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Thread: MDX or plywood or ??

  1. #1
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    MDX or plywood or ??

    I am building (modifying actually) a 3' by 6' bench to be both an outfeed table for my cabinet saw and a work bench. This is not the work of art workbenches I have read about here that many of you make -- but should work well for what I need. The top is first a piece of plywood and to that I will attach an old solid wood fire door I have (the combined thickness of these two layers will be approx 2 7/8") The top layer is my question -- I plan to use some sheet product of about 3/4" thickness which should give me enough mass on the top to provide a good work surface. Any suggestions on what to use for this top layer? I read about MDX here a lot but haven't used that product yet. The legs and understructure are all welded steel -- it is stable. I purchased a Veritas large front vise that I will mount on the end farthest from the saw. There will be dog holes in the top surface. I have some 1 x 4 Oak that I will probably use around the top perimeter. Also plan to purchase some maple for the vise jaws, does that sound correct? Thanks for any advice. Ed

  2. #2
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    I haven't heard about MDX either - Medium Density Extremeboard?

  3. #3
    I think Ed is talking about MDF and my entire top is made from 4 laminated 3/4" layers of it. It supports my two vises and the dog holes work fine. I hit the top with a 50/50 mix of BLO and mineral spirits about 3 or 4 times, let it gas-off for about a week and then paste waxed it. It has held up very well BUT, I do have the edges supported with a fir frame. The edges of MDF will not hold up well unsupported.

    When connecting the layers, keep a map of any metal fasteners if used. This will avoid problems as you add miter grooves or dog holes in the future. I stuck my map in an envelope and stapled it under the bench so I won't lose it or put it somewhere "special" . It has already come in handy a couple times.
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


  4. #4
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    Thanks Glenn for knowing what I should have said rather than what I said. Thanks also for the info. I will try MDF on the top surface, probably flatter than plywood and a tougher surface. I plan on supporting the edges with 1 x 4 oak. What is BLO? Your map tip will also be followed. Ed

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Calkins View Post
    Thanks Glenn for knowing what I should have said rather than what I said. Thanks also for the info. I will try MDF on the top surface, probably flatter than plywood and a tougher surface. I plan on supporting the edges with 1 x 4 oak. What is BLO? Your map tip will also be followed. Ed
    Boiled Linseed Oil. I took this tip from a lot of folks but mostly Jim Becker convinced me with his long term experience with surfaces being treated this way. Now that I've had some time with them, I too am a proponent. If something goes horribly wrong, just repair, re-BLO and re-wax ;-)

    Also, I have gotten a couple good dings in spots regardless of taking care. The next time I'm using epoxy for something I just dribble a little in the ding(s), sand when dry and re-wax that spot. I have done a total re-wax (without stripping the previous coat) twice in all this time and glue, spilled shellac and such just pop right off.
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


  6. #6
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    Just for the sake of conversation Ed, there is a product called MDX, it is a full exposure exterior version of MDF (Medium Density Exterior versus Medium Density Fiber board). MDX is a bit spendy and would be complete over kill unless your outfeed table doubles as a drinking game table at college frat parties occasionally. Barring that possibility MDF makes a good skin for an outfeed table or a utility work bench. Melamine makes a nice outfeed table too but a crappy work surface being so slick if your purpose is to use the outfeed as a work bench.

  7. #7
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    There's actually a newer product that is an "outdoor" type of MDF, which is probably what MDX is (X referring to "exterior," kind of like the X in CDX plywood). This "outdoor" version of MDF uses moisture resistant resins to bind it together.

    Not sure I'm brave enough to try any type of fiberboard product outside, though.

    Jason

    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    I think Ed is talking about MDF and my entire top is made from 4 laminated 3/4" layers of it. It supports my two vises and the dog holes work fine. I hit the top with a 50/50 mix of BLO and mineral spirits about 3 or 4 times, let it gas-off for about a week and then paste waxed it. It has held up very well BUT, I do have the edges supported with a fir frame. The edges of MDF will not hold up well unsupported.

    When connecting the layers, keep a map of any metal fasteners if used. This will avoid problems as you add miter grooves or dog holes in the future. I stuck my map in an envelope and stapled it under the bench so I won't lose it or put it somewhere "special" . It has already come in handy a couple times.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason White View Post
    There's actually a newer product that is an "outdoor" type of MDF, which is probably what MDX is (X referring to "exterior," kind of like the X in CDX plywood). This "outdoor" version of MDF uses moisture resistant resins to bind it together.

    Not sure I'm brave enough to try any type of fiberboard product outside, though.

    Jason
    I used some bead board made of MDX as part of a bathroom remodel for a client. Used regular MDF in a mud room and hallway, and the MDX version in the adjacent bathroom. I wouldn't hesitate to use it having tested it. I glued some pieces together, soaked them in a 5 gallon bucked, left them out doors in that bucket for weeks submerged, pulled them out, completely unaffected by the exposure. There is also a mid grade of water resistant MDF suitable for exterior indirect exposure applications like porch ceilings, maybe soffit lining as well? Its a bit cheaper, never tried it.

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