Finished End Material For Painted Cabinets?


From original questioner:

Wondering what you kind of plywood you guys use for finished ends on painted work? I normally use a good grade of plywood but the "good grade" is getting to be not so good anymore. Considerable amount of defects to fix that is hard to see beforehand. I'm thinking mdo might be the best choice if my supplier carries it. Mdo is basically a plywood with a thin layer of mdf over it. Any thoughts?

From contributor Bo

I have started using a face frame with an applied panel on almost all exposed ends for this very reason. Paint & stain. Good plywood is not that good anymore. Occasionally I will use 1/4 MDF applied on ends that are in areas where the base & overhead butt up against for paint jobs.

From contributor mi

Same problem here. I recently used a combination of paneled ends and 1/4 mdf on the other finished ends. ( this was a cherry job and the cherry veneered mdf was flat and beautiful) My supplier also has a product called 'FX' which is a 1/2" plywood core w/ a1/8" mdf layer under the final veneer if its stained.

From contributor Ja

Getting good quality of plywood is difficult for furnitures.My house is being renovated and
denver structural engineer got me best wood for furniture,it has fine colour and texture is awesome.

From contributor D

I use WPF Maple on grade or certified it has a thin ply of mdf under the Maple skins and paints and finishes well no voids under the faces .

From contributor Je

I'm just wrapping up my first project trying out a product with hdf faces on a poplar veneer core…PLUMA ply. I have to say the stuff works very well. I also have parts that are typical A1 grade maple and as you know, even if it looks good sanded, you get all sorts of little hiccups once the finish coat goes on.

The one issue I had was the finish took a LONG time top dry initially. I ended up spraying very light first coats and then followed with normal coats. It seems to have worked and the finish on all the HDF parts is now very nice. All the normal veneer parts had to be sanded a second time before they were acceptable:(

Last note is that it is more expensive than normal ply. However having now used it I think the labor savings in prep time will more than make up for the additional costs.

good luck,

From contributor Mi

So far it's not been a huge deal because most of my finished ends are raised panel but I've got a mission style coming up that will be flat so I have to come up with something. A local sign maker got me on the mdo years ago which is what he used for his signs. Probably need to discuss this with my rep to see what's available.

From contributor JM

Why not just use MDF. Its cheap, flat, stable, and takes paint very well.

From contributor Je

MDO is just plywood with a kraft paper face on it. While it does do away with some of the grain issues I've always found just as many defects, (dents, divots etc.), as with plywood. Which makes sense as it's basically ply with a sheet of paper on it.

MDF can be good depending on situation. Don't want it in bathrooms or kitchens, but for dry areas it can be just the ticket.


From contributor Mi

JM, not going to say that I've never used mdf as a finished side but if there is ever any water in the floor the mdf won't hold up as well as plywood. I think that's the reason for Jeff's response. I like to use mdf for the panel of doors but that's not around water. And yes Jeff, I have seen mdo with defects as well. You are correct on that, I've also seem mdf with defects.

From contributor ca

order classic core from Paxton or Liberty in KC has a veneer core and mdf just below that top face. Takes paint well. No telegraphing. Using A-1 is a waste of profit and not necessary. You could get away with shop grade birch with a prime filler and block sand flat. Re-coat and may be plenty.

From contributor Mi

This is the first I've heard of a layer of mdf under a veneer layer, didn't know they made it that way. What I'm seeing mostly in my ply is not in the core but slits in the veneer. And honestly you can't see them until it's primed.

From contributor ca

Call your supplier and get a sample of the classic core. We spray cabinets and see the same on the first coat. Check with your coatings supplier and get some advice. I know using a catalyzed product we are careful to shoot a thinned primmer and spot putty some of the awful areas and then lay it on again sealing it before a top coat

From contributor Da

We ordered a unit of plywood core with the mdf crossbands without the outer veneer on it. It is less expensive than buying it with the veneer on it. We have done 4 or 5 kitchens with it and it paints very well. It is not a stock item so it has to be purchased in unit quantities.