Hammond Paper’s Paperboard & Paperboard Converting 101

Published on Thu, Jun 27, 2019 4:00 PM GMT

What is paperboard?

According to Wikipedia, paperboard  is a thick paper-based material. While there is no rigid differentiation between paper and paperboard , paperboard is generally thicker (usually over 0.30 mm, 0.012 in, or 12 points) than paper and has certain superior attributes such as foldability and rigidity. According to ISO standards, paperboard is a paper with a grammage above 250 g/m2, but there are exceptions. Paperboard can be single- or multi-ply.  Paperboard can be easily cut and formed , is lightweight, and because it is strong, is used in packaging. Another end-use is high quality graphic printing, such as book and magazine covers or postcards. Paperboard is also used in fine arts for creating sculptures.  Sometimes it is referred to as cardboard, which is a generic, lay term used to refer to any heavy paper pulp–based board, however this usage is deprecated in the paper, printing and packaging industries as it does not adequately describe each product type.


There are many types of paperboard, with the most common being:


Chipboard – Chipboard , which is sometimes referred to as boxboard , cardboard or mounting board (when it is higher than 40 point and used for mounting pictures or other sheets to it) is typically the lowest cost type of paperboard.  Chipboard is made from materials that are 100% recycled and 100% recyclable. Consumer and commercial paper waste is collected, sorted and turned into a pulp at the mill, then pressed and bound together as it goes through a myriad of rollers with an adhesive to make a stiff and solid board at the end. Chipboard comes in varying calipers (which can then be turned into many different items). Chipboard also comes in a variety of colours, with the main ones being:

Light brown or greyish brown,

Black 1 Side and solid black, and

White 1 Side and white 2 sides.

Some chipboard is “bending chipboard” and some is not – bending chipboard is made in a slightly different way such that when it is folded, it doesn’t crack at the edges, so it’s important to know what the end user is going to be using it for so you can make the decision whether bending chip is required (as bending chip is usually a little more expensive than non bending chip). Bending chip is typically made in calipers from 12-36 point, but the calipers of bending chip Hammond Paper normally stocks are 18-24 point.

All chipboard and most paperboards have a grain direction and depending on what the customer is using it for, grain direction can be important.  When they tell you that they want 28×40 sheets, they usually know the grain always runs with the length of the sheet which is the second number – in this case the 40”.  The significance of this is that the board will bend more easily along one dimension than the other – it will bend more easily if you fold it along the length (ie. At the 20” mark on a 28×40 sheet).  This matters to some people depending on what they are using it for.

For measuring the thickness of paperboard, there are 2 ways people do this:

The Imperial way, which is to say it is “x point” (ie. 20 point (.020) or 90 point (.090), which is a measure of the thickness of the board in thousandths of an inch (20 point is 20/1000ths of an inch thick, and 90 point is 90/1000ths of an inch thick), and

The Metric way, which is usually in millimetres (1 mm equals approximately 40 point board which is 40/1000ths of an inch thick, 2 mm equals approximately 80 point board which is 80/1000ths of an inch thick, etc.)

Pasted Chipboard (Regular & Cross Grain) – Chipboard made from a mill typically is made to a maximum thickness of 50-60 point (approx. 1.5mm).  Pasted Chipboard is simply chipboard which is pasted together with other chipboard to make it thicker chipboard.  Hammond Paper can make pasted chipboard up to 500 point (1/2 an inch thick).  The lamination process makes the board very strong and rigid.  To give extra strength and stiffness, pasted chipboard is often made “cross grain”, whereby the grain direction of the board that is glued is alternated. 

Linerboard, pallet or skid liners – Skid liners are typically thin chipboard in the 9-20 point range, sometimes covered with an anti-slip/anti-skid coating. The liners provide protection from water, nails on pallets, etc. for items on pallets, provide stability when stacking items on top of one another and prevent merchandise from slipping, reducing the risk of product damage.

Graphic board  – Graphic board is a grey solid board available in 79 to 118 point thickness and is made of 100 % recycled fibre using a slightly different process than that used to make chipboard which results in it often sitting flatter than chipboard and pasted chipboard.  Graphic board is typically a little softer material than chipboard and not quite as rigid, and usually slightly less expensive than chipboard.  Interestingly, graphic board is predominantly used in Europe whereas chipboard is used predominantly in North America.

