LumberJocks

Proper Screws for MDF

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by John R. posted 10-29-2007 06:41 PM 22035 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View John R.'s profile

John R.

59 posts in 2566 days


10-29-2007 06:41 PM

Some of you may have seen my posts about making some antler plaques. I have gone back and forth between using solid wood and using MDF. Well, after purchasing a jointer, borrowing a small planer, and attempting to do some ‘glue-ups’ this past weekend, I have changed my mind. I am now settled on using veneered MDF. I do look forward to using my new jointer for other “woodworking” projects, but must move on now. I was really was trying to make a go of it with solid wood, but don’t have the time (to learn needed skills) or money (to invest in a 15” planer, better calmps, etc…) in order to catch the already-upon-us deer season in Ohio.

So, I am now desperately in need a little help using MDF. The plaques I am making will be about 14” wide by 21” tall. They will be quite heavy once I get the antlers and picture attached, and am concerned about how to hang them. My plan is to use two standard mirror hooks on the back, with a piece of braided wire connecting them – from which the plaque will hang. I am using 3/4’ oak veneered MDF. Now the question:

What kind of screws do I need to use to attach the hooks? Please keep in mind that the total weight could be pushing 40-50 pounds. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"


34 replies so far

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2686 days


#1 posted 10-29-2007 07:02 PM

I wouldn’t do it. MDF doesn’t hold fasteners well at all. In my opinion, for the application you are describing, you’ll need to through drill. With MDF, I’d even be concerned about counter sinking too much as it has a tendency of blowing out. I wonder how you feel about using oak veneered plywood. I think you’ll be much happier for quite a few reasons. For one, the dust isn’t as ridiculous as MDF, and second, plywood holds fasteners very well. I’m not sure of the cost difference for you.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View John R.'s profile

John R.

59 posts in 2566 days


#2 posted 10-29-2007 07:08 PM

Tom, thanks for the quick reply. I was afraid I would hear such a thing. My problem with plywood is the edges, and my inability to hide them. However, I may need to go back to the drawing board and reconsider using a design which would allow edge banding. Oh, well, back to the drawing board…

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2686 days


#3 posted 10-29-2007 08:04 PM

I think that you’d be happiest in practicing and perfecting your technique of using solid wood, or you could use a solid wood edging on ply and then do some sort of routed edge affect on that. It might be hard with irregular shapes though.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2524 days


#4 posted 10-29-2007 08:09 PM

I’m with Tom – I wouldn’t do it, especially for someone else. MDF doesn’t hold screws well. However, a recent issue of Popular Woodworking (April 2007) has plans for a lathe chuck where they drill holes through a headstock nut and screw into an MDF faceplate. That seems like it would take some significant force. Not to disagree with the very knowledgeable folks at PW, but when I build the chuck, I’m going to drill and tap the holes in the nut and then use machine screws to go through the faceplate into the nut. But I digress.

If you really have to use MDF, you might consider using machine screws from the front side with nuts on the back. You could countersink the heads of the screws far enough that they could be covered with FastCaps or something. I don’t know if I’m explaining well, so here’s a little sketch of what I’m thinking …
countersunk screw through face

Question: If you are using braided wire between two anchors, won’t the weight of the antlers pull the top of the plaque away from the wall?

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View John R.'s profile

John R.

59 posts in 2566 days


#5 posted 10-29-2007 08:11 PM

And therein lies the trick. The edge I created with a simple roundover bit, on both solid wood and MDF, was great. But on plywood “things” show up. If you are driving down the highway and you see a sign that has a state route number on it – well, that’s the shape. It is sort of like a shield, and I think it looks great for what I am attempting to do. Perhaps I will try a smaller roundover so that less shows from the ‘straight on’ view point.

One complicating factor with solid wood is that I may need to create many (perhaps hundreds) of plaques in a very short amount of time. There is no way I could manage this, unless it is some sort of sheet good. Back to the shop…

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"

View John R.'s profile

John R.

59 posts in 2566 days


#6 posted 10-29-2007 08:14 PM

Peter, we were posting at the same time. To answer your question, I don’t know. I’m going to have to experiment. Perhaps a strip of 1×3/4 across the bottom of the plaque would help this?

