MDF for round table apron?

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Forum topic by bmyyou posted 10-15-2017 07:43 PM 912 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bmyyou's profile


2 posts in 2409 days

10-15-2017 07:43 PM

Is it ok to use stacked and glued-up MDF rings for a round table apron that will be 22 inches diameter, 1-inch thick MDF ring, with a 2.75 inch wide apron face? 1/16 inch veneer would then be glued to the outside diameter of the ring.

I just read about this in Fine Woodworking, however the author used MDF as a template for a wooden ring; I have the MDF to make the rings but don’t have the wood to build a wooden ring so I’m wondering if there are issues with using MDF instead of wood.

The veneered face will be paint-grade poplar, and the table legs will also be poplar.

2 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1726 days

#1 posted 10-19-2017 01:45 AM


I can give no reasons that would prevent a circular table apron being made from face gluing two pieces of ½” MDF although using a 1” thick piece of MDF could be a little easier. However there are some potential issues with MDF that may be worth considering. The table apron is likely to be a structural member of the table. The table top and the table legs presumably attach to the MDF ring. MDF could be weak in these critical areas and eventually fail. With this in mind, perhaps the MDF apron could be strengthened in these areas.

The first problem would be to ensure the two MDF layers are firmly and uniformly bonded together. The approach to cutting the apron layers would likely affect the ease or difficultly of achieving a good bond.

Since the plan includes a 1/16” thick poplar veneer glued to the perimeter of the MDF apron, the veneer/MDF bond would be strongest if the edge of the MDF is smooth and uniform around the outside perimeter. I suppose this smooth outer perimeter edge could be achieved with a straight bit in a router mounted on a trammel and taking a light final cut.

I would be inclined to replace those portions of the MDF with ¾” thick solid wood inlays where the table legs will be joined to the apron. Perhaps the ¾” thick solid wood inlays could also be attaching point for the table top. If not, then I would be inclined to introduce some solid wood where the top will attach. However, if the table top is other than solid wood, then allowing for expansion and contraction otherwise required for a solid wood is not necessary. A plywood or MDF top could simply be screwed to the apron from below through the apron into the top.

Since MDF does not stand up to moisture, I would be inclined to paint the MDF. This would be a simple added measure to protect the table from extreme humidity, rain during a move, or some other unforeseen circumstance.

View Lazyman's profile


5657 posts in 2193 days

#2 posted 10-19-2017 12:48 PM

I did something similar using plywood instead of MDF for the interior curve of this mirror frame. Should work just fine as a substrate for applying veneer. Just make sure that it is perfectly smooth. Thin veneer may show imperfections.

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-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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