closet built in 3/4 MDF or 1/2 plywood? - Router Forums

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 07:08 AM Thread Starter
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Default closet built in 3/4 MDF or 1/2 plywood?

I'm going to build some simple closet builtin for my son's room today & tomorrow. Should I use 3/4" MDF or 1/2" Sandewood from HD? They are both $32 / sheet. I'm still drawing the design in sketchup and will post when done. Basically the closet is 36" wide, 28" deep & I'll knock out the header so I can use the full 96" height. I'm picturing a couple cabinet doors on top where the header is now. The rest is a combination of hanging rods and shelves I'll put drawers in. I'll use the Sandewood for building the drawers.
I haven't decided finish yet, if MDF then latex paint, if Sandewood then maybe a combination of wipe on varnish & paint. The Sandewood product has one side 'stain grade' and the other pre-primed. If the house was vacant, I'd use oil based paint to match the rest of the house trim. But that stinks too much to live with. The problem with latex paint, it's not good for drawers without guides. I plan to just size the drawers to slide into the spaces, just like I did building drawers for my van.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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Here is the design so far... I'm leaning toward 1/2". Keeping it really simple, would you cut dado's in for the shelves or just glue? I'm leaning towards glue & staples.
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Last edited by Everend; 12-09-2016 at 08:14 AM.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 11:51 AM
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If you aren't using drawer slides, i.e. just sliding them on wood frames, then I suggest using narrow strips of counter top laminate to slide them on. A strip on the runner in the carcass and another on the bottom of the drawer. You will be surprised at how well that works. If they get a little sticky you just rub some parafin on the drawer runners. I did that for some cupboards I built just after me and the missus got married and we didn't have much money to spare. Costs almost nothing but it is a little time consuming cutting the strips.

I wouldn't just try butt gluing the shelves to the sides. That's almost certain to fail in time. At 1/2" thick you don't have much room for dadoes. I would dowel or screw in from the sides and cover the holes with some decorative plug or cap if they will show..

Or you could drill shelf pin holes but you would need to make a drilling jig to do that.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 12:13 PM
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Formaldehyde if you use MDF.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 12:14 PM
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I would go with 3/4 plywood over mdf, not that much more I'm price, more durable over time, takes screws better easier to glue, plus mdf is much more duster to work with, off gasses formaldehyde over years if you don't sealed.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 01:17 PM
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I'm in for plywood , but Baltic Birch plywood is the only plywood I will use . It is very costly here though for 3/4" . Last year it was over $100 after tax for a single 5'/5' sheet .
But after you use it you can't go back .

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 01:51 PM
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I built this whole closet that spans the wall out of home depot $39 dollar plywood, real solid, I can't afford the Baltic birch stuff.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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quick update. Home Depot had 6ply 3/4"pine for $29 so that's what I got. Wife said she wanted it faux painted - pirate theme.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 02:28 PM
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I'd use adjustable shelves - things change over time and fixed shelves will limit you.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 12-09-2016, 04:00 PM
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good deal on the six ply. Just got back from HD and looked at the sandee plywood. without actually using it The inner plys looked course to me like end-grain is course. The outer ply was very thin. I would not like to dado or 1/4 rd over this material . You will have a better closet with the 6 ply

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