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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
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    210

    Default plywood substitute

    Those american magazine workshop projects made out of 3/4 plywood, at $70 a sheet, I'm thinking 18mm MDF($30) is much more cost effective, but worried that the panel stiffness may be too low with MDF. What about a combination of both materials using MDf for verticle panels and ply for horizontal?
    Any thoughts? Thanks
    "World's oldest kid"

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Barboursville, Virginia USA
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    73
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    2,364

    Default

    Do you have melamine laminated particle board available? At what cost? Probably more suitable than MDF. Less flex. We'll see what others have to say.
    Cheers,

    Bob



  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Garvoc VIC AUSTRALIA
    Posts
    11,470

    Default

    It depends on what you are making.
    MDF may be adequate by itself
    Regards, Bob Thomas

    www.wombatsawmill.com

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Australia and France
    Posts
    8,101

    Default

    I can't think of any of the "shop project" plans I've seen where you couldn't substitute MDF for everything.

    I'm not sure if what we call MDF isn't different to the US stuff, but I used to build everything from MDF scrounged from packing crates, or cover sheets.

    Even for precision jigs, it machines well, and can easily be sealed with a bit of shellac, then waxed with good old U-Beaut traditional Wax to keep it slidin'.

    Cheers,

    P

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    210

    Default

    Thanks people, Know what you mean about melamine, it does seem stiffer than plain MDF panels. Reckon I'll cut me a couple of test pieces and do some tests for stiffness with weights, see what happens. I was wanting to make a router table ( sick of Triton fiddly thing ) an a station for SCS saw, thicknesser etc. Come to think of it Melamiine may be good for router table top.
    "World's oldest kid"

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    21

    Default Particle Board Sags More - And More Quickly - Than MDF

    At least, that's my impression.

    I'd still recommend MDF quite agressively, though.

    Don't bother combining MDF and plywood for different surfaces - you can do everything with MDF that you can with plywood, only better.

    To counteract MDF's willingness to sag, keep in mind a couple of things -
    - it has no grain
    - that's why it sags so much more than solid wood
    - you can combat this tendency to sag with the appropriate engineering -
    - housed, unexotic joints like dadoes in the gables and back to support any shelves you might be thinking of
    - face frames to form a front "lip"
    - face frame to support the top
    - maybe you'll need a lengthwise cleat too
    - it machines beautifully
    - soften the edges - they're SHARP!
    - chamfer or roundover all edges
    - ogees etc wherever else

    Keep in mind -
    - it's tough on blades and bits
    - make sure you clean them before you start this project
    - the dust is MURDEROUS
    - wear a good, properly-fitted mask and safety glasses

    I realize this next is heresy to you guys, seeing the hardwoods you consider scrap to my tired Canadian eyes, but most of what I make is MDF.

    I've made huge numbers of bookcases using the above formulas with zero sag.
    And this is in view of my two boys, Genghis and Atilla, and their still-present need to destry everything in their sight.

    I've also made unsupported 90" adjustable shelves in bookcases using 1/4" skins on 1/2" ribs in the form of torsion boxes (which seems to be the flavour of the month in the US forums these days)

    If you'd like to see some photos, just let me know.
    I'd be happy to oblige if someone will walk me through the process of loading them.

    HTH
    Howard Rosenberg

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Kentucky NSW near Tamworth, Australia
    Age
    81
    Posts
    3,746

    Default

    I've used both 17mm ply and 16mm MDF for projects for the shed. I prefer the ply but pretty expensive at about $80.00 a sheet. The only problem with MDF is it will split very easily when screwing into the edge.

    I suppose it is horses for courses. I built my SCMS stand and my planer stand out of ply but have built the majority of my jigs from MDF

    When I built my projector box I didn't use any screws in it at all, I just used biscuits and Triton PVA glue.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    210

    Default

    I'd like to see those shelves Howard.

    I remember once putting images on - And its not that hard.
    Step 1 - digital camera and save images somewhere easy to find on PC
    Step 2 - When replying to a thread you will see a box "Additional Options" below the "Reply to thread" box.
    Step 3 - Click on "Manage attachments" button and you can see a number of places where to select and browse for your images.
    Maybe "preview post" might come in handy at bottom of main reply page.

    BTW is PLy about double the price of MDF in Canada?
    "World's oldest kid"

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Outer Melb SE suburb, Vic
    Age
    51
    Posts
    4,156

    Default

    Howard, see here


    Cheers.................Sean


    The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    21

    Default Is It Acceptable To Link To Another WW Forum?

    If so, I can show you two projects using the techniques I described above.

    Then I can take some additional photos of my eldest son's grandfather clock and a front hallway bench - both made of MDF.

    The hallway bench is actually a three-way torsion box using stopped cuts on the TS.

    I feel its engineering is great but the design is not my taste - it's more my wife's who likes things "pared down".

    I feel it looks like a 57" long TV stand you'd find at IKEA.....

    Lemme know.

    Howard

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