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Is pocket screw good for 1/2 inch MDF .Planning on building quite a few dresser drawers.I usually do dado and rabbits but think this would save lots of shop time

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If I was using MDF, I think I'd use a minimum of 3/4" thick. James provided you with some really good information, and the link he provided has even more good information (some from Kreg directly). Just be careful not to overdrive your screws... using coarse-thread is essential.

If you have to use 1/2" MDF, I'd maybe try the Micro Pocket Drill Guide instead. It's better for 1/2" material.
http://www.kregtool.com/products/pht/product.php?PRODUCT_ID=113

Good question,Phillip ! There're a lot of diferent types of mdf. The hardest part is finding a good supplier,who carries the stuff. Forget home centers;they're all competing abut price only. Here's some basics: The darker the brown color, the harder the product. the lighter,the finer the product is,AND the less it weighs. I use wha's called "ultra light mdf".Believe it or not, I found it by accident,at my wood supply company.in oak lawn,Illinois. I sometimes use it for prototype construction,making a sample product first. That way, I 'm able to try different moldings,trim designs,base trim, etc.before deciding on the final product design. It's a product that cuts and machines easily,leaving very crisp and well defined edges. also,because there's no end grain to deal with, I get a higher yield { more pieces } from a 4x8 sheet. The dark,really heavy brown stuff runs about 20.00 a sheet,while the ultra light is about 38.00 a sheet in my area. {list price}. Does this information help you in any way?
Jens

I don’t what to be a barer of bad news’s but I get a lot of work from people around here of kitchen chair’s and a lot dresser drawer’s thanks to S&W Cabinets’ the work but MDF isn’t the way to go but as they say too each there own way but I use ¾” plywood for the front and back and ½” for the side’s and ¼” for the bottom . Here’s some pic’s of my drawers and they have been tested by 8 year old boy jumping up and down that is because people now where I live and believe me they will look me up if they don’t work. Good luck with the MDF.
Dave
Attachments:
I decided to go with plywood instead for this project ,but will buy a 1/2 sheet and play with it for future work.Thanks for inout it means alot to be able ask a stranger questions and get good feedback.

James Waller said:
Will the whole drawer be MDF?

The problem with MDF is that it splits rather easily, some brands are worse than others. The Kreg jig works really well, but with MDF you need to be really careful. Just one caveat, stay at least ½" away from the edge of the MDF or it may well split. Use coarse thread screws. Try using some scrap MDF and make a few holes, screw some pieces together until you feel comfortable with it and know exactly how you want to put your project together. You can also test the strength of the sample joint by putting weight on it and get a feel for how much it will hold. Maybe 2-3 pocket holes on each end might hold, but 4-5 will do a better job, depending on how long the pieces are.
This is what I did today .Instead of ply I got a deal on 3/4 white wood with 1/4 inch bottoms

David Dean said:
Jens

I don’t what to be a barer of bad news’s but I get a lot of work from people around here of kitchen chair’s and a lot dresser drawer’s thanks to S&W Cabinets’ the work but MDF isn’t the way to go but as they say too each there own way but I use ¾” plywood for the front and back and ½” for the side’s and ¼” for the bottom . Here’s some pic’s of my drawers and they have been tested by 8 year old boy jumping up and down that is because people now where I live and believe me they will look me up if they don’t work. Good luck with the MDF.
Dave
I decided on wood boxes.

Phillip said:
The first shot is of three different types of MDF the first is molding the 2nd is shelving, & 3rd is sacrificial fence from a bigger sheet. The other shots are from my router table. The drawers do not get much use so the MDF (3rd type) is OK. I really do not think that I would use MDF for drawers. You might if the drawer is going to be used very little and it will not have much stress. My opinion is that the material is too weak for the huge stress a drawer gets subjected to. If you have kids, use 3/4" front and back and 1/2" on sides, 1/4" bottom. The grade of wood you use is up to you, but personally I do not trust MDF.

The pocket screws for the drawer is not a problem in my opinion. I have used them and they hold up just fine. If you are looking to save money get some paint grade birch ply from Home Depot or ?? I can get it for $39 a sheet of 4' X 8' X 3/4", no filling of fussing.
If you use 3/4 back and front & 1/2 inch on sides what would my settings be for screw and sides

Jens Jensen said:
I decided on wood boxes.

