The installation instructions for my new drill press say that I need to put a plywood base on the bottom to stablize it. It says not to use particle board. Would it be okay to use MDF?
Part of the reason I ask is because I found a Drill Press Cabinet plan that I thought I would build. The plan calls for either Birch plywood or MDF. As I look in the Home Depot flyer I see that the Birch plywood is $45 for 3/4", $36 for 1/2", and $22 for 1/4". The listing for MDF is $16 for 3/4".
This prompts a few questions:
1) Does MDF come in 1/2" and 1/4"?
2) If not, without a thickness planer how can I get the 1/2" and 1/4" pieces I need?
3) Are there different grades of Birch plywood? The plan indicated that the whole cabinet cost them $75 using the Birch plywood. Maybe the prices or grades are different in CT, because if I need one each of the 3/4", 1/2", and the 1/4" sheets that will cost me $110 not including the drawer slides which appear to be another $25.
Since I'm new to woodworking, I appreciate your help in determining the best material to use.
I don't know how big the pieces are that you need, but HD sells "handy panels" of most sheet goods. They come in 2'x4', 4'x4', and maybe some others (I haven't been there in a while). But, if you buy whole sheets, you will have remnants left over. They are really handy to have around the shop for making jigs, doing test cuts, etc... (101 things)
Cathy---while many use MDF for almost anything, I wouldn't, IMHO---it doesn't hold nails or screws worth a darn---puts out obnocious sawdust (which can contain formaldehyde) and has been said to dull cutters and blades. Oh, and unless you seal every square inch of it, any moisture will swell it up and eventually turn it into sawdust mush.
As to HD prices on plywood---why not drag out your yellow pages and do some hunting. I've found that not only does HD sell overpriced wood, their quality really stinks. I had some 3/4 maple ply' start to delaminate---at $45/sheet, I was a bit po'd.
Anyway--check out the other lumber yards and hardwood dealers---chances are, particularly for a shop project like this, they'll have just what you need, and for a cheaper price.
I've actually had very good success with home depot for their MDF and Birch plywood. After a lot of shopping around (the Boston area) the prices were not beatable and the quality was comperable for small quantities.
MDF does come in 1/2" and 1/4" ply - I believe most home depots carries 1/2" but not 1/4 inch. 1/4" can be hard to find in some areas. The MDF does have the advantage of being extremely heavy, which can be an advantage when building a base cabinet.
As stated before, if you buy full sheets of birch ply, you'll probably only use $75 worth of it and have $35 left over. Its usually cheaper in full sheets, and the leftovers are nice, for jigs as mentioned, but also so you don't have to go back to the store when you create the proverbial precision firewood!
Without seeing the material list...........................
................It sounds more like they were using "Baltic Birch Plywood". It is a totally different product than what you see at H.D.
"Baltic Birch Plywood" is many thin plys instead of a few thick ones.
It is mainly used for drawer construction. Your best source for it would be a Hardwood outlet. You are never going to find that good of quality or price in any kind of furniture grade plywood or hardwood from H.D. or any other "regular" lumber yard. You must shop around and find out where the commercial cabinet shops buy their materials. I have always had good luck looking in the yellow pages under "Hardwoods".