MDF stands for Medium Density Fiberboard. It is top quality particle board that usually comes with a thin melamine plastic sheet on one side of the panel or both sides. Anybody who has attempted to work with MDF for more than a couple of minutes will realize that a certain fastener is need to place the two together.
When you are building using MDF, one thing that you need to make sure of is that you drill the right sized hole for the specific fastener that you are going to use. The board has a tendency to split if you drill too small of a hole or you don’t drill any hole at all.
You need to drill a hole that is slightly bigger than the shank on the fastener you are going to use. If you do that, then the only thing that will spread the wood is the fastener threads. If there is an unthreaded part on the fastener, maybe underneath the screw head, then you need to be even more careful about choosing the correct drill bit.
When you are fastening to MDF, wood screws aren’t too great to use due to the fact that they are tapered. If you’re going to use them, you need to drill a tapered hole. There are fasteners designed to be used specifically with MDF. It’s just a matter of being able to find them.
Locating fasteners to use with MDF can be quite difficult. I’m not sure why this is. Your best bet would be to look in cabinetry and woodworking magazines, along with online cabinetry and woodworking stores to find what you are looking for.
Usually the fasteners have a drill bit for the size you purchase. They provide you with the right countersink, depth and diameter. Each part of the hole, which includes the threaded area, unthreaded area and countersink, are drilled with the bit all at once.
The fasteners do tend to be expensive. However, there are some less expensive alternatives for you to try. One option for you to consider is coarse drywall screws. Although you do to need to drill a hole that’s the right size, usually you only need to use one bit size.
The unthreaded part of the screws will be the exact size of the shank. Therefore, special bits won’t need to be used when that part of a hole is drilled. Sometimes you won’t need to countersink.
That’s because usually the head usually pulls in very well. It depends on how dense the material is. You will of course want to experiment with a couple of scrap pieces before trying this.
When you are countersinking MDF, you can use the standard countersink bit. When you do this, you do need to be careful because if you try countersinking into a hole that is drilled already, the bit will pull into the wood.
That’s why you should ensure that your drill is set on a low speed. Otherwise, your countersink could end up with too much depth. You should always drill the countersink first and then the hole.
If you do it that way, it doesn’t grab the wood nearly as much. A good glue should also be used as part of your process. Gorilla Glue works well. You want to have a very strong joint so that it will hold even if the surrounding wood breaks.
Keep in mind also that an area with lots of moisture isn’t good to use unless it is sealed first. It does have a tendency to soak water up, even if it’s only in the atmosphere.