View Full Version : The right wood material for the job
03-01-2001, 09:25 AM
I purchased some MDF for another project and am now considering using some remaing pieces in the construction of a workbench. I have seen videos of workbench construction using MDO. Is MDF a good substitute material for this type of application? I don't want to have to replace the workbench because the MDF wasn't solid enough to anchor the screws. Is there a web site or other resource where I can find what wood materials are best suited for particular projects, and the strengths and weaknesses of various materials?
03-01-2001, 02:17 PM
MDF is fine for any parts of a workbench that don't carry a structural load. It makes for a fine benchtop. Just laminate a couple of pieces to make it thicker. In addition, I usually attach a 1/4 piece of hardboard to the top with screws. When the top gets messed up I just install another piece of hardboard.
MDF is good for drawer fronts, cabinet doors, and shelves as long as the shelves don't carry to high a load.
I just finished a new workbench last weekend. I used 3/4" MDF for the top (2 layers laminated totaling 1.5") and the doors. I painted all the case and doors but (obviously) not the top. It's 10 ft long, so I also added biscuits to the end-joints on the top so it would have not chance of seperating. A little overkill here, but the bench is solid as a rock. There is no way it can be moved, so it will stay with the house if I ever sell. Keep that in mind. You HAVE to have help hefting the 3/4 MDF on and off the tablesaw or even moving full sheets around. It's really heavy. I also attached a skirt of 1x3 around the edge and rounded it over with the router to give it a little better edge for clamping. Also added was a 7" woodworking vise.
My next project in the garage will be matching overhead cabinets.
03-01-2001, 05:14 PM
AS the others have said MDF will work, MDO is a better product and has a much better mosture and structual strength.
03-02-2001, 04:19 AM
OK, I'll bite.
MDF is Medium Density Fiberboard
What is MDO? Is that like partical board?
Oh, these accronims get corn-fuzing at times.
One really dense knothead here.
03-02-2001, 11:01 AM
MDO = Medium Density Overlay
Thanks to all those that responded, you've been very helpful.
03-02-2001, 11:25 AM
I was curious about this too so I did a little research. According to one manufacturer it is a paper saturated with a phenolic resin and then overlayed onto an exterior grade plywood.
Check this link:
03-03-2001, 02:09 AM
Excelent! Thanks for the link.