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Posted on First project with MDF

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2925 posts in 2445 days

#1 posted 08-07-2012 04:32 PM

Marc, sounds like you are off on the right foot by getting organised in your shop.

I have no problem with MDF cabinets. MDF paints well and can make a clean project.
Unfortunately, Kreg screws and MDF aren’t very good friends. The head of the screw will tend to split out the layers of MDF at the head rather than tighten down. Even screwing into the edge of an MDF panel through a side panel will tend to delaminate it. This can work well if, say the shelf is dadoed into the sides and then screwed, as the mdf thickness is contained in the dado and has no room to split out. Since this is going to be painted, 1-3/4” long 18awg brads would work fine – just use with a good glue (TB II or equiv.) and fill in the heads with filler afterwards.

As far as edging goes, Pine edging on a MDF shelf that will be painted can work very nicely. My preference is a hardwood like Alder, or Poplar, but this is not of much consequence on a shop cabinet. Filler and sanding will make the joint dissappear nearly completely.

Iron on banding is all about the same price for wood, regardless if it is Cherry, Maple or almost anything else. If you’ve got some surplus on the shelf, use it. No sense spending money on paper tape if you have surplus sitting around.

For finishing, a good primer or sealer will cure your MDF ills. Once it is primed and sanded, your choice of finish will complete the project nicely.

You’re on the right track. Stick to it. Take some pictures and share your experience with us here.
And, oh yeah, welcome to Lumberjocks.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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