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Wanted MDF expert?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by Nic Rhodes, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Right I am in the final stages of some MDF work and need some advice to cut down long experimentation.

    I need to work and finish some MDF.

    re working I will treat myself to a router, looking at 1000w machine to run with 6.4mm bits. I was tempted by a 1600w machine but realised that they take 8mm and 12 mm bits which seem rare unless you are dealing with a specialist toolshop (which I am not here). Am I right in thinking 6.4mm collets are the stansard size most people use?

    The router needs to do two jobs.

    1. Make a corner a nice curve at edge of shelf
    2. Make a skeletal pattern in an MDF 18mm shelf

    neither of these is rocket science, will a 'standard' 1000w machine cope with this? Quality bits obviously help, any recs?

    Re finishing

    I intend to use proper MDF primer, sand, primer again, sand and then apply a final finish. I probably want black but not too high gloss but I want it reasonably hard wearing (lots of bits of kit up here in the Hive). Has anyone any suggestions re what to use for both good wearing ability and finish quality?

    I was wondering about spraying several thin coats rather than brushing a paint. What is best?

    Thanks fo any guidance as it will probably save much time :)

    I have a cunning plan :)
     
  2. ShinObiWAN

    ShinObiWAN
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    Regarding the bits, go for Trend or Festool both are the best and offer a clean cut with no burn or 'rubbing'.

    You also want a 1/4 round bit with guide bearing for doing what you have described. They are available in various sizes but if you choose a large bit (read: large curved edges) then I would recommend at least a 1500w machine set to around 1/4 speed, faster definitely isn't better where routing it concerned. This will give a better cut and allow the router to be more easily controlled. As a rough guide the smaller the bit the faster the speed and so on.

    In case your interested I use a Ryobi 2050w router and its perfect for all but the most demanding jobs. You can pick one up for around £230. Others that I'd recommend are the Hitachi Industrial range which have green casings and the Axminster White 1650w router which is around £99 and a great buy.
    I'd strongly recommend against going for the B&Q, Wickes etc. Cheapies, whilst they may look like a bargain at £30-40, they are a poor substitute for decent router, they will char and provide less acurate cuts. Not to mention the fact that the bearings are 'very' fragile from experience, I went through 3 of these before buying the Ryobi. Definitely buy what you can afford and remember you get what you pay for.

    I use Zinsters Pure Shellac Sealer for all my projects, very good at locking the MDF surface to prevent moisture penetration which in turn causes 'swell'.
    For example if you fill and then simply paint a joint in MDF without sealing it will look fine as your working on it but in a few hours the joint reappears and, even worse, in a couple of days the gap increases and looks absolutely horrible.
    Sealing is the only way to prevent this and also allows a much finer finish to be applied.
    To be honest I apply the Shellac sealer with a brush, giving it 2 coats. I find that no sanding is needed at this stage. I then go onto apply my finish coats, sanding after around 2 coats to a smooth glass like finish using wet sanding and 800 grit paper. Afterwards finally applying the last coat then wet sand again with 1500 grit once this is done I go over this with rubbing compound to a brilliant and flat finish. A word of warning do not sand or rub the final coat of a matt finish, it looks aweful since it tends to look like a semi glossed mess, best just to give the final coat and leave it at that.
     
  3. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Thanks, lots of great stuff to mull over :)

    was considering the Axeminster (used their stuff before) and father in law is a top local customer of theirs and the

    Performance Power Pro CLM2050R Router 2050W from B and Q

    http://www.diy.com/diy/jsp/bq/produ...251&entryFlag=false&PRODID=150655&paintCatId=


    The collet size thing concerned me however, most bits were 6.4mm and the there are several machines around with only 8 and 12mm collects. 6.3 seems the 'standard' that is easier to get.
     
  4. ShinObiWAN

    ShinObiWAN
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    Hi,

    The trend bits that I have are 1/4" shank size and my router accepts both 1/4" and 1/2" bits with a simple collet change.

    Most routers and bits are 1/4" but the large bits are usually more often found with 1/2" shank size.

    Basically what all this means is I'd go with a 1/4" model with the a good set of Trend 1/4" bits unless you are planning to use some large bits, in which case go for a changable collet size router.
     
  5. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    6.3 or 6.4mm should equate to the industry standard of 1/4". Any 8mm or larger machine would probably come with reduction collets to take the 1/4" standard. I bought my Black and Decker router ten years ago and it probably equates to the cheapy home brand diy store routers you can buy today: it does burn mdf if you aren't very careful, but it does still work.

    Dave

    Edit: oops, ShinObiWAN beat me to it on describing collets

    D
     

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