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Discussion Starter #1
I know everyone seems to hate the stuff (MDF) but for basic drawer construction is it recomended or if not what?
Also if so, what type of joint should be used and thickness?
Is it worth using a blind dovetail or is that just a wasted effort?
If plywood is the answer how does that hold up using a dovetail. What should be done on the edges - rounded and filled.
Yea I know these are a lot of questions - could use some pro tips...
 

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Okay, this only answers a few of your questions, others will jump in to. I don't like the idea of dovetails on MDF, I think the material would eventually pull apart. For plywood drawers, the edges should be banded to hide the ply. For economy/quick drawers, I use plywood with the sides dadoed for the back and rabbetted for the front.
 

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I pretty much agree with Woodcraft. Depending on what the project is though you wouldn't need to band the plywood. If it's just your average cabinet like a kitchen cabinet then just rounding the top edge is fine in my opinion. If it is going to be a furniture peice then they should be banded.
 

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I agree with C&D and Dave. But if you don't want to use MDF there are some options.
Why can't you use those vinll-covered MDF drawer blanks? You can buy them in different widths and they come ready to cut to length and assemble. Just glue and brad them together no joinery necessary. We are renting a 12 year old house until we get ours done and they are done this way. They have not pulled apart yet.
They have a crescent top and are covered with the woodgrain vinyl pattern inside, on the top edge, and outside. Any cabinet supply house carries them I forget what they are called. I have never used them myself but have seen them many times.
Also, why can't you use whatever the most economical solid stock is available locally?
 

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I generally try to use baltic birch plywood or solid popular for drawers, but have used MDF in the past. I used 3/4" and did a rabbet on the ends to give more glue surface. It is also a little heavier, so you loose some capacity depending what the glide will hold.

Overall, it would depends on what your using it for. For storing shop tools or basement storage it would be fine, but wouldn't recommend it for every day use in your kitchen or in the laundry room.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks

I appreciate the input. I will use all that info when I tackle the drawers for the kitchen remodel that I plan to build new cabinets for this year. Currently I am working on a roll about work center for my daughter who just graduated cosmetology school (hair and beauty) and needs a portable work station.
Nothing fancy but will have five drawers for storage and of all things, she wants it painted pink and couldn’t see using a high quality wood to be painted.
I still want to experiment with different types of joinery to prepare myself for the kitchen.
I am going to attempt to use 3/4 front and back, sides 1/2 and bottom 1/4 MDF with a sliding dovetail or otherwise known as French dovetail. I already have most if not all of the materials.
I realize I do not need this fancy or robust type of joinery but need to perform it so I can do it when needed. I can dovetail with a jig but after trying it a few times found that MDF is not a desired material. I will probably use either Baltic birch or solid white oak for the kitchen.
I found a good source for rough sawn lumber in my area but budget is a little tight right now (just paid for youngest daughters school and oldest daughter is getting married next fall). I do have a 12” delta planner and like I said in an earlier post, quite a few woodworking tools. I need to use them or the boss will cut of all my funds for future endeavors (if ya know what I mean…)
I contemplated on my new router - either a Porter Cable, Hitachi or the new Ridgid dual base. I chose the Ridgid. It is smooth, soft start, variable speed, 2 ¼ horse with LED lighting, above table adjustment, lifetime guarantee, and the price was quite right… on top of that I am also working on a cyclone DC for my basement shop.
Will send pics when I can on my progress – man I got to get to work…

Thanks,

Mak
 

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I've used mdf joined w/ pocket screws on the inside coners. Pop a solid wood drawer front on and it's a good look for short money.
 

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If you are using MDF for the bottoms, I would spring for Medex if I were you. Then you don't have to worry at all about water spills, silverware and spatulas put away while still wet, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
On second though I think I will go with plywood - found Baltic Birch at the local Woodcrafter but all they carry is 1/4" at the moment. Of course the local lowes and HD don't carry anthing close... Need to go to public lumber down in Detroit - arggg hate going down there...
 

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Hi MAK,
I agree with the two previous responses. MDF will, "go to Pieces", in the assembly process, if you can complete the cutting operation.

As far as plywood goes, two choices come to mind. One would be Baltic Birch. It's sold in 5' x 5' sheets. We used to use this exclusively for kitchen drawers.

Than we found Maple Apple Ply. This come in standard 4' x 8' sheets, is non yellowing, unlike baltic birch. It is extremely smooth, also unlike baltic birch.

As already mentioned in the other responses, I wouldn't bother with dovetailing the joints either.
Have fun.

Lee
 

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Hi MAK,
I agree with the two previous responses. MDF will, "go to Pieces", in the assembly process, if you can complete the cutting operation.

Lee

agreed especially with the machining part. Ive made some due to the spec of a designer architect, in my opinion a waste of effort and excess materials. Mdf isnt any good even for the fire.;) Though im not really a panel product person.
 
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