14 Mar. 2009|
Mdf vs wood veneer,roll top desk designs,woodworking ottawa area,diy futon couch - PDF Review
So today I want to share the differences between MDF and plywood, the pros and cons of each, and how I decide which one I’ll use on a project. MDF is an engineered wood composite that is similar to particle board, but is much denser and stronger than particle board. Just like plywood, you can purchase MDF in different thicknesses depending on what you need for your project.
The surface of MDF is very smooth, and you don’t have to worry about knots on the surface.
MDF is very consistent throughout, so cut edges appear smooth and won’t have voids or splinters. The consistency and smoothness of MDF allows for easy cutting of detailed designs (such as scrolled or scalloped designs) using a scroll saw, band saw, or jigsaw. Plywood is also an engineered wood product that is made by pressing and binding sheets of wood veneer together into one solid piece.
You can also find plywoods in various wood species, like oak, or maple, or pretty much anything else, so that you can get exact look you want for your project.
Because it consists of layers of wood veneer with the grain on each layer running a different direction, it’s a very strong building material. It’s stainable, which makes it perfect for kitchen cabinets, table tops, and other projects where you want a large stained wood surface.
It holds screws very tightly since the varying grains of wood on each layer give the screws something to hold onto. Plywood will often splinter on the edges when cut, so it’s harder to get a smooth cut with plywood than it is with MDF.
I obviously needed a large, smooth surface for the shelf, but the main consideration here was that it needed something that could be stained to match the other wood components of the coffee table base. Brent, I try not to make really large items with MDF if the piece of MDF will be horizontal, like shelves, table tops, etc., because MDF will certainly bow over time, much more so than plywood will. But as far as the glue and nails, I always, ALWAYS use Gorilla Glue wood glue on my projects.
Lisa, I always use wood glue (Gorilla Glue specifically) and then finishing nails in my nail gun. For using MDF as shelving, it will not hold as much weight as plywood or solid wood without bowing, so they should either be shorter, or have more vertical supports, or have reinforcement on the front and back edges. Cracks start easily in composite wood if you cut corners and don’t drill a pilot hole for a screw.
Formaldehyde is used in the glues and binders of composite wood and is slowly emitted from the entire panel as a gas. As woodworkers know all too well, composite wood creates giant clouds of very fine wood and binder dust. You won’t have to “knock on wood” and worry about the future of your kitchen or bath cabinets if you choose plywood construction! That’s how many woodworkers describe particleboard and MDF (medium-density fiberboard), but think these words instead: inexpensive, uniform and stable. Collectively called composite wood, MDF and particleboard panels don’t have the irregularities of veneer-core plywood, such as voids on the inside and patches on the outside.
Composite wood doesn’t shrink and swell across the grain or warp to the same degree as solid wood.
MDF is made of very small wood fibers, almost like flour, while particleboard is made from larger, coarser fibers. They’re perfect for veneering because there are no lumps or ripples to show through extra-thin sheets of veneer. Unlike plywood, which is generally undersized, MDF and particleboard often fit right into standard-sized grooves.
MDF is smoother, takes better detail, holds screws better and paints very well once its edges are sealed.
MDF and particleboard shelves are notorious for drooping, even from their own weight, unless they have additional support.
Whichever one you choose, use only carbide cutters, because the binders in the wood are very abrasive. Plywood is the strongest and most expensive followed by MDF and then Particle board with the least strength and lowest cost. It has absolutely no voids, and the layers of veneers are all the same thickness, so the edges are often left exposed.
MDF is a better material than plywood for patterns because its edges are smoother, but it’s not strong enough to make long, thin patterns.