MDF questions

I'm not very familiar with MDF, but I'm seeing it used on TV a lot. How strong is it? I'd like to use it for some cabinet doors, but I wonder if it's strong enough to hold the hinge screws. Are there special screws for MDF, like the ones for particle board, or can I use regular wood screws? Any other info or hints on using MDF would be welcome.
Thanks, Pete
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MDF is an ideal material from which to construct cabinets doors. Its three primary virtues are flatness, good paintability and modest unit cost. However as you point out its screw holding strength leaves something to be desired.
You can overcome this weakness If you use euro hinges with a 35 mm cup mortised into the door, the doors will last longer than you imagine.
Joe G
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Pistol Pete, aye? That brings back memories. I have a VCR "documentary" of #23. Thanks for the flash back.
Sonny
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Pistol_Pete wrote:

Strong in compression, very weak in shear. Also very heavy. ____________

It does NOT hold fasteners well. _______________

How thick do you want your doors? If thick enough, you could drill holes from the edge, glue in dowels and then screw thru the MDF face into the dowels.
Another possibility, put in your regular wood screws, back them out, fill hole with superglue, let MDF suck it up, put screws back.
I've never done eother of the two with MDF but have with other problem materials.
--

dadiOH
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Pistol_Pete wrote:

Pete:
I've had a fair amount of experience with MDF, doing a full panel-raised wainscoting project with it. Here's some info:
1. MDF mills very will with router, etc. Due to it's hardness, your bits will take a beating. 2. MDF takes paint very well. WRT milled edges (especially) don't use a water-based paint or you'll raise the grain and spend half a lifetime sanding it smooth. DAMHIKT 3. While suitable for panels, etc. it's not very good for horizontal shelving unless re-enforced with some edging. 4. With respect to raised-panel doors, common practice is to make the panel out of MDF but make the rails & stiles from some paint-friendly hardwood like poplar or maple. You'll effectively get 0 movement from the MDF panel which will minimize/eliminate any future paint cracks where the panel meets the rails/stiles. This has the added benefit of giving you a place to attach hinges as hinges screwed into MDF are likely to strip out.
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On Tue, 29 Jun 2010 11:19:59 -0700 (PDT), Pistol_Pete

Yes there are special screws for MDF.
http://www.mcfeelys.com/search/mdf+screws
If you must use MDF for doors I think you may be interested in these inserts.
http://www.mcfeelys.com/search/mdf+insert
If I were going to build cabinet doors I would use a solid wood for the frame and either a solid wood or plywood for the panel -- not MDF.
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" I'd like to use it for some cabinet doors, "
What type of construction are you considering. One big flat slab with maybe some edge detail? Cope and stick?
Lots of less expensive doors are done on big CNC's that carve on piece of MDF to look like a raised panel door. In many cases they do a shrink wrap type film on them also.
It can work. I agree it is cool for panels when using real wood for the frame. As a full slab or cope and stick built with all mdf the edges will beat up real easy, real quick unless it is film wrapped (by pro process, not a home builder option).
It can easily be painted with any paint, even water based. Edges and routed faces can be wiped with some joint compound first and quickly sanded out to make paint smoother but not actually necessary.
The comment about it being hard on cutters is actually due to the glue that holds all the cardoard dust (ie fiber) together.
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Good cabinets? No, I wouldn't Workshop? definitely Bathroom? Possibly with hardwood edging trim on?
I'm not very familiar with MDF, but I'm seeing it used on TV a lot. How strong is it? I'd like to use it for some cabinet doors, but I wonder if it's strong enough to hold the hinge screws. Are there special screws for MDF, like the ones for particle board, or can I use regular wood screws? Any other info or hints on using MDF would be welcome.
Thanks, Pete
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Strange that you overlooked coffins John? Fear? A little birdie from the misc.health groups tells me you claim a terminal kidney disease, being on dialysis four hours a day, and thereby the expert on that topic. Your ocean of expertise on anything is in danger of being withdrawn? Nothing surer you will have met your better when Lucifer spreads the cheeks of your scrawny ass!
mike
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http://www.mcfeelys.com/tech/mdf.htm
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It's very strong, but heavier and more flexible than wood.
It takes screws well into the faces but not into the edges. This is because the fibres all run randomly across the board but not from one face to the other. The fibre pulp is effectively rolled out flat in the manufacturing.
You can use regular wood screws (modern hardened deep threaded screws) but if you are screwing into the edge it will help to pilot drill to avoid splitting.
It paints up nicely but is very vulnerable to damp which swells the wood fibres. No amount of paint and silicon will prevent moisture penetration after a while so it is no good for bathrooms, kitchens or permanently fixed items like window sills. Having said that it is widely used in kitchens, bathrooms and for interior trim but we live in a throwaway world. You won't get an heirloom out of it.
Tim W
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On 6/29/2010 2:19 PM, Pistol_Pete wrote:

Works fine for cabinet doors. What is often done on inexpensive knock-down furniture is to drill the cabinet and the door edges, put a pin in at the top and bottom, and size the door and pins so that you can lift the door enough for the weight of the door to hold the bottom pin in place. There are special plastic inserts made to hold the pin, or you can use a piece of hobby-shop brass tubing for a bushing (9/32 will take a 1/4 inch steel rod). This holds up reasonably well but with enough force you _can_ bust the pin out.
For another hinge option, google "Blum Inserta". As for screws, google "confirmat".
The stuff takes paint beautifully, is a good substrate for veneer or laminate, works well as a painted or veneered panel in a framed door, and is not a happy camper if it gets wet. If this is for a kitchen or bathroom, where it can be expected to get wet on occasion, look for "Extira", which is waterproof but not cheap.
Oh, and it weighs a ton. If you don't have an assistant and aren't built like Schwarzenegger you may want to get any sheets rough-sawn to reduce the weight of the pieces you are handling.
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In article

Bloody horrible stuff to be avoided if at all possible. Dust is highly toxic/carcinogenic you need /proper/ respiratory protection.
On the other hand it's "cheap", flat and free from warping as long as you keep it a million miles from any dampness. It's a fibrous material, hence its name, and screws pull out easily. You need /very/ sharp tools to work it or it just tears.
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I have used it on many occasions for customers that want flat slab doors in their kitchens and offices. You certainly should use Euro style hinges as they set inside the door and only use small screws to keep the door from disengaging the hinge. The door will hang on the hinges with no screws.
Takes a finish great if you know what you are doing. I have had a couple of customers do their own painting and the results were good. You should seal the edges, sand and paint.
There are Comformat screws designed for use with MDF however they are not needed with Euro hinges. It is best to predrill all screw holes.
Modern MDF is not so bad with humidity.
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On 6/30/2010 6:15 PM, Leon wrote:

Confirmats don't come small enough for Euro hinges anyway. The smallest size is 5mm diameter by 40mm long, or about 3/16 x 1.5.
It is best to predrill all screw holes.

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