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MDF desktop Answered

Hey guys and gals.
I'm considering making this computer desk that uses one sheet of 4x8 plywood and was wondering if a sheet of MDF would work.

I just got back from Lowes where I was checking prices on plywood and they didn't have the type of plywood thats veneered on both sides. I thought about using MDF instead and wanted to know how much of a difference it would make.

My concerns with the MDF are finishing the final piece and attaching the hardware to the two halves.

I've worked with MDF before, but it was under complete different circumstances and I didn't have to bother finishing the project with paint/stain.

What are the pros/cons of using MDF vs. Plywood?

The desk instructable


You could rout a nice custom edge with a router to dress it up and make it easier on the elbows when you lean on it. It will throw up lots of dust when routed. You need to probably use glue and fasteners(screws) with finer threads or on made for particleboard or MDF to make them grip the material instead of tearing it out. You may be able to find the same type of hardware they use in IKEA type ready-to-build furniture but those nut-post-bolt combos need special drills/jigs to install properly. It makes a nice surface to attach laminate for the working surface. Or use wood veneer and banding. They do have peel and stick or iron-on versions.

MDF is fine most of the time, but I find it scratches and dents to easily for use in constructing a computer desk. I built my desk from about 1 1/4 sheets of plywood. I could have done it with just one, but I added shelves to the sides.


How are you guys' projects coming? Any updates or pictures? I was getting ready to do the exact same thing. I was going to use grommets and legs from Mockett.

Not sure about plywood, but painting MDF requires 1 or 2 layers of primer,generally followed by 2 coats of paint.

Depends on the paint, using any decent wood paint as a primer is good enough for simpler things but for a great finish yes. I actually painted MDF with masonry paint making a tree for art, worked out great and it was perfect, it needed a rough effect and the textured masonry paint did the trick in one coat. As for a sheen a matte emulsion followed by the proper paint followed by a clearcoat does well.

I actually am making a desk out of MDF as we speak. I was in at Home Depot today and was asking in the paint department about finishing the top so that it doesn't absorb water from cups. I was told that if I was using MDF for a desk top that my best bet would be to use a High Gloss Polyurethane to brush on it. Hope that helps! Anyone have any ideas about bracing table legs on such a project? Metal table legs (chain link fence posts) and MDF top.

Use a big nipple section, like IKEA desk legs or brace them by welding on a couple of diagonals at right angles and screw them in to the desk top.

Mdf is a fine building material for furniture, I'd suggest using at least 14mm thick for the table top so it's nice and sturdy, for the rest 10 or 12mm should suffice, support the top well and it should be a great desk. MDF is also great because it can be painted very easily with most paints because it's so smooth, just be careful about strange solvents since it's basically glue and wood particulate.