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Author Topic: Wood Choice  (Read 11303 times)

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Minwah

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Wood Choice
« on: July 03, 2002, 07:33:06 am »
I'm trying to decide what wood to use for my cabinet.  It seems a lot of people use MDF.  I guess this is fairly easy to work with, but is it strong enough, and does it have problems with warping?

Are there any other good choices?  I don't want to use chip board as I would imagine this to be a pig to work with.

Any advise would be great, thanks.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

Frobozz

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2002, 11:11:43 am »
I'm planning on using 3/4 finished plywood for the side-walls and parts of the rotary monitor mount, 5/8 finished plywood for most of the the front and rear panels and MDF for the control panel sections.  

I considered using lighter materials but then considered "Arcade  cabinets were built heavy for a reason..." and that was so they wouldn't be shoved around the floor by angry kids or furious game sessions.

I also considered using MDF, but having owned enough cheap furniture made from the stuff to watch how they deteriorate, I quickly decided against it.  This machine is going in my basement, and sometimes it can get a little humid down there.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2002, 11:48:10 am »
I think the main reason people uses MDF for their cabinets is because its not very expensive... Also.. if you paint it to a solid color, it'll show just that flat color and no wood patterns... (more like real arcade...)

I think plywood is stronger than MDF... but if you're getting the good plywood... places like Home Depot will sell 3/4 inch plywood (brich - the nice ones..) a 4 x 8 will cost you like $50.... MDF will probably cost 1/2 of that....

but if you want to make it with wood pattern, stain it and make it like furniture, plywood will look nicer...

you can check from the example pages... there are tons of beautiful cabs.... pick one which is closer to your "ideal" cab and start from there...  that should make it easier...  also check the old msgs on this board... a lot of things are already discussed... how to paint... how to cut... what to use... etc.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »
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Howard_Casto

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2002, 12:32:38 pm »
I'll agree with everything they said. :)  One thing about the plywood, there are various grades of plywood.  consturctions grade would look horrible but I used a mid-range in leu of furniture grade.  I got it on sale for 20$ a sheet and it turned out great!  It has a very subtle wood grain showing which actually looks quite nice.  

Anther thing.... frobozz is right about the control panels.... Try to lighten the load on them anyway possible.  I have a rather large panel made out of 3/4 plywood on all sides and I just about kill myself when I take it off.  I woudl suggest making the sides out of plywood and the top (and bottom if you need one)  out of mdf.  Of course if you use mdf for the top you going to HAVE to put a protective coating or some plexi over top of it as a spilled drink could cause major warping.  

But if you can afford it say away from mdf as much as possible.  MDF is a fancy word for sturdier pressed wood.  You know that stupid tv stand that bows down in the middle you bought at Walmart?  That thing is made out of low grade mdf.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

SirPoonga

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2002, 03:09:45 pm »
MDF is VERY strong.  It is fairly dense, that's why.
If you use MDF you will want to prime it with one or two coats of primer.  MDF soaks up moisture.  That way you soak it with a bunch of paint and it will resist humidity.

MDF is cheap.  like $12 for a 4'x8' sheet.
I used 2.5 sheets for my cabinet.
Luckily I had a half a sheet of MDF around from when I made my subwoofer.  Most subwoofers are made with MDF.  It is strong and dense so it is perfect for speaker boxes.  If you run a 300w 12" sub you know it can put alot of stress on the box.  Even my 80w 10" sub puts force on the joints.

If you haven't seen my cabinet
http://kevin.jonas.com/images/y_con1.jpg through y_con12.jpg
http://kevin.jonas.com/images/y_cab1.jpg through y_cab17.jpg
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

Minwah

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2002, 04:50:10 am »
Thanks for all the replies!

I do like the idea of MDF for the smooth finish, I don't really want a 'grain' showing if possible.

Maybe if I use MDF for the sides/front with an internal frame structure for added strength, and strong plywood inside for monitor shelf etc.

Hopefully if I prime/paint the MDF well warping shouldn't be a problem (?).  It is to be used in a house (normal room temp.).