Phillip said:
The first shot is of three different types of MDF the first is molding the 2nd is shelving, & 3rd is sacrificial fence from a bigger sheet. The other shots are from my router table. The drawers do not get much use so the MDF (3rd type) is OK. I really do not think that I would use MDF for drawers. You might if the drawer is going to be used very little and it will not have much stress. My opinion is that the material is too weak for the huge stress a drawer gets subjected to. If you have kids, use 3/4" front and back and 1/2" on sides, 1/4" bottom. The grade of wood you use is up to you, but personally I do not trust MDF.

The pocket screws for the drawer is not a problem in my opinion. I have used them and they hold up just fine. If you are looking to save money get some paint grade birch ply from Home Depot or ?? I can get it for $39 a sheet of 4' X 8' X 3/4", no filling of fussing.
Jens, my suggestion is that for the future, you should look into pre-finished birch (Asian or Chinese birch plywood). This product is available in 1/4", 1/2", and 3/4". Drawer sides can be made with 1/2" material with 1/4" for the bottom. If you require heavy duty drawers, then use 3/4" for sides and 1/2" for the bottom. The exposed edges of the drawer (ones facing up) can then be "veneered" with glue on 3/4" veneer that can be purchased from Lowes or Home Depot. It is ironed on with a clothes iron! I've used it on many applications including my Outfeed/Multi-Task Table (photos are posted on this website) on the drawers and doors.

The pre-finished birch is available finished on one side for 1/4", 1/2" 3/4" or both sides for 1/2" & 3/4". The only finishing that you apply is to the glue-on veneer. Once the drawer box is constructed, you can attach a 3/4" drawer front of material to match your piece. There is a pic of an open drawer in My Photos where you can see the application of the veneer on the 1/2" birch. BTW: the glue-on veneer comes only in 3/4" width that requires trimming with a special tool that is inexpensive and available from HD or Lowes.

Also, a good quality MDF works very well for raised panel doors (panel only) that will be painted. It rout(s) very nicely, but you need to keep it in a dry environment. If your shop is not conditioned and you live in a wet climate, could be some problems with it.
Jens

Sweet deal on the white wood wish I could get a deal like that but there is alote new houseing going on so the coast of lumber is high here.Good luck on the drawers.
Dave
Thanks Ted I will have ti call around to couple lumber yards and see who if any have such material. I have never seen any at box stores for sure
I no there is no Baltic birch .I'm in NW Washington


cite>Ted W. Broussard said:
Jens, my suggestion is that for the future, you should look into pre-finished birch (Asian or Chinese birch plywood). This product is available in 1/4", 1/2", and 3/4". Drawer sides can be made with 1/2" material with 1/4" for the bottom. If you require heavy duty drawers, then use 3/4" for sides and 1/2" for the bottom. The exposed edges of the drawer (ones facing up) can then be "veneered" with glue on 3/4" veneer that can be purchased from Lowes or Home Depot. It is ironed on with a clothes iron! I've used it on many applications including my Outfeed/Multi-Task Table (photos are posted on this website) on the drawers and doors.
The pre-finished birch is available finished on one side for 1/4", 1/2" 3/4" or both sides for 1/2" & 3/4". The only finishing that you apply is to the glue-on veneer. Once the drawer box is constructed, you can attach a 3/4" drawer front of material to match your piece. There is a pic of an open drawer in My Photos where you can see the application of the veneer on the 1/2" birch. BTW: the glue-on veneer comes only in 3/4" width that requires trimming with a special tool that is inexpensive and available from HD or Lowes.
Also, a good quality MDF works very well for raised panel doors (panel only) that will be painted. It rout(s) very nicely, but you need to keep it in a dry environment. If your shop is not conditioned and you live in a wet climate, could be some problems with it.
I almost fell out of my seat when I was told that price
Straight and true as a calm lake

David Dean said:
Jens

Sweet deal on the white wood wish I could get a deal like that but there is alote new houseing going on so the coast of lumber is high here.Good luck on the drawers.
Dave
My situation was somewhat similar to yours. MDF drawers in a very fancy new bedroom set. I did not know this since my bride made the purchase without me.

The drawersw started to fall apart and I wanted to fix them properly. Using the Kreg jig I made drawer boxes first out of 11X6 white wood. Then I tried cedar (love that smell). Since this was my first project with jig I was apprehensive at best.

After finishing one dresser my wife opted for cedar all around. I have since used the jig on all sorts of tings, but the drawers?

save yourself some grief and use wood rather than composite. it will last longer, smell better and is easier to used.

rick varady
montanadogs@yahoo.com

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