First MDF Doors

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Project by cstrang posted 05-08-2010 01:31 AM 5936 views 11 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been wanting to try MDF doors for a while now but never really had the time, so while we were waiting on a material order at school this week we had some down time and I figured it would be a good time to try them. I made the jig that you see in the second picture and routed out the MDF with a Bosch Colt trim router. The only complaint I have is that all four sides of the router is a different distance from the bit so you had to keep rotating the router and around the corners it leaves some to be desired. Next time I do them I think I will purchase the Ridgid trim router with a circular base so I can just plunge the bit in once and go around the jig. I made four doors this time, I was planning on making two but when my teacher learned I was making a cabinet to go with them he decided he wanted some too… I guess I cannot complain since he supplied the tools and materials to make them, and it also gave me some more practice. All in all I am pleased with the way they came out, but I do need to seal the MDF better if I was to do them for a customer. One last thing… you want to talk about dust! A good mask is a must if you make doors this way!

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

15 comments so far

View Time2beupinAZ's profile


453 posts in 3234 days

#1 posted 05-08-2010 01:40 AM

Looks real good.

-- Tim - I usally measure twice after I cut......then I know for sure that I cut it short.....

View lew's profile


12567 posts in 4027 days

#2 posted 05-08-2010 01:43 AM

Nice Job!

What type of hinge system did you use?


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3440 days

#3 posted 05-08-2010 01:45 AM

Lew, I used European style soft close hinges made by Hettich.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 3699 days

#4 posted 05-08-2010 02:36 AM

good looking doors
that dust is terrible isn’t it
you might want to get a router with a dc attachment, i know i would want that

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3945 days

#5 posted 05-08-2010 05:43 AM

Nice doors.

View degoose's profile


7250 posts in 3627 days

#6 posted 05-08-2010 07:38 AM

This job would be so easy with the TWC and accurate and repeatable.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View stefang's profile


16394 posts in 3606 days

#7 posted 05-08-2010 10:15 AM

Good work. MDF is really great for painted work. I agree that you need to use a mask to work with MDF and have a good vacuum system as well, but I also found another unexpected danger. I have a painted floor in my shop and I found that MDF dust is very slippery on a surface like that. I try to stay aware of the danger and I clean up any residual dust as I go to prevent it building up around the work area.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SPalm's profile


5327 posts in 4154 days

#8 posted 05-08-2010 02:35 PM

Good for you. Lots of us have a love/hate relationship with MDF.

Why not make a round base for the router you already have? The Colt is a very nice tool.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Gail's profile


44 posts in 4230 days

#9 posted 05-08-2010 02:38 PM

Nice doors! Try MDRF for next time, less furring and cuts nicer for this stuff. (R is for refined). Just a little more expensive than reg MDF but not much. Great work.

-- Gail, White Wood Kitchens

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3440 days

#10 posted 05-08-2010 05:03 PM

stefang, I made these in out CNC room at school and the floor there is coverd with peel and stick tiles… very slippery when coverd with a layer of MDF dust. I think when I make them in my home shop I will have a big dust hood attached on the back of my bench going to my dust collector… something like you commonly see with miter saws.

SPalm, the Bosch Colt is the schools router, I currently do not have a trim router in my shop, I was thinking about making a round base for that one but I figured for the four doors I needed to make it may not have been worth the time to get it just right.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3233 days

#11 posted 05-09-2010 03:26 AM

Nice. Better than factory doors I have seen. Keep up the good work. Don’t forget to let us know about your latest project.

View gul's profile


400 posts in 3234 days

#12 posted 05-09-2010 08:40 PM

great work! love them!

View Zach's profile


3 posts in 3157 days

#13 posted 07-03-2010 08:44 AM

they look great! did you use oil or water based paint? how many coats of prime and paint did it take? did you treat the edges and routed edges with anything like vinyl spackle and then sand before you primed? i’m asking because i’m building a craft room for my wife and i’m using mdf for the cabinets and i’ve never finished it before and am getting a lot of mixed information on what the best method is to finish them.

-- "I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way." - Mark Twain

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3440 days

#14 posted 07-18-2010 05:13 PM

The method I use is the same one we use at work (I work in a cabinet shop) and will only work if you have a spray system. I spray two coats of sanding sealer, two coats of M.L. Campbell’s white lacquer and three coats of M.L. Campbell’s semi-gloss clear Magnalac. Sanding in between each coat. This method is the best I have found. I have tried a lot, everything from watered down wood glue to using bondo like you use on cars. Best of luck with it and sorry for the late reply.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View David Drummond's profile

David Drummond

98 posts in 2937 days

#15 posted 12-14-2011 08:55 AM

The best thing I have found is a waterborne undercoater made by Lenmar called Duralaq. It weighs about twice as much as most undercoaters as it has a lot of filler in it but it is still thin enough out of the can to spray without thinning it. Hands down better than sanding sealer which was the method I did before I found Duralaq. I tried to google it to provide a link but I cant find it online anywhere. I will take a picture of the can and post it if I can find it.

-- "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do... Explore, Dream, Discover” Mark Twain

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