Getting to the Core Series: Oriented Strand Board

When most people think of oriented strand board (OSB) they think of home construction, but savvy manufacturers know OSB is a cost-effective alternative for other applications. For example, Timber Products OSB core can be used as a high-quality, low-cost substitute for veneer core, even on critical veneers such as cherry and walnut.


At Timber Products’ mill in Corinth, MS, there’s an empty cabinet that’s full of surprises. Plant manager David Mitchell explains, “Whenever a customer visits our plant to learn about hardwood plywood, we say, ‘You should try our OSB core.’ Then they say, “You can't put veneer on OSB.’

“So we built a cabinet using OSB core and put it in the conference room. We point at it and ask, ‘Do you like that cabinet?’ and customers say, ‘Yeah, that looks awesome.’ Then we tell them, ‘That's OSB core,’” said Mitchell.

What is OSB?

Oriented strand board (OSB), is made by mixing rectangularly-shaped wood flakes (strands) with waterproof adhesive and creating alternating layers where the strands run perpendicular to each other for stability. The layers are then hot-pressed into a wood panel.

“We started looking at using OSB in hardwood plywood because the availability of particle board has been very tight recently,” said Mitchell. “We may get to a point in the next few months where there's just not enough particle board available.”

OSB versus MDF

When particle board is unavailable, most manufacturers choose medium-density fiberboard (MDF), but OSB panels from Timber Products Company are a superior alternative. “Why make that leap up to higher-priced MDF? You're already using a composite panel and OSB is less expensive and it weighs less than MDF,” explained Mitchell.

Save money using Timber Products OSB instead of veneer core

“We have a saying around here about Timber Products OSB core, ‘It’s not your mama's OSB!’” said Mitchell. “It’s not the stuff you buy off-the-shelf to build houses. We put very high-end veneers like cherry and walnut on this OSB every day of the week and we prefinish it,” Mitchell said.

Customers who have tried Timber Products’ OSB core as a substitute for veneer core stick with it. “When customers try our OSB core they realize taking a small step back from veneer core can save a huge amount of money.”

Benefits of Timber Products OSB Core

  • Made from high-density OSB (different from OSB used in home construction)
  • Panels are sanded and calibrated to have less thickness variation than veneer core panels.
  • All veneer species and cuts can be laminated to our OSB panel.
  • Can be edge-banded.
  • Core is NAUF and can be combined with Timber Products’ NAUF glue options for a complete NAUF panel.
  • Panels can be prefinished
  • Can be combined with type 1 phenolic resin to create a waterproof panel
  • Lighter than particle board (80 lbs for a 3/4" OSB panel vs. 100 lbs for a 3/4" particle board panel)

Save money without compromising quality with Timber Products OSB Core. Connect with a wood products specialist to learn more.

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