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The Plyco Guide to MDF

While Plyco is most well-known for its Plywood products, you’d be incorrect in assuming those were the only types of timber products that we sell. For tradies seeking out some extra grunt for construction type applications, we have a comprehensive range of Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) products available.

We’re extremely proud of the MDF collection we have put together, so to show off its true potential and answer some of the more frequently asked questions, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide. Below you’ll find a gateway to everything you’ll ever need to know about MDF.

Here's what we'll cover:

  • MDF Board Applications

  • Types of MDF Panels

  • MDF Sizes and Thicknesses

  • MDF vs Plywood

  • Are MDF Panels Suitable for Laser Cutting?

  • Bunnings MDF Alternatives

  • How to Paint MDF

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What is MDF?

MDF is one of the most popular timber products in the world. Even if you’re not interested in woodworking you’ve probably still heard about this famous product. It’s like Kim Kardashian; everybody knows about it, even if it’s just through osmosis.

But what is MDF exactly? Well, the short answer is that it’s a product created via breaking down both hardwood and softwood into wood fibres, which are then combined with wax and resin to form panels once placed under immense pressure and heat. However, the brief summary doesn’t paint the full picture of what you’re getting once you purchase one of Plyco’s MDF sheets. To get a proper understanding we have to dig deeper.

Veneered MDF

Plyco's Veneered MDF used for cabinetry by Willow Constructions

MDF Board Applications

MDF products are applicable for a wide range of applications thanks to our Moisture Resistant variety. Moisture Resistant MDF allows the product to be used both indoors and outdoors, essentially doubling the number of possibilities at your fingertips. Similarly, our Veneered MDF range of products put an architectural spin on this hard-wearing favourite, unlocking new applications that can be completed on a smaller budget compared to other products with architectural finishes. In general, we most often see MDF being used in shop fitting or cabinet making.

Types of MDF Panels

The fun with MDF doesn’t just stop with the regular product everybody knows and loves. At Plyco, We offer three unique “spin-offs” so to speak, of our heavy-lifting MDF.

The first of which is our Melamine MDF which presses a Melamine surface onto the MDF substrate. We then have our Veneered MDF range, which is similar in terms of changing the product’s appearance, however, this is quite different as it utilises natural timber veneers that keep the organic feel of the wood. Finally, we offer a Moisture Resistant MDF, allowing the product to venture outdoors into external applications. These sheets still need to be properly sealed, but they are packed with extras to help it thrive that regular sheets don’t have.

Plyco's Veneered Beech MDF

Plyco's Beech Veneer on MDF

MDF Sizes and Thicknesses

As you may already know, we’ve got a lot of variety when it comes to the types of MDF we offer at Plyco. With this also brings a tsunami of MDF sizes and thicknesses to choose from. Because there are so many (there quite literally dozens upon dozens!) we’ve put together a guide to all of the variations in shape that you’ll be able to find when you walk into a Plyco store. From our standard range to Melamine, Veneered MDF, and our Moisture Resistant option, here you’ll find all of the information you’ll ever need to navigate the ever-expanding world of MDF.

MDF Bathroom Cabinets-1

Moisture Resistant MDF used for bathroom cabinetry

MDF vs Plywood

Good vs evil, cats vs dogs, and MDF vs Plywood. They’re all fights almost as old as time at this point. Deciding whether Plywood or MDF is the right choice for your job can be a tricky one. Each product comes with a plethora of strengths and weaknesses that are unique, but to make matters trickier, they also have a number of characteristics in common with one another.

To make your life easier when it comes to decision time the experts here at Plyco have put together a handy guide that clearly lays out all the details. It’s a perfect companion that will help you make the right choice every time depending on your specific application.

Are MDF Panels Suitable for Laser Cutting?

Every now and then we’ll get questions about the viability of laser cutting with products that aren’t part of our Laserply range. The answer is a yes, however, it comes with a rather large “but”. While it is technically possible to laser cut MDF, it’s not exactly suitable for use. MDF sheets of 6mm thickness and under will cut, but you’ll be putting up with a lot of the side effects of using a non-optimised board. Your cuts will not be nearly as clean as those in our Laser Plywood product range, and you’ll encounter burning of the wood, and plenty of mess on your machine from the non-compatible glue used within MDF sheets.

darkly-labs-emblaser-2

The Emblaser 2 laser cutter

Bunnings MDF Alternatives

The stereotypical choice to make when you need a sheet of MDF is to head down to your local Bunnings. It’s an Australian institution and known by Australians all over the country. However, You’re probably doing yourself a disservice if you head straight there without doing your research first. Plyco dominates Bunnings in many areas when it comes to purchasing MDF, so much so that we’ve put together a comparison guide that will allow you to be the judge and decided whether Bunnings is truly a better option than Plyco for MDF.

How to Paint MDF

One of the greatest strengths of a piece of MDF is that it lends itself perfectly to being painted. While we offer Melamine and Veneered options to help change the aesthetics, sometimes a fresh coat of paint is what the job calls for. If you decide that paint is the best option you’re going to want to do the job right the first time. We’ve all done it, but there’s nothing more embarrassing than having to make a return trip because you messed up your materials! Before you start getting your Picasso on, check out our guide on how to paint MDF, so that you ensure you end up with the best results each and every time.

MDF Price List

If you’d like the latest prices on our extensive range of MDF products, check out our online price list.

 

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Brandon Marlow
Brandon Marlow
Brandon is the Woodworking Wordsmith and Social Media Sage at Plyco HQ. Crafting copy for customer tutorials, inspiration and advice, Brandon builds and maintains Plyco's plywood knowledge base.

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