Thanks again

Nice job SirPoonga btw.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

Howard_Casto

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2002, 09:06:33 pm »
If your going with mdf, then I would suggest laminating it.  I hate to disagree with sp but although mdf is strong, compared to plywood it's rather fragile.  I'm not saying your going to have structural problems, but lets say you bang into the corner of it with something heavy.  If it was plywood you'd get a nasty scratch in the paint and that's about it.  With mdf you might actually chip the corner off!  

Regarding your painting questions, in the short run you will be ok with just painting it, in the long run maybe not.  If you look at old arcade cabs that are made from pressed wood substances, 9 times out of 10 the bottom of the cab is damaged and rotting due to the fact that moisture is absorbed through the bottom. (This happens naturally, even in the best of environments.)  If you do paint it, take sp's example and paint it on thick. :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

Minwah

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2002, 02:36:38 am »
OK thanks for the advise.

Is there any way of hiding the wood grain finish of plywood?  Maybe using filler then sanding back?  I'm not sure what this would turn out like.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

JustMichael

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2002, 04:50:23 am »
You might try MDO (medium density overlay).  It is often called sign board.  It can have one or both side nice and smooth ready to accept paint.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

Minwah

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2002, 06:20:20 am »
Thanks, I'll see if I can find somewhere that sells it nearby.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

jelloslug

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2002, 06:29:47 am »
I would beg to differ about the strength of MDF.  MDF and particle board are not the same at all.  MDF is made of orented (sp?) fibers the same way paper is made.  Particle board is made of sawdust and glue.  MDF will not chip the the same way particle board will because particle board has the same strength in all directions, but MDF is made of layers (like plywood) and is stronger in one direction than another (like plywood).  I have used all 3 and particle board should not be used at all,  use plywood if you want to stain you cabinet but if you are going to laminate or paint use MDF.  Its cheaper, easier to cut, and very strong.  Cheap funiture is made of particle board, I have never seen any funature made of MDF.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

Minwah

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2002, 08:28:55 am »
I'm confused now.

Can anyone who's build an MDF cab a year or two ago say how there cab is lasting/wearing?

I certainly want my cab to last, as doing the woodwork once is going to be torture for me - I don't want to have to do it again  ;D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

jelloslug

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2002, 08:56:51 am »
Lets put it this way, particle board was designed as a floor underlayment that was heavy and would not squeek, ie.. not to make boxes out of.  MDF and MDO was designed for signs and cabinet makers, so it takes paint and laminate well and it holds screws well.  I have made a cabinet out of particle board and out of MDF.  I am about to trash the particle board one because the joints are starting to loosen.  The MDF cab is in perfect shape.  Its possable to build a cab out of particle board that will last forever but it would be easier to make a sturdy cab out of MDF or plywood.  Go to Home Depot and look at the MDF vs particle board and you will see the differance, buy a small piece of particle board, MDF, and plywood and see how each of them cut, put screws in each, hit them with hammers, then deside what you want to work with.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

SNAAAKE

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2002, 10:27:56 am »
man just go with PRELAMINATE WOOD.its very very good looking and i bet it will last over 10 years.i saw them on my local arcade and i thought i will make one myself..they are not that expensive.i bought 4x8 sheets for $25 each..thats cheap with having the laminate already.because laminate sheets alone cost like $28 each.the 4x8 onces.another detail,try  and finding black once.i bought white because my local lumber did not have any other color.i cant go anywhere because i have no car.i had to drag wood home all by myself.good luck..if you wanna see how the wood look..here

http://www.angelfire.com/space/myarcade/index.html

..i am not done yet..but you can atleast get an idea out of it..use scroll saw.NOT jigsaw because there will be very minor chiping.you cant really see in the picture.i made the whole thing out of $20 jigsaw and a free drill from my uncle..thats only me..you can make it 110% perfect looking if you use sharp tooth scroll saw...i am nearly done..i will post final site which i am working on now.but you can get idea from 1 picture..AGAIN THERE IS NOTHING TO DECIDE.MDF DID NOT LOOK RIGHT TO ME.the guy at my lumber told me that the mdf wont last very long after i told him what i was making and the difference was only like $9 a sheet...so dont think and starting building and in no time you will be playing.. ;D ;D
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

jelloslug

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2002, 01:13:37 pm »
Hey SNAAAAKE is that stuff formica or melamine?  If it melamine don't let the cut edges get wet cause it just particle board underneath.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

