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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I absolutely love working with MDF. However, I was wondering how strong dowel and/or biscuit joinery would be for joining 3/4" MDF panels in building boxes and/or a cabinet type structure.

Thoughts? ... Insight? ... Advice?



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I absolutely love working with MDF. However, I was wondering how strong dowel and/or biscuit joinery would be for joining 3/4" MDF panels in building boxes and/or a cabinet type structure.

Thoughts? ... Insight? ... Advice?:smile:
I wouldn't use dowels in MDF and certainly not biscuits. When you machine and get thin walls, they can break fairly easy. IMO, for MDF, dadoes and rabbets with glue work better.






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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I disagree with cabinetman for once. FYI I don't reply to some post cus I reply an ur right. But on this occasion mdf an biscuits work if use a butt joint.
Butt joints are exactly the kind of joints I'm referring to (in this particular case).
Sorry for not identifying that from the start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You could just make dadoes and rabbets with glue and staples. If you run a complete back, it will help keep the cabinet square.
You are, of course, correct. I don't yet have much (any) experience cutting rabbits or dadoes, I'm afraid. I'm not saying it's beyond my ability to try and do so ... just letting you know that I am very much a beginner at this point in time - and I was thinking that, perhaps, dowel and/or biscuit joinery (with glue of course) might be a bit less intimidating for this novice box/cabinet-stand maker. ;)

Of course, I will eventually need to learn to make rabbits and dadoes anyway - and I do have a decent Craftsman router at my disposal.

Just working on easing into things as I go, learn and build my skills, ya know?


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If you have to have butt joints, you could just butt the pieces with glue, and hold in place with a few staples or brad nails. Use a combo countersink/pilot drill bit and pilot a few holes...starting about 2" from the ends, and about every 6". Use #7 or #8 coarse thread screws (drywall screws will work), and don't drive them in fast. Use a cordless drill on slow speed and drive slow. When near tight just bump the trigger to seat the screw.






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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you have to have butt joints, you could just butt the pieces with glue, and hold in place with a few staples or brad nails. Use a combo countersink/pilot drill bit and pilot a few holes...starting about 2" from the ends, and about every 6". Use #7 or #8 coarse thread screws (drywall screws will work), and don't drive them in fast. Use a cordless drill on slow speed and drive slow. When near tight just bump the trigger to seat the screw.
But would not utilizing dowels or biscuits serve to further strengthen the butt joints/connections - partnered with glue and 18g brad nails?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Please understand, I'm not trying to argue with you ... I'm simply asking questions so I can try to learn and better understand things I haven't yet worked with.

My only issue with the screws would be one of aesthetics. But since it's simply a garage/workshop stand project in this case, it probably doesn't really matter much.
 

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I see a few routes...

1. Learn dados now....no time like the present.

2. Use screws....ideal as they're quick and use a mechanical inclined plane to force your joint tight. Ideal for shop tables and such. ( kreg jigs another screw option, although one I only utilize for low end shop junk)

3. Nothing wrong with dowels....just no advantage over the other options and a few disadvantages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
2. Use screws....ideal as they're quick and use a mechanical inclined plane to force your joint tight. Ideal for shop tables and such. ( kreg jigs another screw option, although one I only utilize for low end shop junk)
I do have a pocket hole jig ... just wasn't certain using pocket holes with MDF would be strong enough.

The collective wisdom, thus far, seems to be going with screws - so thinking I may re-evaluate and go that way after all.
 

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If you use screws, make sure they're coarse thread. I don't know that I'd necessarily use the pocket hole, if probably screw straight threw from the back if it was me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If you use screws, make sure they're coarse thread. I don't know that I'd necessarily use the pocket hole, if probably screw straight threw from the back if it was me.
Right, that's what I'm thinking as well.

Like I said, I haven't seen too many projects using pocket hole joinery with MDF.
Not sure it would be strong enough - as opposed to plywood.
 
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