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raised panel cabinets in MDF vs hardwood, which expands more?

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Forum topic by thedudeabides posted 10-30-2009 06:01 PM 3899 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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thedudeabides

75 posts in 2600 days


10-30-2009 06:01 PM

The literature on the web suggests that MDF will experience less seasonal expansion/contraction than most hardwoods, but that when it does expand, it does so in all directions.

For those of you who have worked with this material, I’ve got quite a few pieces to build and milling for spaceballs would be time-consuming. If I coat the entire cabinet panel in a sealant before priming and painting, do I still absolutely need to leave a loose, unglued panel held in place with spaceballs? It’s for a very large butler’s pantry and I’m probably looking at a couple dozen doors.


16 replies so far

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a1Jim

115201 posts in 3037 days


#1 posted 10-30-2009 06:24 PM

MDF is a very stable product I have even glued in raised panels . The “literature” is probably correct except the material movement is so minimal it’s not even worth bringing up the seasonal expansion and contraction issue.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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thedudeabides

75 posts in 2600 days


#2 posted 10-30-2009 07:07 PM

Jim, when you glued in the panels did you apply any sealant prior to painting, or is this an unnecessary step in your opinion?

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Rick Dennington

5170 posts in 2654 days


#3 posted 10-30-2009 07:08 PM

Hey dude: I agree with Jim totally on the MDF. You don’t have to worry about movement(expansion and contraction) with this stuff. It’s just paper, basically. Just don’t ever get it wet!!!!!! You can glue it and forget it It’s user-friendly for most panels, paints up nicely, and works great for jigs, too. Hope we have helped. Oh yea—- forget the space balls—you don’t need them.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

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Rick Dennington

5170 posts in 2654 days


#4 posted 10-30-2009 07:16 PM

dude: I think Jim went to eat dinner, so I’ll answer. No—you don’t need any type of sealent. If you paint, just prime the MDF before hand, and also the cabinet.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

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a1Jim

115201 posts in 3037 days


#5 posted 10-30-2009 08:12 PM

No dinner oddly enough I was working on a frame and panel in oak. What Ricksaid is correct. I know Rick is relieved to know that LOL

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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Rick Dennington

5170 posts in 2654 days


#6 posted 10-30-2009 08:20 PM

Thanks Jim: I am relieved. I’m waiting on a glue-up to dry, so here I set, talking on this computer. Oh- I don’t have anything else to do except give out free advice until it’s dry. Then have to go and put in pocket screws before the next move, which will be drawer installation.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

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a1Jim

115201 posts in 3037 days


#7 posted 10-30-2009 08:40 PM

Have fun Rick, It’s a little like watching paint dry.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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Rick Dennington

5170 posts in 2654 days


#8 posted 10-30-2009 08:48 PM

Jim: I ain’t gonna wait that long. I’m about ready to go take a nap. I’d rather nap than watch paint dry. lol.
Maybe by the time I wake up, it’ll be ready.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

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a1Jim

115201 posts in 3037 days


#9 posted 10-30-2009 09:38 PM

SHHHHH everone Ricks napping be very quite when hitting those computor keys LOL

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View DaneJ's profile

DaneJ

56 posts in 2668 days


#10 posted 10-30-2009 10:30 PM

dont ever get it wet !! this includes water based paint…

I use Zinzer Shellac based primer with good results. it dries fast and has a fairly high percentage of solids

-- Dane, Fairview Pk, OH. The large print giveth and the small print taketh away... Tom Waits

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cstrang

1829 posts in 2628 days


#11 posted 10-31-2009 01:05 AM

MDF is a great product that has many uses just remember to NEVER put it in a child’s room, there is a chemical called urea formaldehyde in it that is very toxic to children. Always try to use a mask when cutting MDF and remember there is no such thing as urea formaldehyde free MDF, the chemical is still there it is just under the radar, manufactures have a maximum percentage and a mid range percentage of UF they can put into a product and by labeling it UF-free this just means that it is just under the mid range percentage (I think the “magic number” is 17%) I am not trying to turn you from MDF as it is a great product and holds up well, if you look at my shop you will see that I use it a lot for my shop furniture and jigs but just wanted to give you a little heads up about the product.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

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thedudeabides

75 posts in 2600 days


#12 posted 10-31-2009 01:59 AM

“dont ever get it wet !! this includes water based paint…

I use Zinzer Shellac based primer with good results. it dries fast and has a fairly high percentage of solids”

I was hoping to get away with water-based paint, but I do have some Zinsser Shellac in the shop. I’m reluctant to build a bunch of the doors and then paint them only to see them balloon up from the water in the paint. I’ll test one out with the Zinsser and then some Benjamin Moore Impervo high gloss and see how it comes out.

Thanks for all the advice, my first time building cabinet doors with MDF.

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toolnut

4 posts in 2584 days


#13 posted 11-05-2009 06:37 PM

I’m a painter by trade and I’ve never encountered a problem using water base paint on mdf, nor have I ever heard such a claim that it shouldn’t be used.

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thedudeabides

75 posts in 2600 days


#14 posted 11-05-2009 06:59 PM

I’m starting to realize MDF is not as fragile as everyone says. I had a 4×8 sheet in the back of my truck on the way home from Lowes yesterday and it started pouring rain. I figured the sheet would be wasted after a half-hour in the rain; nope, it was perfectly fine. I think a lot of people are using outdated information with regards to MDF and water.

I just painted most of my cabinets with oil-based primer but I’m going to try a few of the doors with water-based and see what happens. My guess is it will handle it fine.

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a1Jim

115201 posts in 3037 days


#15 posted 11-05-2009 08:39 PM

I think some people confuse particle board with Mdf . If it’s low grade particle board then look out for water and moisture.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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