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MDF and Particleboard Portales NM

Composite wood has a few significant drawbacks: it’s heavy, easily damaged and not very stiff. In addition, it doesn’t hold screws as well as solid wood, swells when it gets wet and creates clouds of obnoxious sawdust. Particleboard is fine for utilitarian work, but MDF is preferred for furniture projects.

Portales Ace Hardware
(575) 356-6711
227 S Main Ave
Portales, NM
 
PGP, Inc.
505-762-6654
1729 W. 21st Clovis, NM, 88101
Clovis, NM
 
Lowe's
(575) 742-4000
3601 North Prince Street
Clovis, NM
Hours
M-SA 7 am - 9 pm
SU 9 am - 8 pm

Furrow's Home Lumber Inc.
(575) 763-4437
1201 E 1st Street
Clovis, NM
 
Burns Hardware Do it center
(575) 769-2528
1511 N Prince St
Clovis, NM
 
Fastenal- Clovis
505-763-9335
1306 State Rd. 209 Clovis, NM, 88101
Clovis, NM
 
LOWE'S OF CLOVIS, NM
505 742-4000
3601 NORTH PRINCE STREET CLOVIS, NM, 88101
Clovis, NM
 
Triangle Ace Hardware
(575) 762-3301
2400 N Prince St, North plains mall
Clovis, NM
 
Hacienda Home Centers
(575) 769-2651
200 East Brady Avenue
Clovis, NM
 
North Plains Mall
(575) 769-4700
2811 N Prince St
Clovis, NM
Store Hours
Sears Stores
Store Type
Sears Stores
Hours
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:10-21
Sun:12-18
Store Features
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:10-21
Sun:12-18

MDF and Particleboard

MDF and Particleboard

How two versatile woods can be both a blessing and a curse.

by Karen Nakamura

Cheap, plain and definitely not wood. That’s how many woodworkers describe particleboard and MDF (medium-density fiberboard), but think these words instead: inexpensive, uniform and stable. 

• Inexpensive. MDF and particleboard panels run $25 to $35 a sheet (oversized at 49 in. by 97 in. so you can cut off a dinged edge).

• Uniform. Collectively called composite wood, MDF and particleboard panels don’t have the irregularities of veneer-core plywood, such as voids on the inside and patches on the outside.

• Stable. Composite wood doesn’t shrink and swell across the grain or warp to the same degree as solid wood.

Composite wood has a few significant drawbacks: it’s heavy, easily damaged and not very stiff. In addition, it doesn’t hold screws as well as solid wood, swells when it gets wet and creates clouds of obnoxious sawdust. Particleboard is fine for utilitarian work, but MDF is preferred for furniture projects. MDF is smoother, takes better detail, holds screws better and paints very well once its edges are sealed. Whichever one you choose, use only carbide cutters, because the binders in the wood are very abrasive. Even carbide will wear more quickly than normal. Here we’ll only cover the basics, but a wealth of free technical information on different grades of composite wood is available from The Composite Wood Council. You can download entire pamphlets at www.pbmdf.com or call (301) 670-0604.

MDF takes a much crisper edge than particleboard. MDF is made of very small wood fibers, almost like flour, while particleboard is made from larger, coarser fibers. Particleboard has a tendency to chip out when routed. If you want sharply defined edges with particleboard, glue on a solid wood strip.


Man, this stuff is heavy! Projects made from MDF and particleboard can weigh a ton. A full sheet of 3/4-in. MDF is 97 lbs. A sheet of particleboard typically weighs 85 lbs. A sheet of veneer-core birch plywood, by comparison, comes in at 60 lbs. Extra weight means joints in moveable furniture have to be extra strong.


MDF and particleboard are extremely flat. They’re perfect for veneering because there are no lumps or ripples to show through extra-thin sheets of veneer. Glue veneer on both sides to keep the panel from distorting.


It may be flat, but it’s not stiff. Look familiar? MDF and particleboard shelves are notorious for drooping, even from their own weight, unless they have additional support. Shelves that are 10-in. deep should be no more than 24-in. long. 


MDF’s thickness is usually right on the money. Unlike plywood, which is generally undersized, MDF and particleboard often fit right into standard-sized grooves.

Click here to read the rest of the article from American Woodworker