Author Topic: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?  (Read 4605 times)

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Offline pyleg

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Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« on: January 06, 2016, 02:03 PM »
No, this is not Ikea. The price was about 4X Ikea on a similar type product (although the pics of the one I bought are substancially better looking). I am not naming the company because I'm discussing what to do with them.

I took delivery last week on a bed.  After unwrapping, I discovered the headboard, footboard, rails, and centerbeams were veneered fiberboard. The edgeband veneer had delaminated at one spot and there were gaps, bulges, and small chips elsewhere on the seams of the edgebanding.  I confirmed with a Customer Service person the components were MDF. 

The product description included the phrase "wooden frame." I understood the components under the walnut veneer were not going to be solid wood, but figured they might be ply and certainly didn't even think of MDF as bed rail material. 

I'm preparing to to discuss with them. The pieces aren't insubstantial, but I've got doubt about MDF as a bed frame material no matter how thick. 

So...I guess I'm looking for thoughts on definitions of wooden and the suitability of MDF for this purpose as I decide whether to seek replacement of parts or return. 


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Offline Holmz

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Re: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2016, 02:14 PM »
The Mrs like MDF shelves, however the bow in them aways distresses me.

Technically saw dust comes from wood, so I suppose a wooden frame can include sawdust and glue... If you do not like it, I would say return it.

If it is a Scandinavian design bed where the MDF is "boxed" and is rigid, then those designs are decades old. I have one in a teak veneer from the old country that is nice. Bt is was a quality piece and no bulges nor delaminations, and it has been moved around a lot.

Offline Alex

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Re: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2016, 03:47 PM »
So...I guess I'm looking for thoughts on definitions of wooden and the suitability of MDF for this purpose as I decide whether to seek replacement of parts or return.

Technically and legally MDF is a wood product so I think anybody can market it as wood without repercussion.

As for the suitability of MDF for this purpose, I can only say that over here in Europe MDF is used a lot for beds and furniture. I have a 4000 euro bedroom set made out of MDF, inherited it from my mother, and it has been good for over 25 years now. Not a dent on it and still looks as new. The 2 person bed boxsprings are not MDF though, so the MDF doesn't carry any real load.


Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2016, 12:37 AM »
If it looks bad now, it will not get better with time. Mine is also ~30 years old and looks great.

Offline pyleg

  • Posts: 37
Re: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2016, 07:07 AM »
Truth be told, nearly all of the veneer defects are restricted to the footboard. 

I was wondering what you meant by "boxed" MDF--does this mean completely encased in veneer?  That is the case here.  This is am American designed item (with obvious modernist, including Scandinavian, influences).  The veneered pieces were manufactured in a Baltic country. 

I appreciate the reassurance about the principle of MDF rails.  I still think "wooden" to describe MDF without putting "MDF" in the specs is questionable, but my concerns are practical rather than philosophical. 

Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2016, 07:54 AM »
"Boxed" in this case is 2 foot long prices with 2x 4" pieces that form a 4x4 box in the structure. That makes it strong in two ordinate directions as well as stiffer in torsion.

Offline RussellS

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Re: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2016, 02:21 PM »
The Mrs like MDF shelves, however the bow in them aways distresses me.

Yep.  I have several white melamine MDF bookshelves around the house.  Several of the shelves in a few of the bookcases have a little bow in the middle.  Its not a huge bow, but its not straight.  All are a little over 2 foot long and 5/8" thick and a foot deep.  Does not seem to effect performance.  But I notice the bow every time I look at the shelves.  And think, "That's not right."

Offline deepcreek

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Re: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2016, 09:54 AM »
I personally don't think that veneered MDF is "wooden" but it may pass a legal definition.

Next time look for the term "Solid Wood".

The big name in Houston furniture is "Mattress Mack" who offers "Solid wood furniture made right here in America with no back-back-back order slip.  Buy it today and we'll deliver it tonight.  Gallery Furniture saves you money!!!".

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Offline Holmz

  • Posts: 4010
Re: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2016, 11:24 AM »
The Mrs like MDF shelves, however the bow in them aways distresses me.

Yep.  I have several white melamine MDF bookshelves around the house.  Several of the shelves in a few of the bookcases have a little bow in the middle.  Its not a huge bow, but its not straight.  All are a little over 2 foot long and 5/8" thick and a foot deep.  Does not seem to effect performance.  But I notice the bow every time I look at the shelves.  And think, "That's not right."

The Mrs and I got a Sam Maloof house tour yesterday in Rancho Cucamunga. One of his book shelves was loaded with books and I thought, I see a 2-mm bow in that solid wood on his 40+ year old shelf...  [cool]

If it was the MDF at home, it would be an inch.  [embarassed]

Offline jonny round boy

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Re: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2016, 11:51 AM »
Next time look for the term "Solid Wood".

That's all very well & good, but here in the UK there is a fairly big furniture company that advertises on the TV, along the lines of "it's all solid oak, no veneer here". Great, I hear you cry - but it's the cheapest, crappest, fastest-grown oak you've ever seen, and most of it's only fit for burning. They get it into customer's heads that "if it's solid wood it must be good" - which it isn't. It's mass-produced junk, and massively overpriced.

I'd rather have decent quality veneer than rubbish solid wood anyday!!!
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Offline pyleg

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Re: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2016, 02:32 PM »
Thanks to respondents. The company apologized for "defects and substitutions" and initially offered a refund or exchange.  Given the inconvenience of return, I negotiated an exchange of the defective footboard and a discount on the whole thing.  It is still more than I might have paid had I known it was MDF, but them's the breaks.  I need a new bed and spending four hours off work to deal with the freight company is unappealing. 

I was more curious on people's thoughts on the meaning of the word "wood"/"wooden" in this context than "legality." I recognize there is room for dispute on definitions, but to me "wood" (as the bed frame is described by some retailers) or "wooden" (on the manufacturer's site) connotes something more than MDF. How much more is debatable.  Quality, as may or may not be superior with wood given variations in design and material, should be dictated by the price I paid.  Hopefully, I have a "good" MDF bed!

Offline TSO Products

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Re: Is veneered MDF "wooden"?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2016, 08:43 PM »
having moved in the past 2 years and buying some furniture pieces has shown me that it is best to assume that furniture is MDF or particle board with some kind of (visually amazing) surface treatment to look like something it really is not. If the supplier leads you to believe it is something other or better, then have them show you.

I have seen widely varying quality of "wood products" coming out of China. MDF from Medite in Medford USA is not the same as MDF from somewhere in the PRC.
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