How Is MDF Made?

mdf

Do you know what MDF is? Have you ever wondered how it is made?

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which carpenters use for many of your cabinetry projects, has a unique creation process that makes it the sturdy material we know it to be! Our cabinet suppliers in Mission are here to give you all the ins and outs of the production process of MDF.

What Is MDF?

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is made of residual components, including:

  • Sawdust
  • Wood chips
  • Wood fibers
  • Wood shavings

While MDF is made of separated fibers, it can be used as a building material similar to plywood. Additionally, the material is stronger and much denser than particle board.

Overall, MDF is created from the bits and pieces leftover from industrial milling, which are usually compacted together to create MDF panels, which are then sanded and cut down into different dimensions. Be sure to read our blog to learn about the advantages, disadvantages, and projects you may use MDF for.

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Breakdown of Materials

MDF is usually made from breaking down hardwood and softwood. Medium-density fiberboard is typically broken down as follows:

  • About 8% water
  • About 82% wood fiber
  • About 1% paraffin wax
  • About 9% urea-formaldehyde resin glue

How Density Is Determined

The density of MDF is usually anywhere from 500 kg/m3(31 lb/ft3) and 1,000 kg/m3 (62 lb/ft3). It can be categorized as light, standard, or high density, but may vary due to the type of wood materials used to create the MDF panel.

For example, a thick MDF panel made from softwood fiber panels may be considered high density when around 700–720 kg/m3. However, panels of the same density made of hardwood fibers would not be regarded as high density.

All About Fiber Production

To create MDF, it must first go through a specific process to ensure that the materials can be used to create panels.

The fiber production process usually goes as follows:

  1. A large magnet is used to remove any magnetic impurities from the raw materials.
  2. Raw materials are compressed to remove any moisture and placed through a refiner, which shreds them into smaller pieces.
  3. Resin is added to help the fibers bond. At this stage, the material and resin are placed into a large dryer and heated by gas or oil.
  4. All of it is taken through a drum compressor with computerized controls to determine the strength and density of the material made and cut to size with an industrial saw while warm.
  5. Typically, fibers and vessels are usually manufactured through a dry process, where the chips are compacted into small plugs, heated up for 120 seconds to soften the lignin in the wood, and then placed into a defibrator, which separates the fibers using the defibrator’s grooves.
  6. After the defibrator process, the pulp enters an expanding circular pipeline, known as a ‘blowline.’
  7. Wax is injected in the first stage, which coats and distributes the fibers evenly.
  8. Urea-formaldehyde resin is then added as the primary bonding agent. The material then dries and expands. It can be used immediately or stored.

How MDF Sheets Are Made

Here is the process by which MDF sheets are made:

  1. Dry fiber is sucked into the top of a ‘pendistor,’ which distributes it into a mat below.
  2. The mat is pre-compressed and taken to a continuous hot press or cut into large sheets for a multi-opening hot press.
    a. The hot press is used to activate the resin and determine the strength of the sheet.
  3. This pressing cycle operates in stages. The mat thickness is compressed about 1.5 times the finished board’s thickness and compressed even further to determine the board’s profile.
  4. The MDF is then cooled in a star dryer or cooling carousel, trimmed, and sanded.

Contact Electi Cabinet Supply for High-Quality MDF!

We hope that you have learned more about how MDF is made! We vouch for this innovative and sturdy material, and invite you to contact us soon to purchase some high-quality MDF from our very own selection!

No matter the type of MDF you need, Electi Cabinet Supply is here to give you the very best for any cabinet project you have in mind!

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