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What is MDF?

MDF is medium density fiberboard. It is created by using heat, pressure, and glue to fuse together wood fiber. This sheet material is easy to work with, yet very strong. Because it uses recycled wood it is also environmentally friendly. There are different grades of MDF, from low density to high density. High density fiberboard, also known as hardboard, is made with a lot of heat and pressure creating a stronger finish. Low density fiberboard, also known as particle board, is made by smaller pieces of wood fused together. This makes it cheaper than higher density MDF, but it is also harder to work with and easier to chip and break. It is the middle ground of these two. Great cost, strong, and versatile. 

Best Projects for MDF

MDF board is typically used for furniture making, cabinetry, and molding. In order to make it more appealing MDF usually has a laminate or veneer applied to give it the look of real wood. Because of the smoothness it can be easily painted and shaped how you need it for whatever project you are making. 

Working with MDF

When working with MDF you can use most any power tool to cut through, but a carbide blade is better. The glue in it is known to dull blades. It is extremely porous and will need to be primed before painting. First, use a fine grit sandpaper, then wipe away all the dust. Use a solvent based primer and apply at least two coats. When it comes to painting you should stay away from standard emulsion. This can look patchy. Water based paints can also be problematic as they might ruin the MDF. Acrylic, oil based, and latex paints are the most suitable. You will also need to apply a finish. Another thing we recommend is sanding lightly between each coat of primer and paint.

Need more woodworking ideas, tips, and news? Visit more of Byrd Tool’s blogs.

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