CRB or CCNB – Coated recycled board (CRB) or clay coated news back (CCNB) is recycled paperboard that is not bleached, is white on 1 side that has been clay coated and the other side of the sheet is grey like a newspaper or brown.  This board is often used for making folding cartons, including cereal boxes, laundry detergent boxes, etc. because it is good for printing on and the cost of this board, while typically more expensive than chipboard, is less expensive than TMP and SBS.

SBS or TMP – Solid Bleached Sulfate board (SBS) or Thermo Mechanical Pulp (TMP) are high quality substrates of paperboard made from bleached virgin wood pulp and is typically solid white board (white on both side and all the way through).  It is more expensive than the above mentioned boards and viewed as a higher quality board.

Corrugated –  Corrugated fiberboard  is a material consisting of a fluted corrugated sheet and one or two flat linerboards. It is made on “flute lamination machines” or “corrugators” and is used in the manufacture of shipping containers and corrugated boxes.

Edge boards – Edge boards , also known as corner posts or corner protectors, are stiff L shaped boards used to protect the corners of product on skids from being damaged and to provide vertical strength for multi-pallet stacking, often enabling more skids to be packed in a container or trailer, often decreasing transportation costs and load damage costs.

U channel board – U channel boards are stiff U shaped boards, similar to edge boards, but used to protect edges like the edges of a door or window frame on 3 sides (vs edge boards which typically protect 2 sides). U channel boards can stiff U shaped boards or they can be be made as lay flat boards with scoring on them so they can be folded up to make U shapes when needed.  These “lay flat U channel boards” transport and store much more easily than the stiff U shaped boards.  Both edge boards and U channel board can also be custom printed with logos, instructions, safety tips or advertising messages.

Foam board – Foam board is lightweight foam (typically 1/8” thick) laminated to chipboard, CCNB or SBS to make custom products, including padded book covers or menu boards, or customized packaging solutions to reduce the risk of the packaging materials scratching sensitive materials.

Die cut board   – board cut into customized shapes with sharp steel knives, such as in the manufacture of cardboard boxes, gaskets, specialty printed materials, customized packaging, etc.

Grooved board  – If your project requires an item to fold at designated dimension, like in the case of a set up box, portfolio, sample folder, rigid box, it needs one or more grooves cut into the chipboard (typically for 80 point board and thicker, allowing  the item to fold easily along the groove, making it a high-quality, and well-made item).  Items can be grooved multiple times in either direction, on one or both sides of the board.  Finished boards are often custom cut to size by square cutting on the guillotines or rotary slitter.

Round Cornered Panels – If your cardboard, chipboard, or paperboard project requires rounded corners, we have the equipment to get the job done in many radii from ¼” to 7/8”. Beautiful packaging, gift boxes, binders, tags, and scrapbooks (to name a few items) can be constructed by our team from chipboard or corrugated cardboard. Designers use rounded corners for aesthetic appeal, and they’re scientifically proven to be “easier on the eyes.” Our round corner cutter has the capacity to cut items up to 17 inches wide, and if your item is over 17 inches, we can die cut the corners.

Spines – We can custom cut spines for books or binders on our spine cutter.

Pallet Wrap – We didn’t intend to get into the hand wrap business but we were so impressed with WP Innova’s PrecisionrapXL hand wrap product and their related machine wrap so we decided to carry it. We think it’s the best pallet hand wrap on the market. With the PrecisionrapXL’s coreless rolls, patented dispenser (which is provided free of cost), and pre-stretched wrap, it eliminates the need to bend down when wrapping a pallet and it wraps loads very tightly.  It often takes less effort to wrap pallets, enables pallets to be wrapped more consistently and more effectively, and enables a level of load integrity to every pallet that’s shipped.

Contact Us

Operating out of Vaughan, Ontario, Hammond Paper Company has been a reliable source for chipboard and other paperboard products and converting in Canada for over 25 years.  Whether you’re looking for standard size sheets or custom sheets or packaging, Hammond Paper can help.  We’re not just about board – we can do custom laminating, cutting to size, die cutting, round cornering, grooving and more.

Call us at (905) 761-6867 or email us at sales@hammondpaper.com to get a free quote or to get more information.