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I am making a small workbench with MDF top and I want to put pocket holes in the underside to secure solid wood edge banding around the outer edges.  Is MDF strong enough to put pocket holes into it?


Thnx for your feeback.

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yes it is but make sure you take your time and back your drill bit out alot of the time to clear out the dust, if not your drill might start to jam up



Yes mdf is strong enough but I suggest  using some glue with the bond between the wood and mdf.  Mdf is great for a substrate under laminates as it is flat and remains stable if you protect it from water and other liguids.  I use if on my shop benches as it remains a cheaper version of material that the plywood and does not have the spring and or the ringing echo as plywood does.  Some of the problem I have noted in plywood tops is the veneer is so thin anymore that it will not stand the abuse of normal bench top operations.  Depending on what type of work that is going to be done on the bench determines on where or not I put a laminate on top or not.  Normally for the heavy use I lay a piece of  1/8" hard board, with the slick side, on top and add a couple screws on the ends to hold it in place and allow it to free float.  That way I can change it out if it gets damaged.

I'm not a big fan of screws in MDF though a lot of people do it. I would be cautious of any joints that encounter much more than a nominal amount of stress, glue would be advisable and ensure joints are tight and well clamped when installing the screws rather than depending on the screw to pull them tight.
I found it works best if you not only glue the parts but more helpfull put glue on the threads of the screws and old trick we old Rc airplane buiders use. I first screwed the kreg jig to a piece of MDf. Shortly after i reconnected with this trick never came lose again.  
No NO  No  Thats all MDF is compressed saw dust and resin  you can put pocket holes in it to hold it down for a work bench, but I would not use it to make a book case  or table if I  ruled  the woodworkers world  I would  outlaw MDF I m sorry but  I never had a good experiance  with MDF.

I have a 4'x8 piece of 3/4" MDF setting on a pool table.  Got some water on it one day and next day went down and bought me a 4'x8 piece of melamine with a nice birch laminate top and put that on top of the MDF  so my top is now 1 1/2" thick.  

I did attach a "hanging shelf" underneath to the MDF with pocket screws and I've got 3 drills hanging from that shelf plus several 18V batteries and charger.  There's a little weight there and  screws are holding good in the MDF, so far.


Boy nobody loves me anymore since I am anti-MDF.  OK now lets put a toolbox on there with all your wrenches and hammers on the shelf  !!!!  A inch and a half thick that is one heavy shelf minusing the tools
Hi Frank - don't feel to lonely. I'm not totally anti-MDF but I have a high awareness of what it cannot do well - hold together
Hey Joseph I could not help but noticed you have hanging on the wall  those sharp Kreg adjustable  clamps !!!!Are you hoping the staff at Kreg sees them and sends  you a free gift ? ----------------------You are smooth  !!!!!!!!!!!!------------------LOL

Joseph Murro said:


Here is a cabinet I made entirely made of MDF using the Kreg jig.  I had no problems using pocket holes in MDF. 

Actually I'm anti-MDF too.  I'll never buy any again.  I always heard what a great bench top they make but one day when I came in and laid my hose nozzle on top and water got on it and it started swelling up, that was it.  But I was stuck with the 4x8 piece and that's when I covered it with the  melamine 4x8.  In my situation, that melamine was the way to go.  Cleans up beautifully, spills wipe up nicely, looks good, projects slide easily.  When I come in from snow blowing I can throw my wet gloves, cap, whatever, on bench and not worry about the water problem that mdf has.  Maybe the moisture problem is off topic but that might be beneficial for OP to know.  I suppose if you seal it, that might take care of that.

Frank Gardecki said:
Boy nobody loves me anymore since I am anti-MDF.  OK now lets put a toolbox on there with all your wrenches and hammers on the shelf  !!!!  A inch and a half thick that is one heavy shelf minusing the tools
Melamine is MDF  with a vinyl  covering the down fall for MDF  It is also   very HEAVY  !!!!!!!my boss had a poker table  made it was 8feet  by four feet that sucker had to weight about 300 lbs.( or it felt like it)  and that poker table was made from MDF.

Anything you buy in furniture thats cheap is MDF . I f they could make a stronger resin that does not suck water then you have my attention. You are lucky  no one was under that shelf .

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