MDF for Raised Panel application?
#11
  Re: (...)
I'm adding a raised panel trim for the ends of a bookcase I'm building. The bookcase will be painted, so I'm wondering if MDF would be satisfactory for the machining required to make a raised center panel.
By the way what would the best wood for the rails and stiles?
Hammer to fit. Paint to Match!
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#12
  Re: MDF for Raised Panel application? by Spokaneman (I'm adding a raised ...)
I'm sure others will chime in but I've used mdf for raised panels that were painted and they have held up with no issues. Used a combination of BIN primer and Benjamin Moore Advance paint. Used poplar for the rails/stiles.
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#13
  Re: MDF for Raised Panel application? by Spokaneman (I'm adding a raised ...)
Mdf is a good choice. Will need to sand the cut edges after you prime but they will turn out fine. Use poplar for the stiles and rails.
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#14
  Re: MDF for Raised Panel application? by Spokaneman (I'm adding a raised ...)
I'd choose soft maple over poplar just because of it's hardness.

On the janke scale

Oak 1290
Soft maple 950
Poplar 540
Alaskan's for Global Warming
Eagle River AK
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#15
  Re: MDF for Raised Panel application? by Spokaneman (I'm adding a raised ...)
Just keep in mind a few things when machining the MDF. The dust will be incredible...plan to handle it some manner. It's fairly tough on router bits, small bites and slow feeds might help. When you paint it, the cut surfaces will nee something to make them as smooth as the field....the BIN mentioned above should seal it nicely (sand it smooth), though there's a big range of items used to do that.
I started with absolutely nothing. Now, thanks to years of hard work, careful planning, and perseverance, I find I still have most of it left.
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#16
  Re: MDF for Raised Panel application? by Spokaneman (I'm adding a raised ...)
Quote:

The bookcase will be painted, so I'm wondering if MDF would be satisfactory for the machining required to make a raised center panel.




If satisfactory is all you're after, then yes, MDF will fit the bill.


I made a built in chest of drawers in my sons closet years back with MDF drawer fronts with a routed edge creating a raised middle section. It was easy enough to route however, the dust was unbearable. Despite my best efforts it was everywhere.

Then I had to sand, prime, sand again and then paint. That's four steps. Too much labor for a middlin' result.

When it came time to do the same thing for my daughters closet ... I used Poplar. Milled with considerably less dust and was immediately ready for paint.
~Dan.
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#17
  Re: MDF for Raised Panel application? by Spokaneman (I'm adding a raised ...)
Spokaneman said:


I'm adding a raised panel trim for the ends of a bookcase I'm building. The bookcase will be painted, so I'm wondering if MDF would be satisfactory for the machining required to make a raised center panel.
By the way what would the best wood for the rails and stiles?




I'd vote for poplar also.

MDF machines very well. There is no denying that.

That said, there will be dust - a LOT of it. It will be very fine, sticky, and extremely irritating to your eyes, nose, and throat. You'll still be discovering it years later.

Your router bits will get smoking hot and take a lot of abuse, especially removing as much material as you will.

I wouldn't do it again. I've done it before and I generally avoid MDF unless I'm doing very simple machining (small chamfers and the like).
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#18
  Re: MDF for Raised Panel application? by Spokaneman (I'm adding a raised ...)
Made a dozen raised panels with MDF, and will never do it again.
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#19
  Re: MDF for Raised Panel application? by Spokaneman (I'm adding a raised ...)
Hi,

I used MDF for the painted raised panel on the desk below. I would do it again, it came out fine and has held up well. This desk is about ten years old and still looks new.

Raised the panel on the table saw, with the panel standing on edge. I clamp a wide piece of wood to the rip fence for support, and have a large feather board raised up high enough to push the flat part of the panel against the fence.

As others say, it is dusty stuff but if you are only making two or four panels it should be manageable. If I am routing MDF and it is warm enough I'll try and do it outside. I wear a dust mask even outside.

It takes paint well. I cannot recall if I filled the raised part of the panels before painting to make it smoother. Used whatever interior primer and paint (likely Zinsserr and Benjamin Moore) I had laying around. I also put a coat of water based Minwax Polycrylic over the paint.

The painted part of the cabinet is made from seven different kinds of wood - all scraps I was trying to use up. Poplar will take paint very well. I gave up on pine years ago for painted projects and now use poplar instead.

Mike

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#20
  Re: MDF for Raised Panel application? by Spokaneman (I'm adding a raised ...)
I made raised panels from MDF but bought a specific type of MDF that was designed specifically to be machined. It machined well, and painted well. I don't rember what the MDF was but it was a finer particle through the whole panel.

Oh, and yes lots and lots of dust.
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