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MDF or Plywood?

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Forum topic by nelsonba posted 01-29-2015 01:11 PM 933 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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nelsonba

6 posts in 680 days


01-29-2015 01:11 PM

Hello. I’m making a built-in breakfast nook and would like to build some hinged tops for the benches. A few questions:

1) Is MDF ok for the tops, or would I be better off using plywood with edge band or moulding?
2) Piano hinge or European style concealed hinges?

Dimensions will be approximately 70” x 20”.

Thanks!


12 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3945 posts in 1959 days


#1 posted 01-29-2015 01:31 PM

I wouldn’t use MDF, it will get a little sag eventually. Personally I’d go with the piano hinge, it’s a lot easier to install

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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agallant

530 posts in 2352 days


#2 posted 01-29-2015 01:43 PM

MDF wont hold a screw very well so you would have to bolt through it
MDF will also sag
MDF can be damaged if it gets wet

I would go with the piano hinge, they are easy to install and look classic.

View Yonak's profile

Yonak

979 posts in 987 days


#3 posted 01-29-2015 06:52 PM

Use plywood or hardwood. Also, screw it into a hardwood member. MDF would be OK if it’s inside a hardwood frame and supporting members underneath (if you wanted to paint it, for instance) but, still, plywood would be more stout over time. Indeed, I would put the plywood inside a frame.

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LeTurbo

217 posts in 1051 days


#4 posted 01-29-2015 07:09 PM

I’ll agree and disagree. Personally, I’d go with the plywood rather than MDF – you could use exterior grade, which gives a measure of “waterproofness” (though not as much as marine ply). I’d still tend to give it an edge banding, but I’d give it a substantial edge where it hinges – my logic is that it has the least support along this edge, length considered. Then I’d use brass butt hinges, because I absolutely cannot stand piano hinges aesthetically, and I find them mindlessly boring to install or remove … screw after screw after screw after screw after … ok, you get the drift (but reading is still easier than doing).

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nelsonba

6 posts in 680 days


#5 posted 01-30-2015 03:26 AM

Thanks for the feedback. I’m not too concerned about the way the hinge looks and I’ll take ease of installation over boredom for sure. I’ll more than likely have a cushion on top. Do I really need to frame it out with hardwood, or will plywood by itself be ok for the hinge? I do have 2 evenly spaced cross members across the top of the base for support if that matters. If I do it in hardwood, how hard is it to find something wide enough? Probably needs to be 1×16. Thanks

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4169 posts in 3208 days


#6 posted 01-30-2015 03:34 AM

MDF is no good for sitting on as a bench.

plywood is better, but is still going to be springy… solid wood for the bench seat is a more solid way to go.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

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thiel

374 posts in 2758 days


#7 posted 01-30-2015 05:38 AM

I vote Plywood.

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

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Yonak

979 posts in 987 days


#8 posted 01-30-2015 03:07 PM



... will plywood by itself be ok for the hinge?

- nelsonba

Be sure to screw into the face of the plywood, not the edges.

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nelsonba

6 posts in 680 days


#9 posted 01-30-2015 03:35 PM


... will plywood by itself be ok for the hinge?

- nelsonba

Be sure to screw into the face of the plywood, not the edges.

- Yonak

I’d need a wrap around piano hinge for that wouldn’t I unless the hinge is mounted in full view to the top? Aren’t those considerably more expensive?

If I decide to frame it with hardwood, is poplar the best choice and how thick should it be on the edges? Is glue and brads enough to join them?

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3945 posts in 1959 days


#10 posted 01-30-2015 06:43 PM

If you frame it with hardwood (poplar is fine, maple might be a little stiffer) and make it thick enough on the hinge side (say 1” or so) you can screw the hinge into that. No real need for brads, the glue will be plenty strong. The brads might make it a faster assembly, though….and would be perfectly fine. The hardwood frame will also stiffen the ply a little..should work fine. you can use thinner pieces on the sides and front if you want, maybe 1/8”...but that wouldn’t add much in the way of stiffness.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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nelsonba

6 posts in 680 days


#11 posted 01-31-2015 02:44 PM

Thanks. If I do a back to it, should I use plywood for that too? 3/4? It would be against a wall with a slight angle.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3945 posts in 1959 days


#12 posted 01-31-2015 08:03 PM

The plywood would be fine for the back as well.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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