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Would MDF work?

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Forum topic by Tedstor posted 03-21-2017 01:20 PM 417 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tedstor

1643 posts in 2472 days


03-21-2017 01:20 PM

So I need some sort of securable work space for my home office. This design should work pretty well.

The free plan calls for 3/4” plywood….however I happen to have 1.5 sheets of 3/4” MDF already on-hand.
This plan calls for pocket hole joinery which I’ve used on several projects in the past…....but never on a piece this large and never with MDF.
So- any reason I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) use MDF to build this secretary desk?

To add: I’m not looking for a hierloom quality piece, and I’d be thrilled if I got 10 years of service out of it. So longevity and durability need to be ‘reasonable’.....but not infinite.


8 replies so far

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2716 posts in 1320 days


#1 posted 03-21-2017 01:23 PM

Go buy yourself some poplar plywood.

1. Pocket screws will not work with MDF.

2. Its also quite heavy.

3. It doesn’t glue well.

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

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Tedstor

1643 posts in 2472 days


#2 posted 03-21-2017 01:28 PM



Go buy yourself some poplar plywood.

1. Pocket screws will not work with MDF.

2. Its also quite heavy.

3. It doesn t glue well.

- rwe2156

Thats what I figured. I’ve used pocket holes/mdf on a few small projects, but never for any sort of joint that was meant to support any meaningful weight.
Oh well.
Thanks

View BoxO's profile

BoxO

33 posts in 656 days


#3 posted 03-21-2017 02:06 PM

rwe2156 is right on.
Pocket screws will work but with movement they may loosen the grip.
You can glue, but the nature of MDF the glue does great but the MDF it self, will eventually pull apart with stress from the weight.
If you are using the drop down to write on you might want to use a harder {plywood}, I love popular but it is soft. Maple or birch may be better for it.
Good luck I hope you post a picture when you are done.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2612 posts in 2136 days


#4 posted 03-21-2017 02:17 PM

So don’t use pocket screws. Drive ordinary drywall screws into predrilled countersunk holes and fill before you paint. You aren’t making an heirloom piece and just want a few years use so use the mdf you have for the carcass and substitute something nicer for the writing top. Where you have hinges you’ll have to backup the material with real wood.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4414 posts in 3581 days


#5 posted 03-21-2017 02:48 PM

No pocket screws in MDF.

MDF will work, and stay flat, but you will need/want to dress edges – and get creative with the joinery, as screwing into the edge of MDF is not very strong, and it realy wants to split out

I wouldn’t do it, the biggest investment will be your time. and Time spent fighting this stuff won’t be fun, and it is so heavy.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View pottz's profile

pottz

2233 posts in 824 days


#6 posted 03-21-2017 05:36 PM

i agree with the above not a good idea,it splits easily and yes is heavy,its just not made for something like this.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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Loren

9635 posts in 3487 days


#7 posted 03-21-2017 06:20 PM

I would do it. I’d use biscuits instead of pocket
screws and put drywall-type screws in, countersunk
from the outside of the joints for clamping
and reinforcement.

You can always throw it out and build another
one out of ply if it turns out bad or doesn’t hold
up.

View Ted78's profile

Ted78

324 posts in 1839 days


#8 posted 03-21-2017 06:30 PM

It could certainly be done, lots of cheap furniture from the big box stores is mdf, they even make super course threaded screws specifically for the stuff, but if you are going to the trouble of building something, even something utilitarian, I’d spring for something a bit nicer to use, and work with.

-- Ted

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