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2686 days


#7 posted 10-29-2007 08:26 PM

I see your dilemma, John. I think it’s going to be a system that deserves flush mounting of some sort though. Include some anchors with the item or make sure it gets mounted in a stud. No sense impaling someone with it.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2524 days


#8 posted 10-29-2007 08:43 PM

John – you could try it, but I don’t think so. You’d just be moving the center of gravity that much farther away from the wall. The shorter the braided wire, the less sag you’d get, but unless it’s as tight as a fiddle string, you’ll see a gap. And if it’s that tight, it will be very hard to keep it on a nail. I’d consider regular picture hangers – they look like little metal saw blades, and come in a variety of sizes – or french cleats. I know you don’t feel like you have time to figure out a new medium, but if you used ply or wood, you could just put a keyhole in the back and there would be no need for hanging hardware and no gap between the plaque and the wall. You might see if a local cabinet guy or woodworker would make some 14” wide by six or eight foot long glued-up panels for you, so you could just cut the plaques out of those panels.

Tom’s got a good idea – what about two holes on the centerline of the plaque, one near the top, one near the bottom. Provide two heavy wood screws (maybe brass?) with matching decorative washers. Then the customer could put both screws into a stud, the mounting hardware would be part of the decoration, and you’d have a flush mount.

I hope you get it figured out.

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2671 days


#9 posted 10-29-2007 08:52 PM

John, you can insert a piece of solid wood in the back of your plaque with a decent glue and mount your attachments to that if the thickness allows.
Like others have mentioned this too is not the ideal answer.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View John R.'s profile

John R.

59 posts in 2566 days


#10 posted 10-29-2007 09:29 PM

Okay, so let’s assume I am now using veneered 3/4” plywood. In this case, I am afraid that using just one of the saw-toothed looking hangers may cause the plaque to ‘lean’ a little because of irregular weight on the part of the antlers. I figured a wire would allow adjustment for this when a ‘customer’ is in the process of hanging it on their wall. I am trying to avoid using two saw-toothed hangers because, well, I can remember going through a heck of a time myself trying to get them level. Not only that, but at only apprpximately 12 inches apart, they would only be able to get one of their hangers into a wall stud! I think I may have to use an extremely tight wire. I’ll have to attempt this and see how it works…

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2524 days


#11 posted 11-16-2007 05:42 PM

Hey, John – I’d be interested to hear how this worked out. Could be useful information!

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View John R.'s profile

John R.

59 posts in 2566 days


#12 posted 11-16-2007 07:44 PM

Well, I’ll tell you how I HOPE it works out. I just called the guy and told him it isn’t working the way it is suppossed to. No amount of cleaning has helped. I’m taking it back to him today. He was reluctant, but if it doesn’t work, then he should, as an honest man, take it back. I’ll post the end result.

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2524 days


#13 posted 11-16-2007 07:48 PM

John, you must be referring to the drill press. I hope the two of you can work it out and he does the right thing.

I was curious about your solution for hanging MDF plaques – did that work?

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

View John R.'s profile

John R.

59 posts in 2566 days


#14 posted 11-16-2007 07:58 PM

Well, he just called me back and was refusing to take it back. I had to work hard at convincing him that I did it no harm, and finally talked him into doing a trade for one of his remaining tools.

As for the MDF, well, in the end I had to go with 3/4” veneered plywood. I am having to paint the edges, but the plaque looks great. I still want to look into using MDF though, because I could subcontract out the routing and then assemble in my shop. Right now I am trying to find a company in my area (which is Pittsburgh) that would do the CNC routing for me. Any suggestions on how to go about finding a company that would do this for me would be greatly appreciated.

-- John R. - Richmond, Ohio, "With God, all things are possible"

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2524 days


#15 posted 11-16-2007 08:08 PM

You might try …
Tiger Sales in Sharon 724-342-3080
Lyndan Cabinets in Connellsville 724-626-9630
Country Furniture in Montgomeryville 215-362-3836
Springwood CNC in Larksville 570-371-2420

-- http://www.peteroxley.com -- http://north40studios.etsy.com --

showing 1 through 15 of 34 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase