Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 19
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Newcastle
    Posts
    209

    Default MDF vs Ply for mobile shed cabinets and benches

    What's the general feeling on using MDF to construct cabinets and benches (not just the tops), as opposed to ply?

    Working on my modular system of wheeled boxes that serve as workbenches and tool stands (mitre saw, thicknesser and so on). Original plan was to build the carcases out of 18mm birch ply, with torsion box tops. Bench surfaces MDF, with a Fe$tool MFC-type hole pattern on most.

    The issue with ply is the cost and the difficulty getting good quality 18mm stuff here in the outer hebrides of Newcastle. I'm wary of Bunnings ecoply - it's cheap, but seems to warp as soon as you look at it. Nearest birch ply supplier wants $210 a sheet for 18mm. Otherwise I have to trailer down to Sydney to get it at $120 (BB or BC grade, from memory - which would be fine for shop stuff).

    Delivery from Sydney = mandatory tail drop/forklift crap which is no good for me as a) I won't be at home, and b) no forklift is getting up my steep drive.

    So I've been pondering MDF. My heaviest tools are the Comet midi lathe and my mini milling machine - both at around 60kg. I've no idea how MDF would behave in this application though - would it gradually warp and concertina down in a tower of pizza type collapse...? Does it remain strong and stable if used upright vs flat and well supported like a benchtop?

    At $30-odd for a full size 18mm sheet...

    Modules are very basic construction - there'll be shelves, drawers and compartments in various conformations, depending on what tool is sitting on them, so this will add strength and stability to the structure (I hope). This one's 780mm x 600mm x 880-ish high (including the castors)

    Screenshot 2019-06-05 17.46.26.png Screenshot 2019-06-05 17.47.02.jpg

    edit - planning to face/edgeband to protect

  2. # ADS
    Google Adsense Advertisement
    Join Date
    Always
    Location
    Advertising world
    Posts
    Many





     
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Parkside - South Australia
    Age
    41
    Posts
    3,091

    Default

    Personally Iím not a fan of MDF ..... always seems to absorb a degree of moisture in the garage - even if just from the air.

    What about Melamine (chipboard core). Cheap, easy to work and provides a good surface for cleaning etc.
    Now proudly sponsored by Binford Tools. Be sure to check out the Binford 6100 - available now at any good tool retailer.

  4. #3
    FenceFurniture's Avatar
    FenceFurniture is offline The prize lies beneath - hidden in full view
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    1017m up in Katoomba, NSW
    Posts
    9,258

    Default

    Bern, I went to Trademaster in Granville yesterday with NCArcher. What I'm about to say will depend on if you can borrow/hire a trailer (and if you have a towbar), or if you can borrow/hire a van that will take the sheets inside.

    Their prices are excellent. We picked up a sheet of 25mm Marine ply for $123, and a couple of sheets of very nice looking Birch ply 18mm for $127 and $147 (two different grades). The snow on the roof of my ute had melted by the time we got there, very fortunately.

    Now the thing is that at Building "A" (where we were sent to collect after we had paid) they had a whole bunch of offcuts from kitchen bench making. These were laminated with some superhard plastic and mostly with a freeform edge, 40mm thick chipboard, which would make fabulous tops for router tables etc. They were at least 600mm wide.

    One piece was ~1500mm long but was still the same price as all the others....$10

    We think we might regret not throwing a couple in the boot of the ute.....



    So to you main question. MDF is fine for vertical walls, and doesn't really have to be more than 9mm thick. It doesn't matter about flatness or robustness for walls. That saves on weight and cost.

    I'm not a fan of MDF for tops. It's not durable, and it will absorb moisture like a dunny roll dropped in the sink (or whatever). Again, moisture for the walls doesn't matter, and you can paint them too. The thing with moisture in a top it will go out of flat, get furry, rise above t-track blah blah.


    So I would be looking at using a combo of Ply and MDF, and some of those ridiculously cheap offcuts.
    Regards, FenceFurniture

    COLT DRILLS GROUP BUY
    Jan-Feb 2019 Click to send me an email

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Age
    32
    Posts
    2,377

    Default MDF vs Ply for mobile shed cabinets and benches

    In the past Iíve provided a cut list to the supplier and got them to cut it all up for me. Saved me the hassle of breaking down sheets but more importantly allowed me to get it home without a Ute/trailer etc. Might be an option if you can fold your seats down.

