood-like veneer and would again be suitable for staining or varnishing. Lt's lighter than plywood but not as strong due to its centre construction of randomly glued blocks. The edges are also an issue as slicing through reveals the unsightly interior. You would have to fill either an edge with woodfiller or nail on an additional piece of timber.
Good sources for all the above are Hop Sze Timber In Wan Chai (tel: 2832 9989) and Sam Shing Timber In Central (tel: 2850 61611).
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