This might seem like a daft question. I've got a huge pile of 15mm thick MDF (left behind by the previous owners), could I use that as baseboard material ?


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Pretty heavy stuff, as I'm sure you've discovered. Also, because it's so hard, it's neither easy nor fun to fasten track to it. Might work best if you rip it into "boards", say 40mm wide, and make the frame for the baseboard with it. If you do, make sure you a) drill pilot holes for the screws; and b) use drywall (gypsum board) screws, which have deeper, sharper threads than ordinary wood screws, hold better in MDF. Also helps to use glue at all joints.

But the frame will still be heavier than plain lumber. Unless cash is a real issue, I wouldn't use it for baseboard construction. You could make shelving out of it, but MDF eventually sags if it spans more than about


HTH wolf k.

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Wolf K

Thanks for the comments.

Framing is being done in 44x44 and 44xthirty something, but so far all I've got is the outside edge (that way I can easily measure up exactly how big a space I've got to play with.

Ah, the pile has already produced two substantial bookshelves (and the "design" ensures that there is no sagging).


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The sawdust from it is not healthy stuff to breathe in so take care. hasn't quite reached Asbestos levels of concern yet but some reckon similar style masks should be worn if working it with power tools which produce fine dust. G.Harman

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Accept the disadvantages said, but have used 10mm thick without problems. Got cork tiles stuck on and use nail punch for rail tacks. Although framing underneath is real Heath Robinson, had no problem with sagging after nearly

10 years. Also am a bit cavelier about dust etc.

Cheers, Simon

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The major problems with MDF (weight, doesn't remain flat, hard) have been mentioned. OTOH "heavy" is only a bad thing if you intend moving your baseboards. Heavy is great for minimising sound and vibration. I normally use 10-12mm chipboard for horizontal surfaces plus I add a

12mm sheet of "Pinex" (softboard) on top for sound reduction, pinning and the ability to cut drainage ditches (model, not actual ;-) and depressions. I would never make frames from thicker than 25mm nominal timber, but for (module) lengths greater than 120cm I go from 50 to 75 (nominal) depth. I keep meaning to get some 12mm ply which I would cut 10cm deep for framing, but the thought always returns after I've built my boards. Increasing framing from 50x25 to 50x50 is just incresing weight with little increase in bending strength.


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Greg Procter

You can use what you like :-)

15mm is going to be heavy so don't use it for a (trans)portable layout.

Cut into 5 or 10cm strips it will make good bracing for lighter wieght tops, with nice smooth surface and no warping.

If using track pins I would add a layer of fibre laminate floor underlay. This is about 1cm thick and takes track pins very easily. The pins are long enough to penetrate the underlying MDF by a few mm. A lot easier than trying to push atrack pin all the way into MDF.

MDF doesn't like moisture, so I would seal any surface likely to be affected during scenery work.


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