MDF End Panels

Thoughts on the various ways to use MDF for cabinet end panels. February 26, 2007

I am making kitchen cabinets with raised panel end panels and am considering using routed MDF to match the cabinet doors. Should I make the box out of 3/4" plywood and then attach the raised panel MDF with screws? Or can I use the MDF as the end panel?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor B:
If we are building face frame cabinets, we always just attach the MDF panel to the box with screws and allow the face frame to hang over. That way you can still dado your end panel without cutting into your MDF end.

From contributor M:
We use the MDF panel as the actual cabinet side. I have a friend that has a CNC router to make the panel from one solid piece. It is superior to actually making individually cut pieces because it can't have any joints to come apart or show hairline cracks.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the advice! I cut out and routed the MDF panels yesterday. I am going to try screwing them to the plywood end panels and see how that works.

From contributor M:
It will be very heavy this way! MDF is heavier than wood to start with, and then screwed to a piece of plywood? We cut a groove in the face frame and insert the MDF panel in that. Then paint inside and out, and it is still a heavy cabinet.