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MDF raised panels2/5
I am considering going to MDF raised panels for painted product. What would that do to my tooling. We currently use Great Lakes interlock carbide inserts and we get great life out of them. I always thought MDF would significantly reduce my tool life.
I have an innova insert panel cutting head and have made interior passage doors with it. The last job I did had 1 1/4" mdf panels with only a 1/4" dado for the panel compared to the regular 1/2". These are 1 3/4" doors. The point is the panel profile was very deep and I was able to cut the profile in one pass. I think cutting end grain on most hardwoods would dull the cutter faster. I think it is worth mentioning to prime and sand the profile before they go into the door. The profiling leaves the mdf fuzzy and is really hard to sand once in the door
I use a Byrd head and have a set of knives I use just for mdf panels,they last a long time.Also,make sure you use super refined mdf ,and not the standard mdf.
I have a set of cutters just for MDF. They will cut MDF for a long time, but after one cut in MDF they are to dull to cut wood until sharpened.
Randy explained it best. The mdf does dull the cutter. However, the mdf does not require a super sharp cutter to get a decent finish. It technically does not achieve a good finish. The wood requires a sharper cutter to get a good finish because of chipout.
We have one set for wood and one set for mdf.
Definitely use the refined mdf, the interior of regular mdf is porous and will not finish well. Ignore all of that old information about sealing with profile with bondo, glue sizing, or sheetrock compound. Those were used decades ago when the refined mdf did not exist.
Simply sand the profile and exposed edges with 240 grit. Spot prime the edges with primer. Sand with 320 and then prime the entire panel.
You want to use a primer that is thin and drys hard. BIN shellac primer works well, as do most of the catalyzed primers.
Also make sure to increase feed speed. You don't want that mdf creeping through your cutters. That will kill them quicker than anything else. We ran them almost twice the speed of hardwood.