I've made a fairly complex shaper template out of MDF and unlike many of the
templates/jigs/fixtures that I make I think I’ll actually keep this one
around... Since MDF is relatively soft and is prone to damage, and swells
when it gets wet, I'm contemplating sealing it with something to both harden
it and keep incidental moisture out of it.... I am curious to know what
others have done... or don't bother to do with their "permanent" MDF
patterns to keep them in working order for the long run?
As an aside, I never thought I'd see the day that I'd be using my various
L-N spoke shaves on MDF but was delighted to find that they worked
wonderfully for getting rid of the band saw marks and removing the waste to
the line. This was done before smoothing the curves with with adhesive
backed paper on thin strips of oak. It was kind of like discovering that a
large L-N router is wonderful for getting dados to full depth after running
wavy sheet goods over a dado blade on the table saw. Who would have thought
that "old fashioned" tools would work so well with "modern" materials?!
More of a dust cover than a hardening agent, I use about a
1/2 lb - 1 lb cut of shellac, applied with a 2" chip brush.
Since there is so much alcohol in the cut, coats penetrate deeply
and dry quickly so that several coats can be applied at one sitting.
BTW, keeps surfaces clean and finger print free.
Shellac is one of the possibilities I have in mind... Thanks for reinforcing
I was also thinking about poly, or taking it outside and coating it with CA
glue... trying to find a balance between adequate and good and not go too
I would mix up some titebond and water, not much water, just enough to
make it spread a little. Then slather it on the ends. Sand, repeat.
Then use shellac to seal the whole thing.
I use tempered hardboard (masonite) for templates, because it is
cheaper, I find it easier to work.. I use the 1/4, that can range from
3/16 to 1/4 :-(... sometimes I will glue two together.. I still like it
better than mdf...
I like MDF for my work cart tops... solid, dead level... and seems to
deaden sound pretty good.
IME, damage through frequent use is likely to be a bigger problem than
storage in a dry location, even in this humid Gulf Coast climate.
I keep them to the point it has become a storage problem, and most don't
have any type of finish. Some are ten to fifteen years old and haven't
suffered any noticeable effects of age. Even those stored outside,
behind the shop, and in a large plastic outdoor storage bin.
The few that I've bothered to put a finish on, it has been with 3lb cut
shellac, brushed on right of the can.
"Swingman" wrote in message
On 4/12/2014 9:48 PM, John Grossbohlin wrote:
You are probably correct here... it's just that after spending about two
hours making the pattern it seems like it needs to be protected! Maybe I
need one of those old map or blue print cabinets with the drawers for my
plans and patterns! ;~)
Haven't run across that... Truth be told, the MDF I use for things like this
comes out of the cull bin at Home Depot. It's often cut into 2x4 or 4x4
pieces and corners may be busted off but I don't care... It's cheap
(typically $1-2) and I'm cutting it into small pieces anyway! It's not the
material cost I'm trying to save it's my time...
This latest pattern consumed about two hours between layout, bandsawing and
fairing. If I were a production shop I'd probably have it cut out of
aluminum so it would hold up to repeated use... I anticipate using it again
over the coming years and making the actual part from starting with rough
cut wood through glue up, pattern cutting on the bandsaw and pattern
shaping, to putting the final finish on will take less time than making a
bit bearing rides over it, making it tacky again, and sticking in globs to
the bearing, and you have a mess.
I love the CA glue idea, but that sounds expensive. The shellac idea should
work, but best if kept thin. Epoxy thinned should work too. So should
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