I recently had a vendor hand over a sample of HDHMR, the new magic material for woodwork that is expected to provide a lower cost but better option than plywood. Before I move further let me de-jargonize and explain what HDHMR means. The acronym stands for High Density High Moisture Resistant. Anyone would now ask High Density High Moisture Resistant WHAT?? The what, that no one ever explains, stands for the “Board”. Simply put HDHMR is a superior variant of MDF (Medium Density Fibre Board) that is higher in density (hence HD) and Higher Moisture Resistant (hence HMR) than MDF.
Having seen MDF warp, bend and puff up with even a hint of water on it my first reaction was experiment first hand how the material will behave when exposed to water. So here is what I did.
- Dipped it in water for 2 – 3 minutes and let it dry off. Observed it for any warp, fluff, bend etc. – HDHMR behaved well in this particular test. Firstly it did not absorb much water – maybe due to its higher density. Even the water that got absorbed dried out fairly quickly and did not leave a trace nor an adverse effect on the material. Here are a couple of pics
- Now that the material was standing up to the challenge it was time to put it through some deep stress test. I filled a bucket of water and kept the same block soaked in it for 24 hours. Here is how it looked afterwards.
The water had penetrated all through the material changing its colour to dark brown, however the board still retained its structural stability and there was no visible warp or puffiness. It has been over 3 days now and the board is yet to completely dry off….see this
What is however visible is that it definitely can withstand more stress and moisture than regular MDF. The tech specifications quoted for HDHMR also state that it has a better screw holding capacity than plywood, that however is yet to be experienced first hand and probably is an exercise for another experiment day.