What Kind of Wood?

Wood Core

The Sherwood Shelving system is made with the most superior wood core and Thermally Fused Laminate (TFL) available in the marketplace today. We have tested all the major suppliers of TFL and no one compares to the quality and durability of the engineered board that we use.

When talking to your clients it is a good idea to refer to it as Thermally Fused Laminate (TFL), or engineered furniture board, instead of particleboard or melamine. Many people have a preconceived idea of particleboard/melamine that is based on their own bad experience or the bad experience of a friend. These are usually the result of purchasing furniture (eg. bookcases, desks, etc) from volume discount stores and having big chunks break off or trying to screw into it and having the wood disintegrate into sawdust. There is a substantial difference between the cheap particleboards and the engineered TFL used by Sherwood Shelving.

The following information is to help you as the design consultant feel more comfortable about the product you are selling. There are many names used to describe the different qualities of TFL and some of the more common are lumped into two categories:

  • Commercial Grade (sometimes referred to as Shelf Grade)
  • Industrial Grade (sometimes referred to as Door Grade)


There are, however, four grades of TFL that comprise the commercial and industrial category:

  • M1
  • MS
  • M2
  • M3


The lowest grade (M1) is not widely used since there are no established minimum requirements for face or edge screw holding ability, while the highest grade (M3) exceeds the strength and density requirements of the majority of RTA (Ready To Assemble) furniture applications. Although there is no specific documentation, most people within the industry agree that M1 and MS fall under the Shelf or Commercial category while M2 and M3 fall under the Industrial category.

TFL is usually manufactured to meet (although it often does not) the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) who publish
tables listing the various quality levels for such things as Internal Bond (IB), Modulus of Rupture (MOR) – flexural strength, Modulus
of Elasticity (MOE), Face and Edge Screw Withdrawal Resistance (SWR), Formaldehyde Emissions, etc. It is beyond the scope of
this article to go into detail about these tests but you can find more information from ANSI or on the internet.

Commercial boards (M1 & MS) usually have a density rating of about 40lb whereas Industrial boards (M2 & M3) are usually about 45lb high density rating which makes this board strong and very durable. Studies have been done to demonstrate who manufactures the board makes a big difference as one mill may manufacture an MS grade board that tests higher in qualities than a M2 board manufactured at a different mill; or some mills produce MS or M2 board that do not meet the ANSI standards.
Sherwood Shelving provides consistent quality by using only top grade substrates from mills that consistently surpass the ANSI standards. Many closet companies build thier organizers using far inferior particleboard in either 5/8 inch or 3/4 inch thick melamines. Cheap particleboards also have higher urea-formaldehyde emissions which can cause health related problems. Many people are concerned about the environment and their health – and rightly so – that is why Sherwood Shelving goes to great lengths to purchase the highest quality board with EPA TSCA Title VI Compliant for formadehyde emissions less than 0.09 ppm. In fact, the formaldehyde emissions in the board we use is so small that there is probably more formaldehyde emissions from the plants within the customer’s home. We pay a premium for the quality of board that we use but the benefits of using this high quality board are:

The density of the core gives long life and durability

  • Thicker TFL
  • Lower formaldehyde emissions
  • Less tendency to warp or sag
  • Environmentally safe

Keeping Our Environment Green!

In keeping with our core commitment to sustain environmental resources for future generations, and to provide a product for those who are sensitive to emissions, we we only use TFL that is carb compliant. We strive to use engineered composite panel wood product made from 100% pre-consumer and reclaimed wood particles. This employs the strictest of green practices in the manufacturing of this premium particleboard.

Although we use different supplier depending on the color, we strive to use TFL using a fiber procurement system to meet Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) standards, and our finished panel embodies an Environmentally Preferred Product (EPP™).

Thermally-Fused Laminate (TFL)

Beyond the quality of our engineered furniture board is the superior quality of our TFL finish. Have you ever been in a volume discount store and seen their white melamine particleboard? This melamine has a yellow hue which is caused from the paper being so thin that you can see the particleboard. TFL is usually classified on bases weight or grams per square meter. Commercial TFL often use paper weights less than 70 grams with many Industrial boards using 70 – 80 gram paper.  Our TFL Panels are made from decorative papers that have been impregnated with melamine resin and then thermally fused, pressed with heat until the resin liquifies, to become part of the surface of the board. When they cool these panels become very hard, scratch resistant, stain resistant and color fast. The net result is surface properties very similar to vertical grade high pressure laminate products.

Your customer wants to feel assured about the purchase they are about to make. They want the best value for their money. It is important
as the design consultant to teach your customer about the high quality products available. This can be a powerful way to close a
sale if you can emphasize it without dwelling on it.

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