On Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 11:46:26 AM UTC-4, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I made a fairly large table saw sled that I was going to use to cut
the panels for some shakers doors. I used 1/2" birch plywood and it
has been sitting in my basement for about a year.
It was lying flat, not propped up against a wall or anything, and it is
now warped. I'll probably use 1/2" MDF for it's replacement.
This site has a decent back and forth regarding MDF vs. plywood for jigs,
but some people here will probably have trouble following the conversation.
Members of the forum are voicing differing opinions but no one is yelling
at anyone else or bringing politics into the conversation. Very strange.
| >What do you use it for?
| It is good for table saw jigs.
Indispensable indeed. :)
Another thing I was thinking about: I may have
missed MDF at my HD. I don't remember if I've
actually looked for it there. I know I've looked
for MDO and not found it. Either way, finding it
online doesn't mean much. The other day I was in
Lowe's looking for a compost bin. They don't
carry them. But they have about 20 online. It
was similar when I went to the paint store for
ladder feet: "We don't stock them here but we
can get them in a few days." And at Staples,
which barely carries anything useful anymore.
They've replaced it all with high-margin items
like cellphones and internet-of-things nonsense....
But they can get anything for me online... I try
to explain that if I wanted to shop online I
wouldn't be standing in Staples... and I probably
wouldn't go to staples.com... but they just don't
Most stores will now sell just about anything short
of plutonium, but they don't really sell those items.
They're just offering to order them online and
charge me a middleman fee, while they trim their
costs by not keeping much in stock.
MDO is a different breed of cat and so expensive that it would scare
the typical home depot customer away.
It is a great product tho but you need to go to a real lumberyard to
get it. They may still be ordering it.
On Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 1:56:22 PM UTC-4, email@example.com wrote:
It's interesting that HD has a SKU for MDO, but it does not appear
to available within 100 miles of any zip code that I tried. LA, Boston,
New Orleans, Fort Lauderdale, NYC, etc.
The Q&A on the website shows others having the same problem and the
answers from HD online folks are basically "This is an In Store
Only item, please search by zip code or ask at your local store."
Lowes website simply says:
This item is no longer available on Lowes.com.
Sounds like they both carried it at one time, but not any more.
| MDO is a different breed of cat and so expensive that it would scare
| the typical home depot customer away.
Expensive? I can't find a recent catalog for the place where
I buy plywood, but the 2010 catalog gives the following for
3/4" 4x8 sheets:
paint-grade birch: $69
So MDF is much cheaper, yes, but the others are
not terribly expensive. I think the thing with MDO is
just that it has limited uses. It's made for smooth
exterior use. But it's not really all that smooth. The
fir grain often shows through. I think the bigger issue
is just that most people don't have a use for plywood
sheets in the first place. Paint grade birch is a similar
case: Few people are buying sheets to build their
own built-in bookcases. Do-it-yourselfers might buy
construction grade fir ply for various things, but they
won't have a use for much else.
On Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 1:39:14 PM UTC-4, Mayayana wrote:
I'm finding the exact opposite when it comes to the
MDF panels that you claimed were not "widely available".
The link I provided for HD shows that 17 of the 23 items on
that page are In Store *Only* items. Not by specific store, but
in general, meaning that they are not just offering to order
them online and charge you extra. In fact, you can't even buy them
Users also have the ability the check local inventory. Every one
of the 17 items on that page are available at my local HD in
quantities ranging from 15 to 99. (Of course, I usually call first
and have a staff member actually put eyes on a product before
I head over.)
Some examples of availability at one of my local stores:
(Common: 3/4 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft.;
Actual: 0.750 in. x 49 in. x 97 in.)
Qty: 24 IN STOCK Pick Up In Store Today
Medium Density Fiberboard
1/2 in. x 2 ft. x 4ft.
Qty: 38 IN STOCK Pick Up In Store Today
Medium Density Fiberboard
(Common: 1/4 in. x 2 ft. x 4 ft.;
Actual: 0.216 in. x 23.75 in. x 47.75 in.)
Qty: 29 IN STOCK Pick Up In Store Today
On Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 9:09:59 AM UTC-4, Mayayana wrote:
MDF is readily available at Home Depot and Lowes, at least near me
and certainly on their website:
I can also buy it at various local lumber yards. You have to careful though.
Depending on the supplier, 1/4" could be a true 1/4" or a nominal 1/4". If
you want to use it for e.g. a panel in a cabinet door, you should have
product in hand before you start cutting your grooves.
I didn't say that anyone should *know* about them. I was merely
pointing out (to the OP) that asking about "composite wood" is
too general of a question. As you may have noticed, Don Y (the OP)
seems to pride himself on being an expert in just about everything.
For him to ask such a general question deserved a more detailed
push back than others might have received.
1/4" MDF is often used as panels for cabinet doors, such as
shaker style doors. It paints very easily and since cabinet panels
are not typically subject to moisture problems, it's an good
alternative to birch plywood panels.
I bought a 4 x 8 sheet of true 1/4" MDF over a year ago
for a kitchen project that is on hold. Some of it was already
cut into "door size" panels, some was left as the 2' x 8' panels
that the lumber yard cut for me.
The door panels were left in my basement, the long panels were
left in my unheated attached garage. (NE US) Every piece looks
as new as the day I brought it home.
As I said, 1/4" MDF often used as door panels for cabinets. Before
I started the project, I spoke with a couple of professional
painters that I was going to use to paint the doors for me. They
were 100% on board (no pun intended) with the use of 1/4" MDF for
the panels. Remember, this was *before* I started the project when
I was trying to make sure it was safe to proceed with my plan. They
had the opportunity to suggest something else for the panels since
they knew I was asking for advice. They both had no problem with MDF.
