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Forum topic by Tom posted 01-27-2010 07:34 PM 18637 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 3081 days

01-27-2010 07:34 PM

What would be the best wood to use if I’m going to paint cabinets for bathroom? I am looking for answers as to the type of plywood, birch,maple, ect.. Looking for any suggestions.


8 replies so far

View jpw1995's profile


376 posts in 4324 days

#1 posted 01-27-2010 07:37 PM

I would say cabinet grade birch plywood from your local hardware store would hold paint well. Poplar would be a good choice for face and door frames.

-- JP, Louisville, KY

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3781 days

#2 posted 01-27-2010 07:39 PM

A couple of years ago, The New Yankee Workshop had a whole series on a kitchen redo. I think I remember they used a lot of MDF an then painted it.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 3110 days

#3 posted 01-27-2010 09:03 PM

If raised panel use MDF for the panel. Less shrinkage. Poplar for the door/face frames and paintgrade birch interiors although MDF would be fine for interior considering the quality of pait grade chinese import birch.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3094 days

#4 posted 01-27-2010 09:09 PM

99% of my paint grade cabinets are made from birch ply and poplar for the solid wood parts. For drawer boxes, I use 1/2” prefinished baltic birch ply.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3311 days

#5 posted 01-28-2010 03:26 PM

Tom, I’m not a big fan of MDF, but if you’re going to do a raised panel door, I’m like JAGWAH, do the panel in MDF. Quick note, if you are doing raised panel doors, whether you do a solid wood panel or MDF panel, make sure you at least prime it before you assemble the door. (if the panel should move at all after assembly, you won’t see raw wood). Poplar is fine for the doors, drawer fronts and face frames. Poplar is fairly soft, so if you want to use a harder wood, Maple works good. Birch or Maple Plywood is good for the casework. I would stay away from the cheap Chinese import plywoods. (They usually have a lot of voids in the core and splinter and blow out bad when you cross cut or daddo).

-- John @

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3919 days

#6 posted 01-28-2010 03:38 PM

I’m definitly not a fan of MDF and the only reason I dont like it… the dust. I might add that not all MDF is created equally and the crap they sel at the big box stores is exactly that….crap. HDF (high density fibre board is way nicer. That said, MDF is perfect for painting and can be used for the rails, stiles and panels.

I find birch to be too open porous and you can see the grain through the paint but maybe thats what you want. I prefer maple (soft) over birch and the nice thing about maple/birch is that its “hard” and resists dents.

On a budget, poplar paints up perfect, albeit not as hard as birch and maple.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3572 days

#7 posted 01-28-2010 03:52 PM

I would go with the MDF panel certainly but I personally think I would work with soft maple. I have used poplar and I beleive that works well also but it does seem to me to be just a little softer then soft maple. The cost should be close to the same between soft maple and poplar. Just my thoughts.

-- .

View UncleSnail's profile


54 posts in 3065 days

#8 posted 01-29-2010 07:59 AM

Poplar paints very well. Your choice of primer is probably just as important as choosing your wood. Bin alcohol based (shellac) works best for me. The chemistry differs from the oil based and gives a smoother surface. Dale

-- Dale, Michigan, objects scare wife scares me too.

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