MDF Question

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I`m building a fitted bookcase and am considering using 18mm MDF for the frame and shelves.
As I`ve never used MDF before there`s one question......Can the cut edge be sanded into a smooth finish ( like sanded wood?) as I want it to look smart once painted ?
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Reteplav wrote:

Yes it can, but IME MDF isn't the best material for shelves - it sags far more than planks of softwood of the same thickness (but not as much as Conti board!).
This isn't a big problem, just be aware of it and compensate by shortening your spans. For paperbacks, I wouldn't span more than 60cm with 3/4" mdf. If you need longer spans, use PSE softwood.
--
Grunff


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Thanks for the advice.
I`ve already built one bookcase using Timberboard from Wickes ( ready jointed/glued strips of wood to form a 300mm plank).
This is fairly successful but very expensive. I`ve already used 11 planks of the stuff at 16.50 per plank . The original intention was to varnish it but "`er indoors" fancies painting it now in a silk finish paint ( Any recommendations on silk paint??) which makes me think about a cheaper alternative.
I don`t fancy the danger aspect , though, of the MDF dust as I`m actually trying to cut and assemble it in situ .
Oh well ,it looks like another few more s to buy some more Timberboard....unless anyone can suggest otherwise.
I remember reading an old 1950s Woodworker Annual that belong to my late father and they were using hardboard on a 2" x 1" frame !!....I don`t think I`ll botherwith that idea
Ret!

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If you're going to paint it then plywood is a possible alternative. It's probably as strong as Timberboard (even a bit stronger maybe), but you have to take a bit more care finishing edges etc.
--
Chris Green ( snipped-for-privacy@x-1.net)

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Reteplav wrote:

I used axcryluc primer, and farrow and ball undercoat and deaf flat oil. Very soft sheen, very lovely colors.

You can cough out the dust in a day. Its prolonged exposure that will get you dead.
All these noxous things won't kill you on a one time exposure any more than gettng sunburnt once will give you skin cancer.
Use it, its good stuff, but try and hand sand, and cut and rout outside somewhere, with a mask.
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Reteplav wrote:

It can, but itr will need a bit of extra treatement. The 'end grain' is very wooly and absorbent.
I'd suggest using somthing like cellulose varnish to fill and harden, then sand back to smooth finish.
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wrote:

depends on the grade of the MDF, the shit stuff the sheds sell is wooly (or was last time i checked ages ago). I believe one of the really bad ones is sourced form india and is orangeish ? The really good grades are not at all wooly and can get a reasonably smooth finish off the bat but the end grain will need some treatment to bring it to the same quality as PAR wood.

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On 22 Dec 2003 00:03:05 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.completed (Reteplav) wrote:

Be aware that machining MDF produces lots of fine dust, which is known to be a carcinogen. Proper respiratory gear is an absolute must.
I was chatting to a chap over the weekend who owns a company that manufactures trade stands for the large trade shows across Europe (he happens to be a time served carpenter as well, so knows a thing or two about woodworking). His facilities have all the dust extraction equipment required to handle this material.
We discussed MDF and he advised that MDF is an illegal material in most of Europe and the USA due to the concerns about its ability to cause cancer. He knows this because when he builds trade stands for shows in Germany (amongst other places) he turns up with stands made with MDF, and German companies can't match it because they have to use non-MDF materials. Sounds ominous, and just like our crazy government to allow nasty materials to be used in the workplace and home!
PoP
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"PoP" wrote | We discussed MDF and he advised that MDF is an illegal material in | most of Europe and the USA due to the concerns about its ability to | cause cancer... Sounds ominous, and just like our crazy government | to allow nasty materials to be used in the workplace and home!
But if they banned MDF the BBC TV licence fee would have to increase ...
Owain
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wrote:

THe glue used is either urea-formaldehyde resin or phenol formaldehyde resin
Its all about taking proper precautions, there are various factors that make the dust bad, one is the dust created is very fine that if inhaled can block alveoli, second formaldehyde can be released onto mucous membranes - this has a twofold problem, firstly formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, secondly formaldehyde could cause localised tissue necrosis. formaldehyde is also a respiritory sensitiser, so e.g. can make asthma worse
also the potential release of phenol is also not going to do you much good
WHenever i am cutting any quantity of MDF, i have good ventilation, and if indoors vacuum cleaner in addition. AS well as a nice rubber dust mask with a gas filter fitted - as it is much finer grade than the usual dust filters although they should be sufficient.
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wrote:

All wood dust is potentially carcinogenic. The risk from MDF and MDF dust is exactly the same as for any softwood and considerably less than that for some hardwoods.

This is rubbish, an urban myth which has been doing the rounds for over a decade. All MDF sold in the UK, Germany and the rest of the EU now meets exactly the same Harmonised European Standard (prEN 13986).
--
Peter Parry.
http://www.wpp.ltd.uk/
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wrote:

Rubbish or not, what was discussed was that in Germany (and other places) it was illegal to use the material. That may have been illegal to "sell" the material - I don't know - obviously if a furniture manufacturer cannot source materials he isn't going to use it in his fabrication.
PoP
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wrote:

However, it isn't. The only limit (now an EU wide one) is on the formaldehyde emissions.
--
Peter Parry.
http://www.wpp.ltd.uk/
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wrote:

I think I'm going to step back from arguing this one any further. I wish you could argue the toss with the chap I was talking to - he did seem very certain of his facts.
PoP
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Thought the problem was in the 'glue'?
--
*No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver,purple

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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On Tue, 23 Dec 2003 15:55:42 +0000 (GMT), Dave Plowman

believe i covered that in my post
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PoP wrote:

<snip>
http://www.safety.ed.ac.uk/resources/occ_hygiene/Updates/hygiene_update5.html
"Firstly, the Health and Safety Executive have been taken aback and are somewhat dismayed by the reaction to comments in some factions of the media concerning the supposed effects of working with MDF, this especially as they seem to have stemmed largely from inflammatory and ill informed remarks made by the deputy general of the entertainment union that "MDF is the asbestos of the nineties. It is carcinogenic, it causes lesions, it damages eyes, the skin, the lungs and the heart. It is vile and pernicious". An HSE spokesman said that these claims cannot be substantiated, that there is absolutely no medical research which comes to such conclusions and that there have been no cases of cancer of any type which have been attributed to exposure to or working with MDF."
"Formaldehyde is designated as a "probable carcinogen" in the USA"
"That having been noted, concentrations at or above the level of the MEL are only found in work situations where large amounts of Formaldehyde is used e.g. medical, pathology, funeral embalming, etc. It is not found in anything vaguely approaching these concentrations during the working with or use of MDF wood boards or furnishings."
"MDF has not been banned in the USA, as reported in some media reports, in fact they use more of it than we do. What is now required in one state, California, is labeling on furnishings and housing to inform that the furniture/construction contains Formaldehyde."
D
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On Tue, 23 Dec 2003 14:13:10 -0000, "David Hearn"
I hear you, and I'm not going to argue one way or the other.
However bear in mind that web report was dated as September 1997. It is entirely possible that new research has come along subsequently.
PoP
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PoP wrote:

http://www.safety.ed.ac.uk/resources/occ_hygiene/Updates/hygiene_update5.html
Good point, I missed that. :)
D
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wrote:

You are correct, it has. It supports the statement made that there is no particular risk over and above that of dust from softwoods.
--
Peter Parry.
http://www.wpp.ltd.uk/
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