Laminating and using MDF

I’ve never used MDF before, but need to for a project. I need to laminate a bunch of layers together into a block and don’t know what type of adhesive to use.

As well, I’m wondering if anyone knows what the best tool to rough cut my form down would be.

Thanks!

You should be able to use regular wood glue, the same stuff you’d use if doing laminated plywood. I believe that’s what I used the last time I laminated mdf and it worked really well.

MDF is mostly made of wood fibers so wood glue like Titebond II works fine. A lot of other glues will work but I found that the MDF will break before a wood glued joint fails.

To shape it, use big tools (saws, mills) to get it as close as possible. To shape it further I’d use a rasp or power sander/grinder and finish with hand sanding.

I will also caution you to always!!! wear a respirator, working with MDF produces a nasty, fine dust that is very irritating. I had bronchitis for a month because I was lazy and didn’t wear my respirator for a while on my last project.

Hope this helps.

While at home depot I saw it comes in some pretty thin sheets. I’m curious if I could laser cut it first before I laminate it. I can’t figure any reason why not, and it’d probably end up being a lot more precise.

I’s say remove as much excess material that you can, before you start your laminating.

If you have the luxury of laser cutting, utilized a couple of holes to “register” you sections together to aid bonding the assembly together; then pin the individual sections together with short pieces of wood dowel (the sections then will not slip around as you glue them.).

Aliphatic (yellow glue) works well with MDF. “Titebond” is a good one.

Make sure you wet out both pieces with the glue before you assemble them. If you spread it around with a squeegee you can minimize the amount of material you need, as well as the amount that squeezes out and rounds down the side. Good old wax paper from the grocery is good to use for setting things on, the glue releases from it after curing.

For best results you will need to clamp the assemble together; vacuum bag, or combination of C-clamps.

That’s a big ditto on the bronchitis! that stuff is bad news w/o a respirator. Not that you really neeeeeed to do this, but it helps to rough up the faces to be bonded on the mdf with a bit of sand paper, this is really more necessary on smooth hardwoods than mdf.

You definitely want to use clamps, and scrap blocks where the clamps touch to avoid clamp dents.

I would totally laser cut and build a contour shape if you have that available to you, that would be awesome.

One more neat thing I learned, wood glue will melt with heat and reset, so when you are done laminating, and need to put on a veneer, you can brush the glue on, let it dry and then iron it on. It’s like magic, only with explainable science and logic and not any magic at all.