Mdf Cabinets

 
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:42 AM   #1
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Mdf Cabinets


I've spent hours trying to find a decent website on how to properly build cabinets doors from mdf including proper construction techniques to priming and painting. I've had no luck. Can anyone help me with this or at least point me in the right direction? You're help would be very much appreciated.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:47 AM   #2
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


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Originally Posted by merrittbuilder
I've spent hours trying to find a decent website on how to properly build cabinets doors from mdf including proper construction techniques to priming and painting. I've had no luck. Can anyone help me with this or at least point me in the right direction? You're help would be very much appreciated.
Hit search and type in cabinets. There are a few custom can builders with high post counts that could help you.

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Old 12-12-2011, 09:50 AM   #3
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


Leo g, kent whitten and Gus dering ( pardon if misspelled ) are 3 guys who are extremely well versed in anything custom and who have lots of valuable insights and knowledge.

My 2 cents
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:12 PM   #4
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


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Originally Posted by merrittbuilder View Post
I've spent hours trying to find a decent website on how to properly build cabinets doors from mdf including proper construction techniques to priming and painting. I've had no luck. Can anyone help me with this or at least point me in the right direction? You're help would be very much appreciated.
what is the purpose of these cabinets? where are you installing them, what are they holding, etc? i would caution against mdf anywhere there might be water. even if you get the rtf wrapped stuff, water will eventually swell the heck out of that stuff and it'll be toast. mdf is also pretty heavy so i don't like it for uppers. also not a fan of mdf for shelving because it sags more than plywood.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:40 PM   #5
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


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what is the purpose of these cabinets? where are you installing them, what are they holding, etc? i would caution against mdf anywhere there might be water. even if you get the rtf wrapped stuff, water will eventually swell the heck out of that stuff and it'll be toast. mdf is also pretty heavy so i don't like it for uppers. also not a fan of mdf for shelving because it sags more than plywood.

I'm thinking he may get the same answers from Leo,Kent,and Gus. I'm pretty sure they don't make a habit out of building cabinets out of MDF.
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:11 PM   #6
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


No, not the actual cabinets themselves, but it sounds like the OP is looking for just doors. The ONLY place I use MDF is paint grade door panels and even then, you need the CORRECT MDF (read NOT HD MDF)

You do NOT want to use MDF for the frame. I know that there are some manufacturers that use MDF for their whole door, but we are talking cheap, cheap. Single piece, routed ranel and usually a Thermofoil coat. I only see these in laundry rooms and low, low, low end places, like shop cabinets for a HO.

The corners of MDF will chip real easy. MDF is quite resistant on the surface, but the edges are very susceptible to damage.

I assume you are painting, so I would suggest a soft Maple for the frame and cope and stick (T&G, M&T)together. Or if you are fortunate like Gus....Domino!

The finish is something that can be widely scoped. I use an opaque varnish like Leo does and I'm guessing Gus does too. You can get a decent brush finish with a paint called Muralo. I'm going to try some here real soon. I've heard really good things about it. Brush on application near lacquer quality.

Gus uses a place out west that delivers nationwide that has good pricing on Shaker doors with mdf panels.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:21 PM   #7
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


Thank you very much for your input. I originally thought Wood would be best as well. The reason I'm looking at using MDF is because I am trying to match some existing cabinets that I just put in a new house. The cabinets are also new, but I'd like to add a few features using the same product. I just don't know how to get the same proffesional finish on them.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:23 PM   #8
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


Kitchen Cabinets. Base and wall.
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:34 PM   #9
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


Check out the Muralo paint first. I'm sorry I have no first hand knowledge of it, but my finisher says it is a beautiful lacquer like finish.

If you are not set up for spray finishes, you may want to try somewhere like Walzcraft and let them build it (doors) and put the finish on for you. They even do face frames and panels to match so you could build most of it yourself, the mostly hidden part and order prefinished parts. Trust me, coming from someone who did it by the school of hard knocks, spraying finishes is not for the light of heart.

http://walzcraft.com/

But if you want to go that way and have some type of finishing skills, ML Campbell is what I use. Conversion varnish finishes. Comes out like an automotive finish. You will need some decent amount of money invested in the equipment to get you remotely close to a good finish.
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:12 PM   #10
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


Yes, as Kent says use MDF only for the panels. MDF makes an excellent paint grade panel for doors or walls and I have used it many times with a clear urethane finish for desk tops. I like that look with clear finished maple or pine cabinetry and it provides a very durable, smooth surface. Likewise on inexpensive cabinets in the right application you could use clear coated MDF for the panels there as well.

For door panels I prefer to use a product called TruPan or Ultra Light. These are less dense and so weigh less than regular MDF. If I am making a raised panel from MDF I prefer to use a more dense product as the hips are not so porous and take a finish better than when using TruPan. You can use the lighter stuff but you need to skim coat the hips with a spackling of some sort to create a smooth base.

As I don't spray finishes anymore, I can report that you can still get very fine results with any quality paint properly applied with brush or rollers. If the wood looks good with your paint finish the MDF will too.
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:45 PM   #11
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


If I cannot build the doors I order them through Walzcraft (Kent suggested them as well). Great quality and they were fabricated quickly.
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Old 12-12-2011, 05:20 PM   #12
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


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Originally Posted by merrittbuilder View Post
Kitchen Cabinets. Base and wall.
i would strongly advise against mdf in kitchen and baths. i have a commercial customer (they're an event space) that has a coffee area, as well as a kitchen, with the wrapped mdf doors and they started swelling after just a year's worth of use. sure, it's different when it's your house and you wipe up spills more quickly and make sure you turn on the bath fan religiously, but it doesn't bode well for the long term in my opinion. if it's at all possible i'd go with real wood.
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Old 12-12-2011, 07:35 PM   #13
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


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Leo g,scribbles kent whitten and Gus dering ( pardon if misspelled ) are 4 guys who are extremely well versed in anything custom and who have lots of valuable insights and knowledge.

My 2 cents
thanks

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Old 12-12-2011, 07:43 PM   #14
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


As above stated, mdf for centers only, you can use paint, Ben More “iron clad” is a great oil based product, I use tinted lacquer, 2 coats of clear to seal everything up sand hard and 2 coats of color, one final wear coat of clear and done, they look like glass, and last very well. With pre cat lacquers, or CV you have a very fast dry time, and a complete kitchen can be finished in less than 2 days. With 1-2 people.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:30 PM   #15
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


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Originally Posted by KentWhitten View Post
Gus uses a place out west that delivers nationwide that has good pricing on Shaker doors with mdf panels.
Decore-A-Tive Specialties is in North Carolina too. They ship anywhere.

Not just shaker doors either. I have no problem using mdf panels of any shape in a painted cabinet.

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I just don't know how to get the same proffesional finish on them.
You don't need to if you are willing to find someone that does. I don't know where you are but there are at least 5 cabinet finishers within 10 miles of my shop. Even the worst one can do better job than I can.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:33 PM   #16
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Re: Mdf Cabinets


That must mean I can do a better job than you Gus.

The primer is the key in getting a nice looking MDF door paint job. You need to seal the cut edges and profiles with the primer and sand it well. After that everything else is pretty easy. I would stay away from MDF stiles and rails on the cabinets though. Very low quality way of making cabinets. Stained Soft maple is an inexpensive choice for that.

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