Whether to Lay Up Your Own Veneered MDF

      Pre-veneered panels are more economical, but there may be reasons for preferring a custom product. April 20, 2007

Which would be more cost efficient to make flat slab cabinet doors - buy MDF and veneer, let's say maple, and veneer both sides, or buy pre-veneered MDF? I've found 2-sided maple veneered MDF for $62/sheet. I can get 3/4 paint grade MDF for $20/sheet. So, is $40 extra per sheet worth it?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor R:
$20 for bare MDF, then another $65+/- for maple veneer. I just did a kitchen with slab maple doors. I used MDF core maple with maple edge tape. Your price of $62 per sheet is right about what I paid also. Even if buying bare MDF and veneering it yourself saves you a couple dollars on the surface, you're going to have more labor in it, thence raising your overall cost.

From contributor J:
In most cases, mill-run sheet goods will be much cheaper than custom veneering if you factor in all costs including labor. The possible exception would be if you have an extremely high waste factor in getting out sizes from standard size sheets.

The main reasons people go to a custom-veneered component are:
1. They want a non-standard core.
2. They want the component edged before face veneering.
3. They want a non-standard face match.
4. They want a non-standard face veneer (species, cut or figure).
5. They want a better quality face veneer.
6. They want a thicker face veneer.
7. They want the faces of all of the components coordinated according to their place in the installation (what's known as a "blueprint-match").

If custom-veneered components are required, many small shops find that using a custom lay-up house is more cost-effective than laying up veneer in-house.

From contributor R:
We made sure to cut doors and drawer fronts out of the same piece of wood, to keep all of the grain patterns aligned. Obviously, that's impossible to do all the way around, but we matched up as best as possible. We did have a little more scrap than normally out of sheet, but the overall look was worth it, certainly not what they would have gotten from a mass produced cabinet, and the customers really like the touch.

From contributor W:
Northern Contours makes MDF core maple veneered slab doors that are bookmatched QS maple for about $13 per sqft. The edges are 1/8" solid wood, then they veneer for a seamless look.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: Cabinet Door Construction

  • KnowledgeBase: Veneer

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2020 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article