Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Full time cruising on my boat. Currently on the Tenn. River in NW Alabama in Jo
The short version
There are many grades so I will give you the short version. Someone else can give you the long version.
MDF it's an abbreviation for Medium Density Fiberboard. I only know of one grade, the medium density grade.
Plywood is different. I assume you are talking about building furniture and cabinetry projects and not construction grades.
Cabinet grade comes in plain sliced (actually sliced and bookmatched) and rotary cut (peeled like a roll of toilet paper)
Most people use the plain sliced for its looks. Less often is the rotary cut. These are used in furniture and cabinets.
Paint Grade: this is made for painting and is not attractive at all.
Then there is Baltic Birch which comes in 5" x 5' pieces, or the American version - Apply Ply, which comes in 4' x 8 ' sections.
Both of these have many plys with no voids. It is used extensively in drawer sides or where exceptional strength is required. For drawer sides, it dados very well. Also is great for making jigs and templates.
Well, that's about it for me.
One more thing, I forgot to add BORGwood. The standards for grading plywood are really subjective and the BORG"s really take advantage of that fact. If at all possible, do not buy from the big box stores. HD is less than 3 miles from me and yet I drive 50 miles each way through downtown Houston traffic to go to a reputable Hardwood lumber yard.
Retired woodworker, amongst other things, and now full time cruising the waterways on my boat.
Last edited by Tony B; 10-05-2008 at 06:53 PM.
Reason: I forgot to add BORGwood