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  • MDF Differences

    Since there's a lot of woodworkers here I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this...

    Right: MDF from Menards..left MDF from home Depot. I've been cutting tons of the mdf on the right with no issues, cuts easy and doesn't burr. Just did some home Depot MDF (Georgia Pacific) and it not only burnt up my bits but almost smoked my router. It's very fibrous, you can see a clear difference between the outer heat treated faces and the inner core. The dust from this stuff gets almost wet and sticky and instead of evacuating the cut it just packs in there. It's clearly much more abrasive, same feeds and speeds which the MDF on the right was happy with, and I kept adjusting my spindle RPM with a brand new bit it was not happy at any speed cutting the home depot junk. Nasty stuff I never would've guessed there's such a different in what should be the same product.

    You can visibly tell the differences in terms of shade but I would've never guessed they machined so differently. Worth noting the Menards MDF is made in canada and doesn't appear to be made just to conform to crazy California regulations....and it's $1 cheaper. guess I'll be making a lot more trips to menards

  • #2
    I've never seen mdf that light of a shade. It has a hardwood like appearance. Night and day difference. Unfortunately for me, I only have access to the stuf on the left.

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    • #3
      I've never gotten that good of product from my local Menards. But now that I know some have it I will keep my eyes open. Thanks for the heads up.

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      • #4
        I will have to check my local windsor plywood to see what they carry. Interesting.

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        • #5
          I think they cycle through different mfgs, sawdust and maybe glue. I've found very little consistency. Your HD MDF is the worst I've ever seen.
          John H

          Synergy Horn, SLS-85, BMR-3L, Mini-TL, BR-2, Titan OB, B452, Udique, Vultus, Latus1, Seriatim, Aperivox,Pencil Tower

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          • #6

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            • #7
              Originally posted by jhollander View Post
              I think they cycle through different mfgs, sawdust and maybe glue. I've found very little consistency. Your HD MDF is the worst I've ever seen.
              I got some dark brown stuff that was horrible could not even see a pencil mark on it. It gummed up my blades and was very fiberous. Not like the light stuff that powders when cut
              "A dirty shop is an unsafe shop, if you injure yourself in a clean shop you are just stupid" - Coach Kupchinsky

              The Madeleine
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              • #8
                Hit or miss at the box stores. If you want a treat research MEDEX and pick up a few sheets.
                Looks about the same as MDF, but dust doesn't fly around the shop like MDF.
                Although, MDF is great for quick test boxes, before committing to BB Ply.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jhollander View Post
                  I think they cycle through different mfgs, sawdust and maybe glue. I've found very little consistency. Your HD MDF is the worst I've ever seen.
                  Definitely. I ran out in the middle of a project and went back to get more. When I got home, they were two different colors. Both from the same HD
                  -Kerry

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by killersoundz View Post
                    ..... I've been cutting tons of the mdf on the right with no issues, cuts easy and doesn't burr. Just did some home Depot MDF (Georgia Pacific) and it not only burnt up my bits but almost smoked my router. It's very fibrous, you can see a clear difference between the outer heat treated faces and the inner core. The dust from this stuff gets almost wet and sticky and instead of evacuating the cut it just packs in there. It's clearly much more abrasive, same feeds and speeds which the MDF on the right was happy with, and I kept adjusting my spindle RPM with a brand new bit it was not happy at any speed cutting the home depot junk. Nasty stuff I never would've guessed there's such a different in what should be the same product......
                    Probably due to different resins and binders used in the two MDF's.

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                    • #11
                      Check around, see if you can find a distributor for Plum Creek Super-Refined Glacier Green MDF, one of the best MDF products out there. Cost a little more but very consistent and extremely dense. Wish my distributor was closer, I'd avoid the HD junk altogether. Their stuff appears to be getting worse, would be surprised if it even conforms to The American National Standard for MDF.
                      My "No-Name" CC Speaker
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                      • #12
                        The quality of MDF is all over the map. A recent run from Home Depot looked similar to yours. The box sanded and primed well, but it took more effort than usual. The boxes seem as dense and solid as other builds. Plywood distributors that stock the better grade MDF in central Florida want a 10-20 sheet minimum and the delivery cost is substantial. Baltic birch is a similar story because neither big box store carries it locally.

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                        • #13
                          Had a similar problem with HD MDF. Purchased on clearance for $4 off a sheet. Had them cut in half down to 4' x 4' to get home. Brought home, stored vertically for 1 day and by the time I started cutting for speaker project, both pieces were warped in both directions. Nothing too bad, not over 1/2" in 4', but both directions was strange. As it was used for speakers, this was fine but i would not want to use for cabinet panels like yours!

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                          • #14
                            I've yet to try it for speakers. Working at a cabinet shop in the mid 80's, we used BB for our drawer sides. Loved using it. I wish it was easier to find BB in 3/4" or 1" thickness. Locally,in the Phoenix area, I've seen 5x5 sheets of 1/2" and that's about it.

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                            • #15
                              I agree about HD inconsistency over the years. I've had really good mdf and some that just felt lighter than other batches.

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