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are there differant quality grades of mdf

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micks

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hi all some time ago i purchased a fire surround from b&Q , as far as i can tell this is made from mdf, the surround has some fairly intricate routing all joints near nigh perfect.

having purchased a sheet of mdf from b&Q 12mm thick i believe , used some offcuts with my modest router and cutters to see what router profiles i could produce overlo ,ogee etc.

i found if i drill ,saw ,route the mdf it just seems to be made off cardbord for want of a better explination and getting a descent edge or finish seems to be poor,

bearing in mind that the fire surround is factory made ,no doubt using expensive cutters, cnc machine etc.

i wonder if there are differant (grades) of mdf i have seen furniture grades of mdf mentioned but normally pertain to usa websites,

are there better quality grades of mdf avaliable if so where to purchase??

or do the likes of b&Q/wickes only stock poorer quality mdf vertions.

thank you
 

handyman

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Hello Micks, you are right, there are many different grades for MDF and even between manufacturers. Personally, I would steer clear of any of the sheds to buy anything of quality, as their whole premise is to buy on price to maximise profits. Quality is lower down on their list.

When I use MDF, which is not very often, I prefer to use either Caber, Medite or Scandia as there is usually consistency in their processes.

MDF is usually graded in board weights and densities. Some manufacturers make ultra lightweight like Meditelite or Medite30 (which is 30% lighter).

My preference has been Caber because it is tight and dense and can produce a good sanded edge, should you wish to leave MDF exposed, UGH!

You can also get MDF which has low or no Urea formaldehyde, as there are concerns about the danger to health this adhesive, used in fibre board manufacture, can cause, not only in the workshop, but subsequently in installations.

Best places to buy sheet material is from a sheet timber specialist as they will keep good quality stock. Downside is it won't be cheap and they may not sell single sheets, but it will be right.

If you ever get the chance to visit a plant making MDF it is something else in terms of scale of woodworking. Totally automated production a quarter of a mile long! Log in one end, boards out the other, cut, packed and stacked.

Handyman
 

jasonB

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Most of the sheds do a "contract" grade of MDF whick is OK on the faces but as soon as you want to finish the edges or route moulded edges it is just too fluffy, almost as bad as ultralight MDF

I tend to use MR MDF (moisture resistant) as it has a much tighter structure and needs little work before and during painting. It's only a couple of pound a sheet more than standard but well worth the extra

You will have to get this from a panel specialist, let us know where abouts you are and we can sugest a source. Look for brands such as Medite or Caber.

As to the different grades theres:

Ultralight
lightweight
Standard
High Density (HD) used for CNC routing of "raised" panel doors etc
Moisture resistant (MR)
Exterior
Fire Resistant (FR)
Zero formaldihide (ZF)
Flexi
Flooring quality (FQ)
Veneered

And probably a couple of ones I've missed

Jason
 

micks

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thanks all you have confirmed my suspicions on the grades of mdf that are avaliable, i find that what i have does indeed give a (fluffy ) edge, and does not appear to be as dence in structure as my examples,

fire place surround.

i live in watford ,hertfordshire ,but have no transport to be able to pick up some descent mdf.

my original idea of purchasing a router was to make some window sill cappings say 48" x 4" with rounded edges just to see if i could produce something modest.

could someone recomend which actual grade of mdf would be suitable and give descent edge, not too bothered about mdf being a little more expensive, as i might have another go at making a router table etc.

thanks again
 

Jake

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handyman":28dylas1 said:
Hello Micks, you are right, there are many different grades for MDF and even between manufacturers. Personally, I would steer clear of any of the sheds to buy anything of quality, as their whole premise is to buy on price to maximise profits. Quality is lower down on their list.

When I use MDF, which is not very often, I prefer to use either Caber, Medite or Scandia as there is usually consistency in their processes.
I was surprised the other day in my local B&Q, while queuing for the wall saw to rip some birch ply in half so it would be easier to heft up onto my roofrack, to see that the massive stack of 18mm MDF they keep next to the saw had "Medite Premier" printed on the sides of the boards. I was expecting "No-name Substandard".
 

micks

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thanks jake will have another look in local b&Q re medite mdf
 

jasonB

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If you are using it for window boards then definately go for MR, thats what all the commercially available architectural mouldings are made from such as skirtings, dados, architraves etc.

You can actually buy 25mm MDF window board from most decent timber merchants which may save you the problem of getting an 8x4 of 25mm mDF on the bus/train :D

Jason
 

cutting42

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micks":14watt3l said:
thanks jake will have another look in local b&Q re medite mdf
Hey Micks

I live in Watford as well, you might want to try Watford Timber on the Olds Approach business park nr Tolpits lane. They have a top selection of regular wood and will certainly be able to get better graded MDF for you. They deliver as well.

Press Here
 
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