Author Topic: mdf for raised panels?  (Read 6490 times)

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Offline HowardH

  • Posts: 1165
mdf for raised panels?
« on: April 23, 2007, 10:58 AM »
I recently posted a thread about needing a router table or shaper to build new cabinet doors for my kitchen cabinets.  Presuming I have that accomplished pretty soon ( I hope so!), I have another question.  These doors are going to be painted white.  Would it be feasible or recommended to use mdf for the raised panels and then use a good hardwood, ie. cherry or maple for the rails and stiles?  My thinking is the MDF wouldn't have any grain and thus would paint perfectly smooth.  I want the R & S to be wood so that they can take more abuse.  Is this ever done?
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

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Offline Daviddubya

  • Posts: 704
  • Arizona, USA
Re: mdf for raised panels?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2007, 01:13 PM »
I would recommend using poplar for all of the material in the doors.  Poplar is a decent hardwood, although not as hard as many other species.  Poplar paints exceptionally well, which makes it a great choice for this project, IMHO.  The only time I see MDF used in cabinet doors is in really cheap cabinets.  It works, but it is not a good choice for a quality job, again IMHO.  Poplar paints every bit as smoothly as MDF in my experience.
David W. Falkenstein
in Cave Creek, AZ, USA

Offline HowardH

  • Posts: 1165
Re: mdf for raised panels?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2007, 03:09 PM »
Thanks, Dave.  If I use Poplar, or any other hardwood, I presume I'll have to glue up sections a bit wider than the width of the final dimensions of any particular panel and then rip to size, correct?  I have twelve inch planer and most of the doors will be narrower than that but the few that are wider, I'll plane in two sections, use my MFT to glue up the final two.  Might even have to throw in a domino or two.   :D
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

mft1080, Trion, MFT/3, T15, OF 1400, RO150FEQ, TS55, RTS400, CT22, CT36E, 800, 1080, 1400, 1900 rails, CSX, C18, Vecturo, Qwas dogs, Parf Dogs, Zobo's, Syslite Uni, CMS GE with router and jig saw plates.  Sawstop contractor.

Offline Lou Miller

  • Posts: 482
  • North Wales, PA
    • Some of my work
Re: mdf for raised panels?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2007, 03:22 PM »
Howard,

I actually like the idea of using MDF for the panels and hardwood for the R&S. I know I've done wood raised panels before that have moved considerably after they were painted. Might not be as much of an issue if you used an Oil or Alkyd based paint though. It'll certainly be quite a bit less in terms of material costs. If your paint job is good, nobody will ever know that the panels are MDF either.

FWIW, I don't like poplar for R&S in a kitchen. IMO, its too soft and gets dinged up fairly easy when used on kitchen cabinet doors. For something that will see less daily use, than I'll go with poplar, but not for a kitchen. Whenever I do paint grade, I always use #1 common hard maple. It paints up just as good, if not better, than poplar. Its also substantially harder and takes abuse much better. #1 common HM should cost about the same as FAS poplar will.

Offline clintholeman

  • Posts: 301
  • Sonoma County, CA
    • Clint Holeman, Fine Furniture and Cabinets
Re: mdf for raised panels?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2007, 04:01 PM »
I would recommend using poplar for all of the material in the doors.  Poplar is a decent hardwood, although not as hard as many other species.  Poplar paints exceptionally well, which makes it a great choice for this project, IMHO.  The only time I see MDF used in cabinet doors is in really cheap cabinets.  It works, but it is not a good choice for a quality job, again IMHO.  Poplar paints every bit as smoothly as MDF in my experience.

I agree with David.  Poplar is a very good material for doors - even the panels.  It really doesn't move much in my experience and paints to a nice finish.

One of the issues with MDF for me is dinging the edges/corners - and there is no way to fix it.  Additionally, MDF has a fair amount of formaldehyde, which I don't like to breathe.
Clint Holeman

clint@clintholeman.com
http://www.clintholeman.com

Offline HowardH

  • Posts: 1165
Re: mdf for raised panels?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2007, 05:45 PM »
There shouldn't be a problem with dinging corners since it would only be used as center panels.  Would I drill the 32mm hinge holes before I paint them or afterwards?
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

mft1080, Trion, MFT/3, T15, OF 1400, RO150FEQ, TS55, RTS400, CT22, CT36E, 800, 1080, 1400, 1900 rails, CSX, C18, Vecturo, Qwas dogs, Parf Dogs, Zobo's, Syslite Uni, CMS GE with router and jig saw plates.  Sawstop contractor.

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1854
  • NORFOLK,VA
Re: mdf for raised panels?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2007, 05:59 PM »
i've made doors with raise mdf panel and poplar r&s.but it is better to use mapple.i got a good deal on the poplar so that why i used it. the doors are still in good shape to this day.i made the doors for a built in with bookshelf.
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline Daviddubya

  • Posts: 704
  • Arizona, USA
Re: mdf for raised panels?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2007, 09:09 PM »
There shouldn't be a problem with dinging corners since it would only be used as center panels.  Would I drill the 32mm hinge holes before I paint them or afterwards?

I would do all of the drilling before painting.  If you do it after painting, you run the risk of dmaaging the paint in the drilling process.

I agree that maple would be a good wood to use, if the cost is comparable to poplar.
David W. Falkenstein
in Cave Creek, AZ, USA

Offline fcraven

  • Posts: 68
Re: mdf for raised panels?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2007, 06:58 PM »
I recently posted a thread about needing a router table or shaper to build new cabinet doors for my kitchen cabinets.  Presuming I have that accomplished pretty soon ( I hope so!), I have another question.  These doors are going to be painted white.  Would it be feasible or recommended to use mdf for the raised panels and then use a good hardwood, ie. cherry or maple for the rails and stiles?  My thinking is the MDF wouldn't have any grain and thus would paint perfectly smooth.

Howard, This sounds like too much fun, that being said. MDF is one of the most overrated prodcuts by carpenders.  I always get a kick out of "The painters like it because paints up real well"...Well.... That's not completely true. The smooth sides of MDF is sufficient to the task, But every cut edge, whether by saw, shaper, router, whatever, can be the worst product to paint--unless properly sealed. So you save labor on the flats (which are the least time consuming to sand) but you gain labor on the moulded edges, (which are the most time consuming to sand). And it's heavey, and it's annoying when it chips. But It's great for speakers.

My business parter (whom you may have met) hates the stuff--although recently he's found a primer that seems to work sufficiently to sooth some of his disdain. I'm not completely opposed to it, but I'm cautious.

Offline HowardH

  • Posts: 1165
Re: mdf for raised panels?
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2007, 05:40 PM »
Hey, Fred!  just saw your post.  Thanks for the advice.  I'm not going to let the difference in price between using MDF or gluing up hardwood determine what I need to do.  You guys always have an opinion so I have sort em all out!  I probably don't need more than 3 full sheets anyway to do the raised panels.  Of course, if go the HW route, I will need to go buy a good 3hp 15" planer.   ;D  That little HD Ryobi doesn't cut it, so to speak...at least not very smoothly.
Howard H
The Dallas Texas Festool Fanatic!

Mark Twain:  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a letter approving of it." "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."

mft1080, Trion, MFT/3, T15, OF 1400, RO150FEQ, TS55, RTS400, CT22, CT36E, 800, 1080, 1400, 1900 rails, CSX, C18, Vecturo, Qwas dogs, Parf Dogs, Zobo's, Syslite Uni, CMS GE with router and jig saw plates.  Sawstop contractor.