Ultra-Light MDF for Cabinetmaking

Cabinetmakers are succeeding with ultra-light MDF. Here's more info. February 19, 2013

Has anyone used ultra light MDF to make doors? These would be 3/4" x 17.5" x 80" and I was curious if using the ultra light MDF would be less weight than using particleboard.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor D:
The ultralight MDF is like a third the weight or at least not more than half of regular particleboard or MDF for sure. I have used it for utility grade paint grade slab doors and will use it every time I can. The edges are very soft, so dent easily until hung, but the face surfaces seem hard enough that they don't dent easy. It paints up fine.

From the original questioner:
These doors will have plam faces and PVC taped edges.

From contributor D:
I've never seen the ultra light with a coated back, so you may have to lam both faces. It was stable and light, but for a commercial hinged application, the holding power is less, in my opinion, with the ultra light.

From contributor M:
An amazing thing about ultra light MDF is that its edge splits less easily that regular MDF. When you think about it, this makes sense. With a less dense core, there will be less of a tendency to split when an edge fastener is inserted.

However, even ultra light splits edges more than wood or even particleboard. It's best to use longer screws and drill larger pilot holes than you would for wood.

An amazing product would be ultra light with melamine faces. It would be strong and light with a good finish. It would chip much less on the bottom side of the blade than particleboard melamine. But I have only seen melamine on 1/4" MDF commonly and I have only once or twice seen it on thicker MDF. It is heavy as sin.

From contributor H:
We use ultralight MDF all the time. Edgebands and laminates the same as any other board. You must always laminate both sides of any board to prevent warp, but this stuff is so much lighter to work with. We only use concealed hinges, so edge never gets a screw. We only use Blum inserts hinges, and the ultra light functions perfectly.

From contributor S:
We do it a lot with Blum/Euro hinges and laminate both sides. We use #6 tnuts and machine screws instead of the sheet metal screws to hold the hinge on, and laminate over. That way we never have to worry about a screw coming out of the lightweight MDF and the door falling off.

From contributor M:
I don't know why some of you worry so much about the hinge screws on the back of doors failing. The cup of the hinge being bored into the door back almost eliminates this worry, since almost all force placed on doors in use is at a right angle to the axis of the screws, not in line to pull them out.

I have found that by far the greater danger of doors coming off is exhibited at the hinge mounting plate, from its being insufficiently held to the cabinet. That plate is not bored in, so all force on it is transferred to the mounting screws.

From contributor H:
I agree with you. We only use Blum cam mounting plates with nylon inserts. Not only are they almost impossible to rip out, but the cam height adjustment eliminates having to constantly loosen and tighten the mounting screws.

From contributor G:
I've used the ultra light MDF to make the raised panels for paint grade doors (stiles and rails from poplar). It works great but I think the glue in the ultra light is tough on cutters. Really cuts the weight of the doors.