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MDF vs plywood fro construction


JFlash3785

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It's smoother and easier to cut/shape and doesn't splinter off, cabs have been made since forever using mdf for those reasons. You can get lightweight mdf also which can help bring down the weight issue a little.

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MDF is exponentially easier to work with. For the cabinet itself I highly recommend 3/4 MDF. For the control panel you are okay with 1/2 MDF or comparable strength plywood.

I just built a small cab out of plywood as my friend requested one as light as possible. It can be a pain to say the least. Routing and doweling plywood is an exercise in patience, but very doable once you know what you are doing.

If you use plywood I highly suggest using laminate for the outside (order it at lowes or Home Depot). Paint and decals (unless you sand) are not able to hide big mistakes.

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MDF is my vote. The lightweight stuff is great (I prefer heavy weight) but remember that MDF is basically sawdust and glue compressed so lightweight just means the pressure is lower which makes it a little more susceptible to water ingress so make sure you seal it very well all over especially on edges. They make compounds you can use to seal the edges which if you have to money is a great way to improve how long the MDF lasts. Word vomit. :) Enough of my guff.

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It's smoother and easier to cut/shape and doesn't splinter off, cabs have been made since forever using mdf for those reasons. You can get lightweight mdf also which can help bring down the weight issue a little.

I just sledgehammered a Area 51 cabinet that had a minor amount of water damage to the lower area. The moister caused the entire cabinet to become brittle. I don't like "MDF" for that reason.

But you have to be careful when you talk about "MDF" - because what we get today is not what those old cabinets were made out of. That Area 51 looked more like particle board. My Turbo Outrun mini cabinet is also made with similar materials... closer to "particle board" than what I would consider (today's) MDF board.

I suggest some simple googling to get a better idea of "MDF" vs "particle board" vs "chip board" vs "plywood" - so when you buy, you know what you are looking for, and are not at the mercy of bad labeling. :)

The reason I posted this is my local Home Depot AND Lowes label particle board "MDF" WRONG all the time, and its NOT the same thing. Like the melamine covered "MDF" board (white melamine on one side). Thats particle / chip board. Very brittle when compared to what this forum (generally) considers "MDF"

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+1 on the MDF comments, especially if there's going to be some structural weight bearing. Built allot of audio crap over the years out of just about any and all type of paneled wood, and MDF is by far easier to work with, you end up with a much better finish. Granted it can have a bit more weight, but when you're filling and sanding and filling and sanding for the X number of times, you stop caring about weight lol.

Definitely keep what Fursphere said in mind, my local HD has crap labeled all of the place. One day they had 1/2 in MDF as chip board...??

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