I want to build an MFT-style table and attach the sides with pocket screws - what surface?

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Forum topic by NerdDoc posted 06-23-2014 02:41 PM 1702 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1614 days

06-23-2014 02:41 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mft dog holes work bench jig mdf

Hi all – this is my first post, but I’ve been trolling for years :)

So I built a small mft-style table that I think is a pretty slick idea, but I built it out of some 3/4 phenolic that I had sitting around and now that it’s time to re-build it, I’m wondering what material to use.

The table top is about 30” square and then it’s got a skirt all the way round it that’s 3.5 – 4” wide – these skirts will have pocket holes drilled in them and then the pocket screws will go through them and into the underside of the top. I’ve heard MDF is a bad choice to put pocket screws into but I don’t know if that’s true or if it would matter much in my case since it’s not going to be under a great deal of strain. I’ll be drilling a series of dog holes in the top and I’ve got all of my other issues worked out… a build thread will be forthcoming once I get this project done!

Thanks for any suggestions!

4 replies so far

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3182 posts in 3405 days

#1 posted 06-23-2014 03:15 PM

Check out Ron Paulk’s video’s on You Tube. Maybe those will help you decide.

And this guy’s project looks really nice.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View TheFridge's profile


10501 posts in 1660 days

#2 posted 06-23-2014 03:35 PM

Depends on how many screws you are talking about an whether you glue it or not. If the top is subject to moving because pressure is applied to he dogholes in it, the shear force will prob loosen the screws over time. Gluing combined with screws at the least would prob be a better way to go.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View NerdDoc's profile


2 posts in 1614 days

#3 posted 06-23-2014 03:46 PM

Glue makes sense. I’ve seen the Ron Paulk-style table and I agree it’s awesome, but I’m going to be incorporating some 80/20 extrusion into mine and it seems like every time I use sanded plywood I wish I would have used something with a little nicer surface. Maybe MDF or even MDO would be okay to use with pocket screws if I was gluing and screwing? I’m all about overkill, so I don’t mind putting in 2 pocket screws every 6 inches if that’s what I need to do :) the project is so small it won’t take too many anyway.

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2738 posts in 2751 days

#4 posted 06-23-2014 09:02 PM

I’d use MDF for the surface since it’s cheap and easily replaceable.
I’d also not use glue; it’s easier to replace if glue isn’t used. ;-)

MDF works fine with pocket screws; just don’t overdrive the screws. Not many are needed; on a 30” span I’d probably use 3 or 4 screws per side. It just needs to be held in place; gravity is on your side.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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