Ply v MDF

I want to make some drawers/trays for under my metal lathe bench. They will be 2' x 3' and 1" up to 4" deep. I have four "handy" sheets of 5 ply "exterior" 2' x 3' x 9mm (3/8") and can't seem to find any more similar at our local borg. They now sell 3 ply with one side good and the other with splits and such. Would 3/8" sheets of MDF be OK? I'm planning for the sides to be half inch jarrah fence palings that I've planed to size, epoxied to the top of the base sheet perimeter and epoxied mitre joints at the corners - I know, wouldn't dovetails be nice, well, depends if I get inspired before I start :) jack
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snipped-for-privacy@spam.heaven wrote:

You aren't going to like the dust that cutting that much MDF would generate. Trust me on this; I just finished milling my countertop substrates from MDF. That dust gets everywhere. In addition the weight and sag potential, I would think that you would want to find a different supplier for 5 ply plywood.
--
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

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On Sun, 23 Dec 2007 20:23:52 -0700, Mark & Juanita

The MDF will need no cutting or milling. I can buy the accurately cut 3'x2' sheets as cheaply as a big sheet.
Will the sag be much of a problem over 3'x2' with a 1" or 3" high x 1/2" thick jarrah side glued around the perimeter?
My question was really how will the ply compare to the MDF wrt this glue joint? I've never used MDF before.
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Use the existing 3/8" for drawer bottoms, especially for 2'x3' drawers.
Forget the borg as a supplier.
Find a distributor who sells 1/2" 9 ply for drawer sides and backs.
3/4" fronts, wood of choice, I'd consider 3/4 (13 Ply) plywood.
Dovetails not required, interlocked dados cut with a table saw will do the job for joints.
Sounds like these drawers will be asked to hold some weight. What kind of drawer slides are you considering?
Lew
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On Sun, 23 Dec 2007 20:56:59 -0800, "Lew Hodgett"

Thanks, Lew. I've got a bunch of high temper 1" x 1" x 1/8" aluminium angle. I was planning on having this top and bottom so the drawers can be slid out a fair way and not sag, and then liberally applying paste wax.
I got the originals fairly cheap at our borg (Bunnings in Australia) Problem with a ply supplier here (Perth) is that they are usually very expensive, and supply in 8' x 4' single sheets if you are lucky. I was once quoted for a pallet of top grade marine ply. Then it is so much hassle for me to cut the bloody stuff accurately.
I already have heaps of 4" x 1/2" jarrah, which if you don't know it is hard and tough as the hobs of hell. A relative that they also use for palings (fence pickets) here once bent all the teeth on my jack saw when I was cutting old palings up for fire wood. I couldn't break the bloody stuff with my 200# jumping on it in hobnail boots resting one end on a brick. It damned near sent me into orbit :) No wonder the termites don't like it. Jarrah is not quite that tough, but can be, if selected right.
Anyways, epoxy mitre joints are probably easier for me, and will use less glue and still be strong enough to hold a truck gearbox :)
jack
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I would look at the ply, regardless of the number of plys. The drawers should be painted on the inside with oil base paint. This will help in dumping the metal chips and the cleaning up of the oil that will stray into them. I just replaced my MDF (unpainted) drawers with ply, on my metal lathe for this reason. Also the painted drawers make it easier for me to see and find smaller items.

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I was planning on having this top and bottom so the drawers can be slid out a fair way and not sag, and then liberally applying paste wax.

Problem with a ply supplier here (Perth) is that they are usually very expensive, and supply in 8' x 4' single sheets if you are lucky. I was once quoted for a pallet of top grade marine ply. Then it is so much hassle for me to cut the bloody stuff accurately.
Ah Perth, where "The Doctor" comes in every afternoon.
(Yes, I'm a sailor)
You need marine ply like a "roo" need a shopping cart.
Total overkill for this job.
What kind of pricing do you get on either Finnish or Russsian birch plywood?
Around here it is sold in 60"x60" sheets.
1/2"(9 ply) is commonly used for drawer sides and backs.

is hard and tough as the hobs of hell. A relative that they also use for palings (fence pickets) here once bent all the teeth on my jack saw when I was cutting old palings up for fire wood. I couldn't break the bloody stuff with my 200# jumping on it in hobnail boots resting one end on a brick. It damned near sent me into orbit :) No wonder the termites don't like it. Jarrah is not quite that tough, but can be, if selected right.
Can you machine Jarrah or is it like some stuff we have in the US known as "Ironwood"?
About the only thing it is good for is shoring.
Trying to machine ironwood is a waste of time and money.
Cutting plywood sheets to size is NBD, if you have either a circular saw or a jig (saber) saw and a straight edge.
Cut a little proud (1/4"), then clean up at the table saw.

less glue and still be strong enough to hold a truck gearbox :)
If you are talking about trying to glue 45 degree miters together, even with epoxy it will be a weak joint.
About the only way to make that joint strong is to add some glass cloth which would be a real PITA.
Interlocked dadoes are easy to cut on a table saw and are a time proven method of building drawers.
Lew
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