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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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I believe it's the ''saw-dust'', used in the MDF, that sucks up the moisture, vs the resin bonding agent.

Frank Gardecki said:

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 .

The MDF boards needs to be sealed, before putting them into use.

''Seal'' all surfaces and edges, with a suitable wood sealer.


Hi Ken ! I work in vending and when I used to have a route ,One of my customers was a cabinet company ,So I would chat with the cabinet maker and  one day he was making a countertop  with MDF and we talked the pros and cons of it. pros being its cheap and minimum warpage. And I brought up that it sucks water like a sponge and he told me when he glues MDF for plastic laminate he told me he sprays extra glue on open sides so it seals it from moisture. It s kinda good that there are people that think of that. 
Ken Darga said:

The MDF boards needs to be sealed, before putting them into use.

''Seal'' all surfaces and edges, with a suitable wood sealer.


Hi Franks,

Thanks for the tip.

I'll give the thinned-down glue a try.






I have four large drawers made of MDF in my work bench.  I used just pocket hole screws to hold them together (no glue).  There is a lot of weight in each and they have held up well.

I am not pro MDF or anti MDF. I have had very good experience with it and some horror stories too.  So now I use it where there are no structural issues. The surface is going to be fully protected. The MDF by itself will not bear any weight. It's a damn good material for cabinet shutters, if one wants to finish it with paint. In India a lot of people use MDF shutters and then draw grains over it and polish it. comes out nicely and makes the shutter look like natural wood shutters.

In India MDF is generally made with fibers of agricultural waste, like cotton plant fibers, baggasee(Sugar cane pulp from the sugar mills).

Boy it looks like you did your homework !!!!!
I'm going to jump into this discussion and say I don't like MDF either. It is too heavy and the dust is horrendous. In the early 70's I built 2 4' x 8' work benches. I needed lots of real estate to work on. I used 3/4" particle board nailed down for the top and used contact cement to apply a 1/4" hardboard top over that. I mounted a vise on the end of one and a transmission holding fixture on the end of the other one. I overhauled transmissions and did every auto repair type work on them for 7 years and never had an issue with them. Except... running out of space. :-). Having said that, I think MDF as an underlayment for a counter top would probably be a good use for it. As long as it was properly sealed and caulked to prevent water from getting to it. That's my 2-cents...

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