Hinging MDF

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Forum topic by ChunkyC posted 06-18-2010 11:06 PM 1654 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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856 posts in 3451 days

06-18-2010 11:06 PM

I built me a simple cloths hamper out of MDF. The problem is that it has a hinged lid. Anyone have any tips on adding the hinge? The way I see it, no matter how I put the hinge on, one side of the hinge has to be in the edge of MDF which spells certain disaster, or at least to me. I’m afraid of splitting the MDF or the screws striping out. I’ve been reading different tips here and there for screwing into MDF edges but they all seem to have a bit of risk of splitting the MDF.

I was thinking that I could always over size the hole and install a dowel in the hole. Then the screws would be in dowel ends and not MDF. Or add a strip of solid wood along the back edge to screw into. (the hamper is painted.)

On hand I have two hinge choices, no mortise hinges or piano hinge. Not to say that I can’t get something else if it work better.



-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

10 replies so far

View Northerner's profile


88 posts in 3358 days

#1 posted 06-18-2010 11:13 PM

how about edge banding it with a ¼” strip of wood or something?
glue the wood to the mdf and then screw the hinge into the wood?

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning!

View jevarn71's profile


83 posts in 3357 days

#2 posted 06-19-2010 01:20 AM

Maybe use strap hinges so the screws would be in the face of the MDF and not the edge.

-- Jason, JEV Woodworking

View levan's profile


472 posts in 3177 days

#3 posted 06-19-2010 01:37 AM

We always added a couple of inches of hardwood to the hinge edge. Either tongue & groove or biscuits on to the mdf. and sand flush. We used this system on large mdf doors some of them 1 1/2” thick, never had a problem.

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View dfdye's profile


372 posts in 3234 days

#4 posted 06-19-2010 01:40 AM

Why not use European cabinet hinges? Think of the top of the hamper as the cabinet door, and then you would be screwing all fasteners into the face of MDF. They are designed to allow clearance of the overlapping doors when opened, so it shouldn’t create any binding issues.

Good luck!

-- David from Indiana --

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 3451 days

#5 posted 06-19-2010 01:47 AM

European cabinet hinges – Great idea. I hadn’t considered that.

I like the adding of strip of hardwood to the back edge of the hinge. I think that’s what I going to try and use the piano hinge. I’ll make sure my plane is nice and sharp too so that I can flush it up.


-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

View trimmer's profile


90 posts in 3638 days

#6 posted 06-19-2010 04:31 AM

How about drilling for wood plugs where the hinge screws go. Then glue the wood plugs.

View Bothus's profile


441 posts in 3374 days

#7 posted 06-19-2010 05:43 AM

Lots of great ideas here. Thanks for asking the question Chunk.


-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 3451 days

#8 posted 06-19-2010 03:04 PM

Here’s what I did and it turned out great.

Disclaimer: I do a lot of work by the TLAR (That Looks About Right) method.

So I have a lot of little piece of walnut in a pile on the floor from days pasts. I got a couple of pieces a milled them down. I didn’t measure it but I think it was about 1” wide and 1/2” thick when finished. Then I cut a rabbet on the bottom side of the top just so the hardwood set about 1/64 proud. I glued them in the rabbet and used my block plane to flush it up all around.

The rabbet may seem like an unnecessary added step but I didn’t want to be able to see the joint from the top. Now the top looks like one piece and I have a nice piece of hardwood to hold the screws. Now the only joint that will be seen is in the back on the edges, someplace that will never be noticed. So in a way, I used a combination of plugging and adding a hard wood edge.

Now for the final coat of paint! Thanks to everyone for the great tips.


-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

View Vicki's profile


1106 posts in 3542 days

#9 posted 06-20-2010 06:18 AM

Send pics! Thanks.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View Mogebier's profile


170 posts in 3230 days

#10 posted 06-20-2010 05:46 PM

On MDF I just squirt a little bit of Super Glue in the hole when I drive in the screw. I haven’t had any problems.

-- You can get more with a kind word and a 2 by 4, than you can with just a kind word.

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