Reply by Robert

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Posted on Cabinet door/face frame questions - sanding and material

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4557 posts in 2565 days

#1 posted 03-03-2021 02:27 PM

You’re going to get a different opinion from me. I sand the MDF, especially if the type that has a very smooth glassy type surface. It only takes a few seconds and gives me peace of mind. Since MDF can vary a bit in thickness from lot to lot I check the fit prior to glue up. I’ve had some fit loose, some perfect & some too tight – you need to know this BEFORE glue up!. If there are any gaps in the panels I caulk them.

Gluing them in is fine, but not necessary. I don’t do it b/c I don’t want to have to deal with any possible squeeze out. I cut them 1/16 short. 1/4” is fine except maybe for very large doors. 1/2 can be a bit heavy. If you think 1/4 is too light, I would use 3/8.

FWIW, I’ve painted a lot of MDF doors with BIN shellac primer and so far haven’t ever seen a problem, but recently have been told by two experts not to use BIN on raw MDF. I still don’t understand that b/c shellac sticks to just about anything even glass.

Sand the frames after glue up. You’re going to have to do it anyway to flush everything and get rid of any glue residue. I start with 80 grit and stop at 180.

All edges should be sanded. I don’t like to do them by hand or with a sander. I use a 180 grit sanding disk in my table saw to sand edges. I round over with a 3/32 bit.

It’s a good idea to sand the profile edges prior to routing. You’re probably not going to get perfectly square doors. I leave rails and stiles a bit over sized after glue up I square them up and on a panel sled.

Also, when routing the profiles (grooves) it really helps to do a scoring cut this will all but eliminate tear out.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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