    As for the birch, Brett and Tony dropped off two sheets of BB and B/BB 18mm birch plywood to me yesterday, and for the price I paid Iím very happy with them. Actually better than the stuff I got from another supplier a while back that set me back over $200. I can take photos if anyone is interested.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Newcastle
    Posts
    209

    Default

    mmm. I have a tow hitch. Bunnings hire 8x5 trailers at $60/24hours... although the locals will hire a van for $80, which might be less hassle all around. It's reassuring to hear Trademaster's quality is good - it was a concern that I'd drive down there and not like what I saw. I'll do 1000km this week... what's another 300 ...

    Enough of those kitchen offcuts, and I could do all/most of the work surfaces.

    Would be great to see some photos of the ply, groeneaj

    I have some melamine lying around, so I may knock something together just to see how it goes too.

  7. #6
    FenceFurniture's Avatar
    FenceFurniture is offline The prize lies beneath - hidden in full view
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    1017m up in Katoomba, NSW
    Posts
    9,258

    Default

    Yes, Trademaster asked us if we wanted cuts. Dunno what they charge for them, but maybe $2 per cut?. Even if you got them cut oversize but to fit in the car/trailer and trim later (if you weren't quite sure of the final sizes or wanted to allow for a change of mind).

    It could be a good idea to pitch in with Midnight Man because he is also just about ready to purchase, IIRC. Think he has a trailer too.
    Regards, FenceFurniture

    COLT DRILLS GROUP BUY
    Jan-Feb 2019 Click to send me an email

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    lower eyre peninsular
    Age
    70
    Posts
    2,082

    Default

    being out in rural South Oz has some drawbacks, but the local cabinet makers usually charge $10 for a 2400x1200x18 MDF sheet, if these are 2nds or cover sheets then would love to see what they cover, over 20 sheets so far and not a mark anywhere.

    Id be trying a local (semi) cabinet maker or kitchen supplier and see what they do with their offcuts. I have 8 1800x600x35 laminated panels that I bought some time ago @ $10 each
    Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Central Coast, NSW
    Posts
    2,925

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FenceFurniture View Post
    Yes, Trademaster asked us if we wanted cuts. Dunno what they charge for them, but maybe $2 per cut?. Even if you got them cut oversize but to fit in the car/trailer and trim later (if you weren't quite sure of the final sizes or wanted to allow for a change of
    When I was there a couple of months ago it was $5.00 per cut - and a very long wait.

    I bought a heap of that okume ply that they sell very cheaply as Ďfurniture gradeí ply. It definitely isnít furniture grade but would be fine for workshop cabinets. At $34 for a sheet of 2400 x 1200 x 15 mm itís worth looking at.

    https://trademaster.com.au/product/o...400x1200x15mm/

    I think next time I go ther Iíll take my cordless circular saw, and square things up when I get home.

    FF, can you tell us more about the offcuts. Do they have postformed stuff? Who do you talk to about it? We need to build a small temporary kitchen soon so would be interested in some cheap bench tops etc. Also the high gloss melamine over 18mm mdf as offcuts about sort of 1/3 sheet size would be good.
    Apologies for unnoticed autocomplete errors.

  10. #9
    FenceFurniture's Avatar
    FenceFurniture is offline The prize lies beneath - hidden in full view
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    1017m up in Katoomba, NSW
    Posts
    9,258

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Arron View Post
    FF, can you tell us more about the offcuts. Do they have postformed stuff?
    Not really, and not sure what postformed is. What I saw was pieces of 35-40mm chipboard with a plastic coating (some with patterns) that had a square edge where the front edge was rounded over with a 6-8mm radius bit, and then laminated with whatever it was. I didn't really pay much attention except that they were great value for shed work.

    I dunno if you pay for them at the counter or at Building A.

    Re cuts: $5 per is up there but if it means not hiring transport then obviously worth it. Perhaps it's best to send them a cutting plan in advance to save the waiting? Certainly I would expect that if 2-3 sheets were going to be cut the same way then it would still be just $5 per cut with the three sheets ganged up.
    Regards, FenceFurniture

    COLT DRILLS GROUP BUY
    Jan-Feb 2019 Click to send me an email

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Hunter Valley
    Age
    51
    Posts
    804

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FenceFurniture View Post
    We picked up a sheet of 25mm Marine ply for $123, and a couple of sheets of very nice looking Birch ply 18mm for $127 and $147 (two different grades).
    I'd be most keen to hear about these - those are some pretty keen prices for Birch ply, and I've seen them only on their website so far.

    I have seen, and bought, some of their Okume (used to be called furniture grade) ply - it's pretty decent, but there are issues on the internal laminations, and some voids are present.

    It's great material to line walls with IMO, which would give the required strength to hang up cabinets and french cleat tool walls etc.

    I'd be looking at their Birch ply for jigs and shop furniture/cabinetry, so I'm keen to hear of your opinions on these two - I'm presuming you're referring to their Birch Ply Long Grain (2500x1200x18 @ $127.36) and their Designer Birch Plywood Long Grain (2500x1250x18 @ $146.30)?

    Which of the two is nicer? And what is the difference between them "in the flesh"?

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Helensburgh
    Posts
    5,834

    Default

    I built all my rolling cabinets out of MDF and the top I just added a sheet of masonite and put some poly floor finish on it. This lasted for many years with no problems at all. Trademasters is a great place, we bought some 25mm 3.6 metre long sheets some years ago for a stupidly cheap price and they just forked them onto the flatbed trailer, no hand loading at all. I would not buy anywhere else if I could get it home but no trailer these days means buying locally.
    CHRIS

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    2,567

    Default

    An alternative provider is TimberWood.com.au - they supply me everything now. I'd admit that I'm quite prejudiced towards them now..... service is outstanding, nothing is a bother, they will custom press any veneer to any substrate I want, plus they are happy to do special orders. Prices are excellent. Perhaps consider them.

    As to MDF.....

    Well, I'm contrary to the "MDF is evil" gang - I belong to the "MDF is frigging amazing stuff" gang.

    It is overly maligned.

    Manage it well and its easy to use. Dust is collected easily if you prepare.

    As for water, maybe you're buying something I'm not! I tested some Bunnings MDF and TimberWood MDF outside for a considerable period. Left them fully exposed to the elements. Stinking hot, freezing cold, rain, frost, the lot.... it barely moved. There is still some "out the side" that is destined to be used in the fire pit.... only the gods know for certain how long its been there - still good.

    No weetbix!

    If you have a doubt, one can buy MRMDF for a small extra premium. I've never used it.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Saskatoon, SK, Canada.
    Posts
    1,028

    Default

    For a little more money we can get moisture resistant MDF. See if it is available where you are. It is a little bit heavier if that's possible and is useful for stuff that can see some humidity or get the occasional splash. The upside to MDF is that it is cheap and uniform in thickness. The downside is the dust and weight. The weight is an asset for the machines to absorb the out of balance turnings etc. You can always double up the top by gluing 2 sheets together, brace it as you pictured or make a torsion box of it. Make the shop furniture, put a good finish on it and enjoy the results, not so much the making.

    Pete

  15. #14
    FenceFurniture's Avatar
    FenceFurniture is offline The prize lies beneath - hidden in full view
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    1017m up in Katoomba, NSW
    Posts
    9,258

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Man View Post
    I'm presuming you're referring to their Birch Ply Long Grain (2500x1200x18 @ $127.36) and their Designer Birch Plywood Long Grain (2500x1250x18 @ $146.30)? Which of the two is nicer? And what is the difference between them "in the flesh"?
    Yes, but I didn't really see them - they were for Andy, who is going to take some pics I think.
    Regards, FenceFurniture

    COLT DRILLS GROUP BUY
    Jan-Feb 2019 Click to send me an email

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Age
    32
    Posts
    2,377

    Default

    Iíll take some pics of the birch this morning when I get a chance.

    Cheers,

    Andy

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Mobile Shed
    By Bushmiller in forum THE SHED
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 22nd Nov 2017, 11:13 AM
  2. Benches
    By rwbuild in forum WOODWORK - GENERAL
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 7th Aug 2013, 08:02 PM
  3. Shed Cabinets, bench and drawers
    By colbaby in forum THE SHED
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 3rd Apr 2013, 09:27 PM
  4. Benches on the GIS
    By SamMilo in forum Michael Storer Wooden Boat Plans
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 24th Aug 2010, 08:42 AM
  5. His and Hers benches
    By Flowboy in forum WOODWORK PICS
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 7th Jul 2006, 10:30 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •