Medium density fiberboard, or MDF, is a composite building material made from wood fibres compressed under extreme pressure. There is no grain pattern in MDF. Its primary use is for paint grade applications. You can use MDF anywhere you can use plywood, with more versatility.
One application of MDF is guitar bodies. Many musicians don't even realise their instrument is made from laminated MDF. It's a natural for guitars because It provides them with sustain and good bass response. Guitar manufactures use CNC routers to cut guitar bodies to exacting specifications, but the average woodworker can also cut his own guitar body out with a band saw and a hand router.
Sign makers have been using MDF for years. Its consistent quality makes it useful for routing letters without splintering. The uniformity and lack of "voids" make every inch of MDF usable, thus very cost effective. When properly sealed for exterior use, MDF signs will last a lifetime.
Speaker boxes are very popular projects for MDF, for the same reasons that guitar builders use MDF-- it provides excellent tone response. Pieces can be cut in any direction, utilising every small piece. The dense quality of MDF makes the speaker box substantial in its construction. Speakers take a real beating over time. MDF speaker boxes can handle abuse.
One project that has been overlooked is the use of MDF in churches. MDF panels laminated together create a thick, almost indestructible panel. Woodworkers then cut the panels into pew ends and round on top or cap with hardwood. They then spray them with snow-white lacquer, resulting in a pew end that radiates a pristine atmosphere. Sanctuary furniture like pulpits and altars are also built out of MDF and painted white to match.
Novelty cut-outs have always been good MDF projects. Holiday and themed projects such as Halloween black cats and jack-o-lanterns are available everywhere. Santas, Christmas trees and sleighs are popular for Christmas. For western themed dances or dinners, cowboys, horses and cactus are fun MDF cut-outs.
Ancient Greek architecture has handed down designs for contemporary fluted columns. The woodworker cuts MDF into strips, flutes it with hand routers, mitres and assembles them. They appear in high-end homes or commercial buildings. Like church furniture, Greek MDF columns get stark white paint. Other fluted column designs appear in everyday homes holding up fireplace mantels.
MDF is ideal for moulding. You can cut it into any width without worrying about knots or cracks. MDF is perfectly straight, will not warp and extremely consistent, making it perfect for moulding.
Raised Panel Cabinet Doors
European style cabinets, which are characterised by clean, white lines, have raised panel cabinet doors made with MDF. It machines easily with shapers and routers. It sands smoothly and is perfectly square, making the construction of raised panel doors easy.