MDF and raised panel cutters - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-29-2014, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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MDF and raised panel cutters

Hey guys,

I've just started building my own doors, I've been sending them out for a year or two. I'm doing a job now that requires raised panel doors made from both MDF and oak (on separate pieces).

Well the panel cutter was pretty much useless on the oak after the MDF. I took it in to get sharpened and the guy told me that MDF is really tough on router bits - coats them with crap etc...

Is there any trick to making the blade useful again after cutting MDF with it or am I always going to have to get them sharpened afterwards?

Anyone else run across this?
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-29-2014, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Screw View Post
Hey guys,

I've just started building my own doors, I've been sending them out for a year or two. I'm doing a job now that requires raised panel doors made from both MDF and oak (on separate pieces).

Well the panel cutter was pretty much useless on the oak after the MDF. I took it in to get sharpened and the guy told me that MDF is really tough on router bits - coats them with crap etc...

Is there any trick to making the blade useful again after cutting MDF with it or am I always going to have to get them sharpened afterwards?

Anyone else run across this?
It has more to do with MDF being abrasive than coating it. It just dulls the cutters faster than solid wood. If you are going to run MDF raised panels you probably should have several cutters so you can have some at the sharpening shop while you have some to use.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-30-2014, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
It has more to do with MDF being abrasive than coating it. It just dulls the cutters faster than solid wood. If you are going to run MDF raised panels you probably should have several cutters so you can have some at the sharpening shop while you have some to use.
Makes sense. How quickly do they dull when cutting MDF? Mine couldn't get through 3/4' oak without major chipping even taking 3 passes.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-30-2014, 08:21 AM
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They get dull quicker than you would think, depending on the brand. The premium ones do seem to last longer, but whether it's enough to justify the extra cost is a personal judgement. You could try touching up the edge with a few strokes using a diamond hone, but it may not make much difference.

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post #5 of 13 Old 05-30-2014, 08:51 AM
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Makes sense. How quickly do they dull when cutting MDF? Mine couldn't get through 3/4' oak without major chipping even taking 3 passes.
I can't really answer that as I don't use carbide cutters and I don't shape very much MDF. I think it was about 25 years ago I made some molding out of MDF and pretty well rounded the edges of the knives. I just don't try anymore.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-30-2014, 09:24 AM
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I use a bit cheaper brand bit for MDF.. I have about 30 MDF panels out of a MLCS bit now but I doubt it will work very well on wood anymore. Will still do OK yet on MDF but the last pass needs to be a zero removal/strictly cleanup. I certainly wouldn't subject a Freud or other high end bit to the stuff. I also clean all the bits as soon as I remove them from the table. That gets the crud off before it has a chance to petrify. Seems to help with longevity. JMHO

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post #7 of 13 Old 05-31-2014, 07:35 AM Thread Starter
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I also clean all the bits as soon as I remove them from the table. That gets the crud off before it has a chance to petrify. Seems to help with longevity. JMHO
That's a good tip. I think I'll get a dedicated MDF cutter or just stop using the stuff. I don't like using it much and don't use it often, but this job is quite large (for me) and it helped me keep the total cost of the job down so they could keep their new wine cellar in the project . Worth the trade off :)
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-10-2014, 01:22 AM
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You guys are talking like MDF is cancer for tools. here in Alberta, almost EVERYTHING is mdf. trim, door jams, paint-grade mantles and coffered ceilings and shelving, and pretty much anywhere we have to build something custom. we sometimes use maple if the customer wants a natural wood look. is this not common everywhere?
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-10-2014, 03:48 AM
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You guys are talking like MDF is cancer for tools. here in Alberta, almost EVERYTHING is mdf. trim, door jams, paint-grade mantles and coffered ceilings and shelving, and pretty much anywhere we have to build something custom. we sometimes use maple if the customer wants a natural wood look. is this not common everywhere?
Just because its common doesn't not make it cancer. Cancer is pretty common come to think of it... At any rate, MDF is cheap and does some things a lot better than anything else, but there no getting around a few facts. Its finicky to glueup or drive screw, or any joinery that I know of, can be tricky to finish, and its hell on tools. I I've the stuff meself, but still, tool cancer
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-27-2014, 10:30 PM
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Use insert tooling
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post #11 of 13 Old 06-28-2014, 08:18 AM
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Use insert tooling
Don't have anything to add other than, I'll 2nd that.

I do not prize the word "cheap." It is not a badge of honor...it is a symbol of despair. Cheap prices make for cheap goods; cheap goods make for cheap men; and cheap men make for a cheap country. ~ William McKinley
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post #12 of 13 Old 06-28-2014, 09:26 AM
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Use insert tooling
I like insert tooling except I haven't found anywhere that sells the inserts in hobbyist quantities. I have a couple of Amana insert style router bits and the places I've looked have a minimum of 10 inserts per order... $70 worth or so.

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post #13 of 13 Old 06-28-2014, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschaben
I like insert tooling except I haven't found anywhere that sells the inserts in hobbyist quantities. I have a couple of Amana insert style router bits and the places I've looked have a minimum of 10 inserts per order... $70 worth or so.
Sounds like a bargain versus buying new bits.
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