MDF


I am new to woodworking and would like to use MDF for a book case. I have read that there can be some health issues with the dust when cutting the sheets and want to know how others deal with the dust. What precautions should I take in addition to a dust mask and eye protection?
Thanks in advance for your help.
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The best advice I can give Dave, is don't use MDF. It's termite crap and glue. Wood isn't going to cost you that much more and when you're done you'll have something that won't crumple at the slightest bump or swell with a little moisture. Not to mention, wood will actually carry the weight of books - MDF won't carry its own weight.
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Best precaution is to use a more suitable material for a bookcase. MDF is not strong for shelves as it sags easily. Think plywood. Or pine boards even. Check material differences here: http://www.woodbin.com/calcs/sagulator.htm
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A basic dust mask and good dust collection.
You should also go to the trouble of getting the "correct" wood screws for the project.
Check with the folks at http://www.mcfeelys.com /
Biscuits are also excellent for mdf.
Here is a great looking library made from nothing but mdf....
You will hear about how terrible mdf is and that you can't build anything with it.
http://www.twistedknotwoodshop.com/laurioffice.htm
David Emerson wrote:

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Keep in mind that MDF will sag under it's own weight. So, be sure to reinforce it. The dust can be troublesome. I put myself between the MDF being cut and a high out put fan blowing towards the large open garage door.
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I did a bookcase, and a couple of other projects out of MDF when I was starting too. It's cheap, so I figured the cost of a mistake would be reduced.
Get a *good* dust mask/cartridge respirator - I popped for a 3M N95 rated one. Something along the lines of: http://www.aosafety.com/aosafety.com/diy/resp_detail.cfm?con_prod_num95190&con_family_id=6&con_platform_id=1
Dust will be *everywhere* so have a good ShopVac or Dust Collection system running while you cut. I hope your shop is outside or in the garage.
A couple of inexpensive Box Fans with decent furnance filters tacked on can act like inexpensive air cleaners too.
The nice things about MDF are it's cheap, it's flat and square. The downsides are it's heavy, it can't span a large distance and hold alot of books, you'll want to paint it when you're done.
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As others have said, make MDF your last choice... if ya have to use it, consider making the "box" out of MDF and real wood for the shelves..
PLEASE.. if you do use MDF (or "particle board") use a real dust mask, not one of those paper things with the elastic band and nose clip... they're for garden clippings, not potentially harmful dust from laminates... YMMV
Also, if you don't have dust collection, be very careful with the dust that's going to be all over your shop... especially if you have kids..
mac
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Not to be too picky, but particle board is not MDF and MDF is not particle board.
http://www.awi-wa.com/OVERLAY_PROD.htm#PARTICLEBOARD
Anybody cutting any wood should be concerned with dust collection, with or without kids.
mac davis wrote:

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wrote:
Pat.. my point was that you need a mask when cutting or sanding either one... Also, hardboard dust can really set off some folks hay fever..

mac
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