Well I'm showing my ignorance in regards to plywood. I'm building a
dresser and was thinking of using ply on the two side panels (set into
grooves on the rails/legs) to minimize movement. I plan to have the drawer
webs dado'ed into the panels (bout 1/8" or so). Anyway, I called for
prices on the ply and they ask me if I want MDF or Veneer core. Well the
MDF is cheaper. I searched around and what I see between the two is the
MDF will weigh more but the Veneer core will probably take screws better.
For only a couple of panels roughly 18x26 the difference in weight seems a
non issue to me. I do plan to anchor the webs to the side with a screw
through an elongated hole. With that in mind, should I really be
considering the Veneer core or does it really matter? Any advice is
Today, when I look at some high priced furniture and cabinets I noticed that
lots of manufacturers are using MDF core in lieu of veneer and solid wood.
Even when looking at expensive dining table it takes an expert to find that
the table top is made with MDF core framed with solid wood.
The veneer used in the core of some plywood is questionable and contains
lots of void.
My preference based on the furniture I have made is solid wood than real
hardwood plywood. By using MDF if will give you good results and build up
your pride while maintaining your budget. Than when you have more time,
tools and money solid hardwood could be the material you like best.
Thanks. I don't mind using solid wood (it would be cheaper than buying a
full sheet of ply only to use part of it) but
I was hoping to eliminate the possibility of expansion across the panel and
messing with my drawer webs. I may reconsider
using ply however. I won't glue the dado and a single screw in the middle
with an enlarged hole should do the trick I would
think. Oh, and maybe spaceballs in the frame. I'm using 3/4" for the
panels. Whatcha think?
I ran into much the same challenge, a while back. My plywood dealer
indicated that the MDF core was more consistently the same thickness,
generally smoother, and most frequently had better veneers. This on
thinner sheets such as those I use for panels in rail & stile cabinet
So I buy MDF for thinner panels, and scratch my head some for the thicker
ones, usually coming home with veneer core for 1/2 & 3/4.
Do you have a dealer you can trust? Mine's worth a bunch to me.
These will be 3/4" thick. Thinking of just doing solid hardwood but don't
want the thing to bugger up with expansion.
See my response above as to how I may do the solid wood approach.
Cheers and thanks for the inputs.
For my work, I have to see whether the panels are worth the fussing with
solid wood. And for most of what I do, a 3/4" thick panel is overkill,
except for kitchen & bath cabinet bodies. YMMV, and likely does. I
haven't gotten into the fancy sideboards I;ve seen floating around here and
abpw lately. Not yet, at least. Still have a regular job to attend to
most days, thank goodness.
Production furniture manufacturers have been using the veneer over MDF for
Does that answer your question? Do you want production quality or better
The MDF certainly works easily and is stable, until water spills and sets on
it. Plywood core will hold up marginally better if you think a liquid may
seep through the finish or into a joint.
1. MDF is glued together sawdust. It is weak. It doesn't hold
2. Veneer core is glued together sheets of thin wood. It is strong.
It doesn't hold fasteners in ends/sides well. Core quality varies,
depends on what you spec.
3. Lumber core is glued up lumber. It is strong. It holds fasteners
well except in the end grain.
All are overlaid with "pretty" veneer (of varying quality) that has
been sliced with a microtome :)
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