It is not only their opinion, it started as a suggestion from 2
professional remodelers whose expertise is often sought in woodworking
| As you may have noticed, Don Y (the OP)
| seems to pride himself on being an expert in just about everything.
Yes. We have a few of those here. I guess the
fact that most of us are getting old doesn't help.
Usenet is the new hardware store porch, where
retired wiseacres sit in wait for an unsuspecting
young'un whose ear they can bend. :)
| 1/4" MDF is often used as panels for cabinet doors, such as
| shaker style doors. It paints very easily and since cabinet panels
| are not typically subject to moisture problems, it's an good
| alternative to birch plywood panels.
I think I mentioned above that a shop I go to likes
to use them. I try to insist on birch ply, but they're
switching over. I don't get it. The birch is stronger
and far less susceptible to water damage. And the
cost difference is not all that much. (I don't have
equipment for making panel doors, so I have to order
It's similar with MDF baseboard. It works. It takes
paint fine. But I just don't see the savings over
poplar being worthwhile. If the baseboard has to
come out later there's a good chance it will crack
and have to be replaced. In the meantime, if someone
spills water and it soaks underneath the basboard
will be ruined.
My local HD carries it. I sometimes use it somewhere where I want to hide
something because it machines and paints easily. Example of hiding: I had a
partition wall that was topped with drywall, wanted a piece of 1/2 MDF to
put on top as something harder; also wanted to make a bit of coved molding
to fair from the top to the partition sides and end. I onlly needed a piece
abot 12" x 36", didn't relish having to buy a whole sheet, asked if they had
smaller, he fished a 24" x 36" piece out of the trash bin, no charge :)
I also used it as 1/2" panels for some doors on a couple of cabinets on our
screen porch. I would have preferred to use tempered hardboard if I could
have found some that was smooth on both sides.
Generally, I avoid it.
Is that what gives it the wood-grain look? I know it's some sort of
plastic. I thought it was like "Contact paper".
My house had particle board shelves in the closets. I put soem stuff on
them and they sagged so badly, I thought they would break. I replaced
them with REAL WOOD !!!
Melamine is also used to make plates that you eat on. Some of them do
not work in the Microwave. For some reason the plate gets real hot. I
found that out after burning my hand on one of them.
| >a sinus drug. Melamine is the sutff that coats
| >cheap, particle board shelving.
| Is that what gives it the wood-grain look? I know it's some sort of
| plastic. I thought it was like "Contact paper".
Sometimes it actually is contact paper. :) Melamine
is the stuff that's usually white and relatively soft,
like vinyl. It's a thin plastic coating. If you look at
cheap shelving units you're probably looking at
melamine-coated particle board. One can also buy
4x8 sheets to use for things like white cabinet walls.
| My house had particle board shelves in the closets. I put soem stuff on
| them and they sagged so badly, I thought they would break.
Yes. Years ago people used to all buy furniture
from a company called Scandinavian Design. The
company made particle board furniture at fairly high
prices, but the teak veneers they used looked pretty
good. Poeple would call me because someone had sat
on their SD desk and it split in half. Or they loaded
their SD bookshelf and it split. I'd have to explain that
there was nothing I could do because there was no
structure to repair. Even the desks were made of
I guess the equivalent now is Ikea. I see a lot of
people who can easily afford better going to Ikea
to buy particle board and other low-budget stuff.
We in the US seem to have a hypnotic fascination
with the techie starkness of Scandinavian style. We
think we're buying sophistication. I actually had
a job recently that was in a very exclusive
condo. The kitchen cabinets looked sort of like
rosewood. They'd come from some hyphenated
Scandinavian-esque store on the fashion street
of Boston. (Newbury St.) But they were actually
just plastic laminate on top of low-quality particle
board. Almost chip board, really. Low density
stuff that one could peel apart with a utility knife.
The tenants didn't know the difference. They were
paying multiple millions for their condos. They simply
assumed the kitchen cabinets were very "high
end". And indeed they were, insofar as they could
only be obtained by going to an expensive fashion
| Melamine is also used to make plates that you eat on. Some of them do
| not work in the Microwave. For some reason the plate gets real hot. I
| found that out after burning my hand on one of them.
Are you sure you don't mean Melmac? I grew
up with Melmac dishes. They were cheap and
unbreakable. Melamine seems awfully soft to
use for plates.
"Relatively soft" depends upon "compared to what?". Melamine is the resin
used in Formica type laminates. I find melamine coated particle board to be
handy; pre-finished surface, surface takes considerable abuse.
| "Relatively soft" depends upon "compared to what?". Melamine is the resin
| used in Formica type laminates. I find melamine coated particle board to
| handy; pre-finished surface, surface takes considerable abuse.
| > Are you sure you don't mean Melmac? I grew
| > up with Melmac dishes. They were cheap and
| > unbreakable. Melamine seems awfully soft to
| > use for plates.
| Melmac is a brand name for melamine table ware.
Interesting. I didn't know either of those facts.
Melamine-coated particle board has always seemed
softer than laminate to me. Maybe it just seems
that way because the coating is fairly thin. Certainly
the Melmac dishes we had were tough. I don't
remember any of them ever breaking or scratching.
They stay square within the nature of the product. They rout OK with the
same caveat (particle board tends toward rough, MDF fuzzy).
I can think of no reason to use a planer but you could do so.
Philo considers particle board to be junk; I consider it to be useful,
especially mel board. Not good around water and not strong in shear but
plenty strong in compression.
And there's the rub -- they aren't wood and don't behave like
wood. Tools designed for wood behave differently.
Because you're thinking of *sheet* products. About all you'll
do with sheet products is cut and drill.
Particle board is great when you want *density*.
From talking with the manufacturer and woodworking friends,
the concensus is that I will be very disappointed trying to use
these products *like* wood.
I'll find another solution.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.