SNAAAKE

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2002, 03:36:02 pm »
jello slug,
i know it is particle board inside..its in the living room.the weather here is good.in our living room so nothing will ever happend.what is the difference between those.melamine and formica.i thought its the same stuff.isn't it? ???

also i choose this because it was cheap and easy..putting together laminate and wood aint my thang.it cost money too..and lots of work.so this is doin for me..
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

SirPoonga

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2002, 01:22:31 am »
Quote
I'm confused now.

Can anyone who's build an MDF cab a year or two ago say how there cab is lasting/wearing?

I certainly want my cab to last, as doing the woodwork once is going to be torture for me - I don't want to have to do it again
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

Howard_Casto

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2002, 02:53:09 am »
please whatever you do don't get the pre-laminated board as snake suggested... As he said it's partical board underneath, and so far the only thing we've all been in agreement over is the fact that particle board is worthless for cab building.  The laminate overtop definately makes it sturdier, but because the edges aren't sealed (and there's no easy way you can seal them) all it has to do is soak up a bit of water and it'll buckel and swell. Now I have seen pre-laminated mdf and other sturdier materials and those would all be a good choice, just be ready to pay for it as it's kind of expensive.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

1UP

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2002, 04:22:26 am »
I've been told that Melamine is a close second to MDF.  (This from Matt, the cabinet maker that posts from time to time)  It seems denser than regular particle board, definitely heavy to carry, and it goes thru blades and bits fast if they're not carbide!  I got the black melamine (hard to find!) and will be laminating the visible sides with the vertical grade Wilsonart in "Pac-Man" yellow (actually D341-60 Marigold.)

I'm going to mount it 3/4" off the ground on heavy casters with built-in brakes, so no moisture will be allowed to directly contact it.  Also, all open edges (including the bottom edges) will be lined with t-molding and black iron-on melamine edging.  It's not real humid where I live and I don't spill crap all over my furniture, so I'm hoping it will last awhile (all the melamine bookcases I have are still looking good 7-8 years later.)  Am I wrong?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

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SNAAAKE

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2002, 08:58:49 am »
iUP,
you are in my team,
weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee....
if you put melamine edgeing then it will last over 10 years..thats the least i am looking and i think we are both right....aren't we???

also the 5k pacman/galaga machine is made out of prelaminate stuff and some dedicated machines are made with same stuff..i well thought about this before i decided...its kinda heavy but wheels would do the trick...and its nowhere near as bad as regular particle board..its "PERFECT" from what i can see..only thing i am not happy about is that mine is white..it will get dirty and i gotta clean it. :-/
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

jelloslug

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2002, 07:18:49 pm »
Ok, here is what I know about melamine:  it is used on "better" quality pre-fab furiniture because of it impact resistance and scrubability (if you have white shelves in your kitchen cabinets chances are they are melamine), it is usually preapplied by a wood product manufacture but some large cabinet maker can make up there own pieces (it commanly used for the insides, shelves, and backs of inexpensive, to moderate priced custom cabinets).  It usually applied to a better grade particle board so unfinished edges are still suseptable to water damage, but you can buy 3/4" strips that can be applyed with an iron for finishing cut edges.  From my personal experance it cuts well but will still soak up water, it had a nice smooth, hard surface, but formica is better.  Good for its price, but don't expect it to be a bullet proof as formica on plywood or MDF.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

SNAAAKE

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2002, 11:58:18 pm »
WELL SAID JELLOSLUG ;D

you are right..its better quality particle board..not the cheap once..and the edging is the best..but molding is stilll better...good luck to anyone who is trying this wood ;D.it was real easy to work with...i finished my cab in like 2 weeks..
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

botez

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2002, 11:21:44 am »
Quote
I've been told that Melamine is a close second to MDF.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

1UP

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Re: Wood Choice
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2002, 01:59:35 am »
Quote
One question: You mentioned putting the 3/4" strips of melamine and t-molding edges of the melamine.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 pm by 1026619200 »

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