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MDF or Domestic shop maple ply for veneer substrate?8/29
I think i asked this before in a different forum, but here goes again. About to start some veneer work for a kitchen, here are the specs:
- 10mil paperbacked anigre veneer
I have no experience with vacuum presses and dont own one, after researching i have come to realize they are the way to go, but now the job is way underway and there is no time left to order one ( we are in the bahamas).
I realize Mdf substrate would have been flatter/better but i have not ever trusted mdf to hold the screws for the hinges and i dont know how the client would take if if they knew their 'hi end' kitchen was mdf.
Problem with plywood is it's not nearly as flat as you would think it is. If you take a piece and send it through the widebelt a couple times you see just how wavy and inconsistent it is, which may make it tricky to press between cauls?
Second problem is veneer core usually won't stay as flat as mdf when you cut it up. So you have to ask yourself what's more high end.....a kitchen with nice flat doors, or one with wavy, not quite so flat doors? I don't know that a real "high end" kitchen has even been built with veneer core doors....course it depends on how you define "high end" I guess?
Sounds like it's too late now, but in the future i'd certainly recommend using a vac press as well as skipping screws in doors altogether. Blum hinges can be either pressed in, or better yet, use the Inserta's which you just clip in! Other hinge companies also make similar products. There are of course other ways to veneer without using a press, but I'll leave that to the others with more experience in that process.
I find it amusing to be discussing mdf or plywood as defining "high end"..
JeffD is right on with his viewpoints on the use of plywood and why it should not be considered for this project - I'm assuming we are talking about doors here, correct?
In my experience - poplar core is the least desirable for any panel that necessitates the need for flatness (ie: a door vs a secured end panel). Poplar just moves way too much (imho).
As to screws holding in mdf - I am assuming since it's a "high end" project, European style hinges would not be employed - but rather quality mortised butt hinges, (not those cheesy "no-mortise" do-it-yourself garage shop type). So - we are talking screws into end grain of the mdf as opposed to the Euro style hinges that utilize screws into the face(back?) of the panel. A small bit of epoxy squeezed into each pre-drilled hinge hole before inserting your screws will give it a bit more holding power and lessen the chances of them loosening down the road.
Guess the term "high end" is recognized differently from one shop to another. I smile whenever I see frameless kitchen cabinets (fabricated with flake core melamine boxes) advertised as "high end", usually with outsourced solid wood pre-finished doors and lots of gaudy moldings, purchased cnc carved and face applied onlays, capitals and corbels splattered endlessly all over the place.. I guess it's just the purist in me. Not that I have anything against frameless construction, but I wonder if pricing is now the gauge to measure the distinction between "high" and "low" end cabinetry rather than construction methods, materials and applications of joinery...
Not looking for a war here. Just expressing the opinion of a sixty two year old who has come through the ranks since age twelve.
My advising answer to the OP - I say go with the MDF (double refined at the minimum). Your customer will be remarkably silent about any warping as that is your best chance of not having it in the first place! :-) And given the veneer you selected and the time and labor involved to apply I don't see the core selection as any issue the homeowner would be concerned about as this is in no way a cheap job... The main issue should be worrying about the longevity of flatness of your doors - that's what his discerning eye will see - not the core.
ML, you make some interesting points and the term "high-end" is certainly a tricky one to define. I think your connecting it to cost is right on! I think there's at least two extremes of high end, one is the all hand built 5 piece door inset beaded face frame kitchen with custom stain etc., etc., etc.. On the other end of the spectrum are the Italian kitchens popular in certain parts of my area with the high gloss slab doors and frameless boxes which cost more than a single family home in some parts of this country! I'm not making a judgement for or against either, just my observations of what's going on in the market;>) In reality I think many of these posts should avoid use of 'high-end" as a descriptive term, though I confess I've probably used it more than once myself:>( We just need some way to say, "I'm not building the cheapest stuff out there".
I assumed Euro hinges as I just can't picture using tradition butt hinges on flat slab doors? That would be, well, an..... interesting look for sure! If the plan is to use butt hinges, I would probably go the distance and dowel them for strength and longevity. Or even better, slot and glue in a hardwood strip before veneering. Then again I just can't see myself ever using a butt hinge on a flat panel door.....but that's just me;>)
Jeff, i only just realized i left out details ,, yes i am using blum euro hinges, not butt hinges. It wasnt until about 10 minutes after submitting my thread that i remembered the inserta hinges so thats that about screws. As for 'high end' , i agree with you and ML ,, thats why i ALWAYS refer to it with quotation marks, because its how customers refer to their kitchens more so than me running around to everyone around town saying hey we build 'hi end'. ML im all ears buddy, i have been in and around workshops since i was 18 and am now 36 with my own shop and would like to think that we put out some good stuff, the phones are always ringing for jobs to go check out and VERY often its new customers saying they cant deal with the crap that the other local shops put out that also claim to be hi end,, this does not mean that i am implying we are 'that' good,,, but maybe the other guys are just 'that' bad? I am not thin skinned at all,, i appreciate all you guys' honesty and will always listen to another guy share his opinion, even if i dont agree with it or even if i do!
I am constantly battling with the angel on one shoulder and the little bad boy on the next when it comes to quality vs. profits.
I have gotten mine to agree on "quality profits"
Beau D, please elaborate more on that ''quality profits''' ,,, i take (or at least listen to) any advice i can get,,,, especially if its free :)
Actually that was a joke, but then your response made me have to think about how to define the term if I had been serious. Looking at our business model, we always focus on quality. Sometimes we would take it on the chin when we rejected our own product. The process leading up to the error would be reviewed in order to find out if there was a way to prevent or reduce the chance of the error re-occuring. When the economy went soft here, we still had a lot of work, we were getting larger and larger pieces of smaller and smaller pies. We attributed this to the fact that the wealthy travel in small circles and the experience our previous clients had was positive and we were recommended to their friends. Hence, in the end, quality profited us.