Best way to attach mdf countertop?

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Forum topic by MartiTx posted 11-24-2017 05:24 PM 2045 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MartiTx's profile


12 posts in 3107 days

11-24-2017 05:24 PM

This is for garage base cabinets, not a workbench. The bases are built out of 3/4 inch plywood and I want to put a flat countertop on it. For now, just mdf. Whenever we put wood flooring upstairs, I’d like to use the same flooring on the counters. That, however, will be a good long time from now. What I’m thinking is 2 layers of 5/8 inch mdf. That will give me a solid, flat counter and four surfaces should one get too beat up. The last smooth surface for the wood flooring.

The surface will be used mainly for picture frame assembly, but I’ll also put my scroll saw on it from time to time and will have bolt holes for that.

I’d rather not screw from the top though it doesn’t really matter if I countersink because I’ll already have holes in the top for the scroll saw. What would be the best way to firmly attach and yet be fairly easy to get to for replacement? S clips from the bottom? Wood corner supports? Another way?


12 replies so far

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5813 posts in 3087 days

#1 posted 11-24-2017 06:03 PM

How are your base cabinets built? Are there stretchers corner blocks or anything to screw thought into your top? I wouldn’t use two layers when I can buy 1 1/8 and be done with it.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2220 days

#2 posted 11-24-2017 06:19 PM

SOP for me is to use stretchers across the top of the base cabinets and drive screws through the stretcher up into the counter top.

I would not attach wood flooring to mdf for a countertop—it would not want to stay flat. Mdf alone would be better, IMHO than the mdf/T&G hardwood combo.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View MartiTx's profile


12 posts in 3107 days

#3 posted 11-24-2017 07:35 PM

Thank you. AlaskaGuy, I couldn’t lift 1-1/8” onto the table saw; I’m doing good to lift 5/8”. And yes, there are stretchers across the top. Good point about the flooring, Jerry. I guess I’ll see how well the mdf holds up. It will be a year or two before we begin to finish upstairs.

View MrUnix's profile


8099 posts in 2977 days

#4 posted 11-24-2017 07:38 PM

Screws from underneath – one in each corner at least. They are just there to keep it from sliding, so don’t need to be super strong or beefy.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5813 posts in 3087 days

#5 posted 11-24-2017 08:42 PM

I can’t lift it anymore either. I can slide it out of my truck on to a table (with wheels) and then slide it on to my table saw. Of course if you’re in a basement shop or other restricting situations then I can understand that.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Redoak49's profile


4754 posts in 2767 days

#6 posted 11-24-2017 08:55 PM

My shop cabinets have a 3/4” plywood top with 1/4” on top and easily replaceable. It is finished with shellac well soaked in.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4009 days

#7 posted 11-24-2017 09:54 PM

I rolled on two coats of clear poly and my bench has held up well to numerous cabinets and other project builds, as well as several glue ups.

It is a single layer of 3/4 inch plywood…with a lot of dog holes in it. I use them mainly for clamping things down to hold them in place. The bench is similar to the Ron Paulk total station.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Luthierman's profile


222 posts in 1865 days

#8 posted 11-25-2017 01:49 AM

I’d just use silicone. That’s what big granite and solid surface companies use. Easy and effective.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 1370 days

#9 posted 11-25-2017 02:22 AM

Whenever I need a temporary joint I use hot glue.

View rbrjr1's profile


208 posts in 984 days

#10 posted 11-25-2017 02:26 PM

this topic is of interest to me.

-- only an idiot dismisses an intelligent statement because they dont know anything about the person delivering it.

View builtinbkyn's profile


3009 posts in 1719 days

#11 posted 11-25-2017 03:44 PM

If you glue blocks to the bottom of the top that align with the stretchers, you can fasten the top to the case with screws thru blocks. If you even need to remove the top, you’ll just have to unscrew it. You can screw directly into thr MDF, but that’s not the best route to go IMO.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View PharmDre's profile


4 posts in 962 days

#12 posted 11-26-2017 04:29 AM


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