Glossary

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Term:  MDF

Description:

 

Medium-density fibreboard (MDF), is a commercially manufactured wood product formed by breaking down softwood into wood fibres, combining it with wax and resin, and forming it into sheets by applying high temperature and pressure.

Large-scale production of MDF began in the 1980s and it is used in applications where materials such as plywood would previously have been used. Because of the small size of the particles from which it is made, MDF does not splinter however the resin component causes blades used to cut it to become dull rather quickly.

Another issue when working with MDF is that a lot of fine dust is created. You should at least wear a dust mask and work in an area where the creation of dust is not an issue. If you have an assistant available, getting them to hold the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner nozzle a few inches from you cutting blade, such that the dust goes straight into the vacuum cleaner, is a good idea. Alas there is no easy solution to the problem of dust being created when sanding.

MDF has a reasonable tolerance to water and can be painted with water based paints. However it should not be employed for outdoor use, or in damp environments such as bathrooms, because it will absorb water and swell.

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