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Veneered mdf for built-in cabinets?

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Forum topic by ADHDan posted 08-10-2016 01:49 PM 352 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ADHDan

800 posts in 1574 days


08-10-2016 01:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question mdf veneer cabinet built-ins

I recently picked up six full sheets of walnut-veneered 1/2” mdf for about $100. I’m thinking of using them to make built-in base cabinets in my living room. Since mdf isn’t as long-term durable as plywood, I was wondering if anyone had advice on the best way to build these things to last.

E.g. – Can I get away with just using mdf for the sides and doors (with interior bracing and face frames), or should I build frame-and-panel cabinets with hardwood walnut frames? Can the top be a sheet of mdf over a sheet of 3/4” plywood? Basically, my question is – if you were in my shoes, how would you design the cabinets to get the best use of the walnut mdf?

I do have plenty of walnut boards for face framing, etc. (or maple boards, if I want to make accents).

Thanks!

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.


8 replies so far

View jmartel's profile (online now)

jmartel

6572 posts in 1615 days


#1 posted 08-10-2016 02:28 PM

MDF is used quite frequently in built ins. For a living room, I wouldn’t worry about it. I would never use MDF in a kitchen or bath, however.

If I was buying, I’d buy walnut plywood. But, seeing as how you already have the MDF, there’s no reason to not use it.

One thing to watch out for is you need to put thick hardwood on the front and or rear of the shelves to stop the MDF from sagging, especially with 1/2” stuff. Or, just use solid wood for the shelves and don’t worry about it.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1574 days


#2 posted 08-10-2016 02:30 PM

That’s exactly what I was hoping to hear. There won’t be much risk of moisture, and the shelves will be braced.

If they’d have had plywood I’d have preferred it, but six sheets of walnut mdf for $100 was still too good to pass up :-).

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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GR8HUNTER

1145 posts in 177 days


#3 posted 08-10-2016 02:44 PM

yes Dan . .......you can defiantly use the mdf for the sides and doors and probably the backs also ….......what top do you plan on using ???

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 946 days


#4 posted 08-10-2016 04:29 PM

Make sure you have a good respirator when cutting that stuff.

And figure out how you’re going to clean up the shop afterwards.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1574 days


#5 posted 08-10-2016 04:49 PM

I’ve got a good cartridge respirator for working with mdf. And I can basically make a wind tunnel in my shop by opening the windows and running a few fans.

For the top, I’ll probably laminate the mdf to a sheet of plywood to make it stronger, then wrap the entire top with a hardwood walnut frame to hide the edges.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1643 posts in 1782 days


#6 posted 08-10-2016 10:23 PM

It’s already been said but I’ll repeat it. MDF holds up just fine so long as it’s kept away from moisture and horizontal panels are reinforced to minimize sagging.

Also, don’t attempt to run screws into the edges of the MDF unless you’re using specialized fasteners and proper pre-drilling.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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GR8HUNTER

1145 posts in 177 days


#7 posted 08-11-2016 12:14 AM

should be just fine with a top like that …......proceed and don’t forget pictures

-- Tony Reinholds,Pa. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View jwmalone's profile

jwmalone

769 posts in 167 days


#8 posted 08-11-2016 01:44 AM

My cousin has two definitions Of what MDF stands for. 1st MDF= Mighty Damn Fine or MDF= Motherf$%^^Da$%%^Fu$%%^. IN other words use it in the right application you’re good to go, use it in the wrong application youre screwed. I agree with all previous post. Also he says never get it wet and don’t feed it after midnight.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

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