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Thread: How to add a wood "frame" to a veneered MDF panel?

  1. #1
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    How to add a wood "frame" to a veneered MDF panel?

    Hi All, I am going to make a table using 3/4" MDF with veneer top and bottom, about 16" x 40". What's the best way to "frame" this panel with about a 2" border? I was thinking of using biscuits and gluing with mitered corners. Any ideas from those who have done this much appreciated. Alan in Md.
    Alan T. Thank God for every pain free day you live.

  2. #2
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    Alan,

    Biscuits will work fine. I assume you want the hardwood edge and MDF/veneer in one plane--coplanar? Biscuits, cut properly in both pieces, will help quite a bit with alignment. Before glue up, be sure to go through several biscuits to find ones that fit how you like. You'll quickly find skinny ones and fat ones and "just right" ones. Sort them out ahead of time.

    One trick to think about at the veneer/hardwood meeting point is to take a v-groove bit in a router and just barely cut into the two pieces. This will help hid the glue line and add some sculptural interest to the top.

    Or, you could inlay something nice there.

    Is the short side of the MDF/veneer 'end-grain'? You might be able to cut something from a wide board to maintain the flow of the grain...if that interests you.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Padilla
    Alan,

    Biscuits will work fine. I assume you want the hardwood edge and MDF/veneer in one plane--coplanar? Biscuits, cut properly in both pieces, will help quite a bit with alignment. Before glue up, be sure to go through several biscuits to find ones that fit how you like. You'll quickly find skinny ones and fat ones and "just right" ones. Sort them out ahead of time.

    .
    Chris, Is there no problem with glue swelling the biscut slot and causing a hump along the edge? I spilled some coffee on my work table and it soaked into a piece of MDF I had sitting there. It caused a bit of swelling where it made contact 'cause I didn't drt it right away. I've never used a biscut so I don't know much about them...anyway, just wondering if the miosture from the glue would do the same.

    Greg

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Padilla
    Alan,

    Biscuits will work fine. I assume you want the hardwood edge and MDF/veneer in one plane--coplanar? Biscuits, cut properly in both pieces, will help quite a bit with alignment. Before glue up, be sure to go through several biscuits to find ones that fit how you like. You'll quickly find skinny ones and fat ones and "just right" ones. Sort them out ahead of time.

    One trick to think about at the veneer/hardwood meeting point is to take a v-groove bit in a router and just barely cut into the two pieces. This will help hid the glue line and add some sculptural interest to the top.

    Or, you could inlay something nice there.

    Is the short side of the MDF/veneer 'end-grain'? You might be able to cut something from a wide board to maintain the flow of the grain...if that interests you.

    Hi Chris, Thanks for all that info. I like the "V" bit idea but won't that expose the edge of the substrate? Maybe I could keep most of the cut on the solid wood side? I do like your idea of an inlay at the junction. I could just imagine a small strip of ebony or dyed wood there for some contrast and interest. Yes the narrow end will be end grain.

    Thanks again for all the help. Alan in Md.
    Alan T. Thank God for every pain free day you live.

  5. #5
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    Alan, for countertop edgings, which would also include a table edging, I prefer long splines. I use a 1/4" slot cutter in both the MDF (or ply) and the solid wood edging. It cuts a 1/2" deep slot on both pieces, then I rip a piece of 1/4" ply or hardboard 7/8" wide. It REALLY works well for alignment. I've only had to do minor sanding using this method, and have never sanded through a ply's veneer.

    I have even glued plywood edge to edge using this method. When I'm done, you can't tell my seam from a factory seam.

  6. #6
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    Alan
    I also used splines as Todd mentioned to join edging to veneered panel. I cut my groove in the cener of the veneered panel and slightly offset for the edging thus leaving the edge a little proud of the surface ,then hand scraped flush.

    Tom

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    Thanks Tod and Tom. I like the idea of a spline

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Prondzinski
    Alan
    I also used splines as Todd mentioned to join edging to veneered panel. I cut my groove in the cener of the veneered panel and slightly offset for the edging thus leaving the edge a little proud of the surface ,then hand scraped flush.

    Tom
    but I'm not sure about leaving the edge slightly proud of the surface. Don't get me wrong Tom; I know it makes sense. Then you can bring the edge perfectly even with the top but I just know I'm going to go through that 1/40" veneer when scrapinng. But I also realize that if I don't do it your way that some part of the top will be lower than the edge. Then you're sunk. I guess I'll try it your way after all. Thanks very much for the very helpful tips; I really appreciate it and I'll post a pic when it's done. Alan in Md.
    Alan T. Thank God for every pain free day you live.

  8. #8
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    Alan
    Thats why I leave it a little proud otherwise I would end up with a low spot.Also I used solid wood splines and not biscuts.Just be careful when scraping.try to scrape more on solid wood than on the veneer,then when you get close hand sand the rest. Thats how I just did my table top. Paduk with a quilted makore panel.

    Tom

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Prondzinski
    Alan
    Thats why I leave it a little proud otherwise I would end up with a low spot.Also I used solid wood splines and not biscuts.Just be careful when scraping.try to scrape more on solid wood than on the veneer,then when you get close hand sand the rest. Thats how I just did my table top. Paduk with a quilted makore panel.

    Tom
    Tom, One more question if I may. On the long side of a table top do you use one long spline or several smaller ones? And which way is the grain oriented on the spline? Thanks Alan
    Alan T. Thank God for every pain free day you live.

  10. #10
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    Alan
    I used one spline on the long side and several small ones on the radius. I have the grain running same direction as the edge band.


    Tom

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