Boards for wardrobes and cabinets.

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The Otters

New member
21 Nov 2023
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Boards for wardrobes and cabinets.
Dear hive mind, I am looking for some advice on making some wardrobes and cupboards for my home.
In the past I have used MDF for the carcasses and then painted them.
Being honest, I can't stand using MDF any more and want to look at something different.

I have looked at Egger Boards, but I cannot get an accurate price for the sheets.
Speaking to Lathams, they said that I need to open an account with them.
I am East Mids based and I would have thought that there would be plenty of suppliers.

The plan is to use 18mm carcass with a 9mm back sheet rebated in, and shelves fitted with dominos.
My initial thought is to use a chipboard type oak laminate.
However I would be really keen to hear your advice and where suggested materials can be purchased.

My background is in property construction so I am pretty handy with construction timber but limited experience with sheet cabinet making.
I have about 4 months between construction projects and the Mrs is badgering me to remodel parts of our house and so this is an ideal opportunity for me to do something that I will enjoy and be for our benefit.

Many thanks for your input.
T. O.
Try here....I use them regularly!
They have 2 or 3 depot's and I'm sure they will be able to give you some prices.

18mm & 8mm MFC Egger boards vary in price depending on the colour, finish and texture of the board.
They are normally supplied in uncut sheets of 2800mm x 2070mm.....They also sell matching edging, both glued or unglued.
Wonderful thank you for the link, I will contact them on Monday to see if the can help.

Are there any other boards other than Egger I should look into?
Is Chipboard the way forward or is an MDF Core better (Not with standing I am no fan of MDF). I have thought of using Birch ply, but I am not mad keen on painting it.

My intention is to face up the edges with a timber face frame.
Are there any other boards other than Egger I should look into?

Decormax also sell Kronospan and Unilin sheets, who are a couple of other manufacturers of MFC and MRMDF sheet material.

The MRMDF sheets tend to machine better and edge finish a bit easier than MFC, but the MRMDF sheets are not as widely available in as many colours & finishes as the MFC sheets are......Also, the MRMDF sheets are significantly higher in cost for the equivalent sized sheets.
I am only an occasional user for projects but am a complete convert to using a cutting service.

There seem to be.a number of these - I have seen Cutwights highly recommended.

They offer a very wide range and include board prices on their website - I cannot say how keen these prices are (as the OP says it can be difficult to get clarity on other distributors’ prices), but they don’t seem unreasonable.

The value of getting everything delivered cut to size and individually labelled up is considerable though.

If your capping it why not a good quality plywood. I got some really good plywood recently equal plys dark hardwood!
Mdf will give you a sturdier construction.
Mfc usually comes in very large board sizes that are very awkward to handle (2800x2070 or similar) and is very heavy, and also a lot of panel saws aren’t capable of processing it. Just something to think about. For private or personal jobs I would likely order from cutwrights, or if you can find a local cut and edge service. It’s more expensive to cover them cutting to size, but it’s easier to handle, and if it’s not right for whatever reason it’s their problem. I also have often found it springs and releases tension on the first rip, so for consistency I usually rip oversize, then rip again..
Xylocleaf is either another cheaper manufacturer (or product line, not sure which)
if using mfc, check out comformat screws and the appropriate drill bits. They offer a very sturdy construction.
Another consideration is glueing, if using mfc I would reccomend some kind of decent pu glue (jowat) which is a pain to clean off (tape up joints with shiny tape for fizz out)
I would also design tall cabinets (wardrobe or similar) so they have at least one fixed shelf, preferably somewhere near the middle as the sides of the cabinet will flop around and belly in the middle. Can be mitigated by pushing cabinets hard against each other, and packed hard off walls on the outer edges.
Also consider ordering the correct euro screws for hinges, runners etc, or the Blum hinges are orderable with the litte rubber plugs.
Mfc can also be very variable in board thickness, I’ve had anything from just shy of 18 to just shy of 20 in the same batch..
if you don’t have a scoring blade, a sharp triple chip blade is your new best friend.
Maybe also consider buying a saker tool for trimming and applying a roundover to the edgebanding if you are using it. If not, consider how you are going to flush up your hardwood lipping, as you can’t sand down to flush as it will damage the mfc.
In my experience most glue will clean off mfc with acetone if it’s not gone off too bad, but do a test first !
If you are making drawer boxes from mfc, also consider that lots of popular under mount runners will require additional trimming of the thickness of the drawer side under the height of the drawer base, as 19mm is too thick !
And finally. The wood effect boards are generally quite plasticy looking, usually better if you spend more (egger) Arguably fine enough for the inside or a cabinet, but just something to consider.
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Is the facing on the Egger Boards a melamine. If so then how much like "real" wood does it look, or does it give the effect of a totally flat and synthetic factory produced plastic surface.
If this is the case then aren't you going to end up with a diy shed appearance fitted wardrobe, instead of the finely crafted hand painted bespoke built in you are wishing to produce.
I guess this one is all down to personal taste and the aesthetics of what you are looking for.

Hi EribaMotters
You are quite right in what you say, I am worries about the flat look as well, hence why I am using a facing piece, sanded and painted in a different colour to the oak panels. I also intend to make dovetail drawers from wood as that would be the part you interact with the most.
I love the idea of making them out of birch ply, and will look at the cost difference.

Thank you so much for your detailed response, it is very much appreciated.
I am going to investigate using MDF and Birch Ply from what you have said.
My concern is spending the money on the Egger boards and feeling a little miffed from small chips etc that are hard to address.
I am definitely thinking about using someone like cutwrights as I only have a small shop and making a full size mockup was hard work and more than a little frustrating.
My intention is to make 5 x 600 units that are 1800 high, with them all fixed together, having a shelf towards the top and a two draw pack at the base. That should hopefully give the rigidity I am looking for.
I may make the doors from MDF or Ply. Not sure yet.

I finished renovating a property this year and had a local joinery company make the fitted cupboards in the bedrooms and the shelving and doors for an airing cupboard.
They were flimsy and bowed, I was pretty disappointed with them, especially as the manufacturer I had worked with for years and always respected them.
From now on, I would like to make my own quality units that I am proud of.
After all when I am selling a property, its me who has to face up to the purchaser and address the issues.
So this is the first exciting step!!!

If anyone else has any ideas, I am all ears!
Otters, early in the year I finished the making and fitting of the built in furniture at our new build bungalow.
I used acrylic eggshell finished tulip/poplar for the frameworks, oiled oak for bookcase shelving and worksurface top, unfinished beech for slatted shelving in the wardrobes, MR MDF for the outer carcases finished in acrylic eggshell and acrylic varnished birch and some poplar plywood for the exposed internals of the carcases. Hanging rails are in 3/4" galvanised gas barrel [1" outside diameter] It does not bow.

International decorative surfaces are good for all sorts of composite panels, you can use your Jewsons account as all the same group.

Some of the wood effect MFC & MFMDF panels that are available now, have a very good lifelike finish.
Some of the "structured" finish boards have an almost 3D look about them.

Obviously, a real timber finish is preferable for a lot of projects, but modern MFC and MFMDF are ideal for kitchen & bedroom cabinet's due to there resilience to wear and tear. .......So long as the correct construction techniques and hardware are used , of course!