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Author Topic: pre-laminated board vs high grade plywood  (Read 8490 times)

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thumbninja

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pre-laminated board vs high grade plywood
« on: September 11, 2004, 04:22:36 pm »
First of all, this is my first post!

I've been lurking for about 2 weeks now, and I'm starting to form my plan. I can't start the woodworking for at least 2 months, maybe more.

I was looking in my local Home Depot at the pre-laminated board ($26 a pop x 2) and I was fairly underwhelmed. My plan is to do heavy paint work and sealant when it's all done, so I'm thinking maybe the pre-lammed wood would be redundant.

What do you think?

Tailgunner

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Re:pre-laminated board vs high grade plywood
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2004, 07:07:36 pm »
Welcome to the madness. :D

Since you'll be painting I wouldn't bother with the pre laminated board. Paint doesn't stick to laminate very well. Plain MDF would be a better choice, though I would paint it with an oil or lacquer based paint.

I can't find the thread, but someone mentioned paper faced plywood as an alternative to MDF. This might be a workable solution for you as the paper would save you tons of sanding while being less expensive than veneered plywood. It's a bit of a specialty product, (read: Lowes/HD don't carry it) but most real lumber yards could get it for you if they don't have any.

Mameotron

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Re:pre-laminated board vs high grade plywood
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2004, 03:21:44 am »
I don't know how to link to another thread, so I've just copied the part you might need.  Hope this helps!!



It seems like a lot of people are buildng cabinets using MDF.  I understand that it is easy to cut, rout, etc., but the stuff is really heavy, doesn't hold screws well, and is subject to deterioration from water and humidity.  I can't imagine building a cabinet that I wanted to last a long time out of MDF.

I suggest that you use MDO plywood.  This is a plywood with a paper covering.  Man, you just can't beat this when you are ready to paint.  The paper surface is really smooth so you don't need to sand it, and you don't even need to prime it.  The paper keeps the wood from soaking up the paint.
Like all other plywood, it is a little more difficult to work than MDF, but it makes up for that in every other aspect.  Someone wrote in to Norm Abrams (master carpenter for This Old House and The New Yankee Workshop) asking about using MDF to build a corner cabinet for his dining room.  This is what Norm said.
(The carcass is referring to the outside housing of the cabinet).

"Making carcasses from MDF would be challenging. The carcass would be heavy and the material doesn't hold screws very well and would have to be painted very well to avoid humidity problems.
MDO (medium density overlay) is a tough paper covered plywood product well suited for the corner cabinet. It can be fastened with screws, nails, glue etc.
MDO is a quality plywood product designed for the outdoors. Sign-makers use this stuff to make weatherproof signs.  It may be found in some home centers and lumber yards, (if they don't have it they can order it). You're more likely to find it at a plywood dealer.  A perfectly reasonable alternative to MDO would be good quality AC fir plywood."

Now, I know that many of you have built cabinets with MDF and have had great experiences with it.  I'm not saying you're wrong, I believe that whatever works best for you is the right material to use.  If you would rather use MDF because it is easier to work, and you're not concerned with the moisture related problems, I say go for it.

But I would advise someone who has never built anything before to go with MDO plywood.  I think you'll be happier with the results, and hopefully this will keep you going in this hobby.

Wizard of DelRay

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Re:pre-laminated board vs high grade plywood
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2004, 04:28:13 am »
If you would rather use MDF because it is easier to work, and you're not concerned with the moisture related problems, I say go for it.

But I would advise someone who has never built anything before to go with MDO plywood.

If you're saying that the reason people choose MDF is for it's ease of use, then why would someone who has never built anything want to start with something more difficult?

Now you're right about MDF getting wet.  But, most people have their cabinets painted well enough to keep that from happening.

Stuff like this will always be debated.  Kinda like the which paint to use thread (water vs. oil).  From what you wrote, though, MDO sounds like a good choice (but like you said, MDF would be easier).

Mameotron

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Re:pre-laminated board vs high grade plywood
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2004, 05:37:19 am »

If you're saying that the reason people choose MDF is for it's ease of use, then why would someone who has never built anything want to start with something more difficult?


Because I think the end results will be better.  It might be a little harder at first, but it's worth it.



Stuff like this will always be debated.  Kinda like the which paint to use thread (water vs. oil).  From what you wrote, though, MDO sounds like a good choice (but like you said, MDF would be easier).

Yes, that's true.  Everyone has their own particular way of doing things.  Hopefully these discussions will inspire people in ways we haven't even thought of.