Some furniture makers use MDF and even command top prices, but in our opinion MDF is not a suitable material for furniture.
MDF is an acronym for Medium Density Fiberboard, also known as particleboard. A manufactured material made essentially of glue and sawdust, the material has a weight and strength similar to real wood but there are many differences. It can be very difficult for the average furniture buyer to see the difference between a carefully veneered MDF board and a solid wood top.
MDF can absorb moisture, and when it does it expands often ruining the surface of the "wood". Typically covered with a laminated wood surface, the expanding or swelling MDF can distort or even delaminate the surface permanently ruining the appearance of the furniture. If you've ever remodeled a kitchen and removed cabinets, you might have noticed that MDF disintegrates into a smelly dust.
MDF furniture might look like wood but it is essentially fake furniture, a cheap and temporary way of having some good-looking furniture, but not for long. Set a glass on a laminate-over-MDF table and see what happens. Laminate over MDF cannot be re-finished, because there is nothing to refinish so the furniture is ruined. Imagine the consumers' surprise when trying to repair or re-finish a piece of this type of furniture - a good sanding will not only remove the dent or watermark but also the veneer.
Another problem with MDF is that is internally weak. Screws or nails placed into the material have a tenuous grip, and once a screw becomes loose, for example, only replacing it with a larger screw will have any effect. When attempting to move MDF furniture, extreme care must be taken and even so MDF furniture will be destroyed if moved often enough. A little pressure and either the screws will strip out, or, a chunk of MDF will pop out still attached to the screw.
It is crucial that furniture not contain any MDF used for any part of the furniture that will bear stress or contain joinery, or that will be a surface to set things upon. Laminated MDF is not acceptable for the top of a desk or table.
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