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Tell me about MDO

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  • Tell me about MDO

    I have been doing some built ins lately (all paint grade) and my lumber salesman suggested MDO. I have never worked with it but it looks like a good alternative to the birch plywood I've been using. What do you guys think?
    Darrel Hunter

    "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." - Henry Ford

  • #2
    Re: Tell me about MDO

    Good stuff, I use combo core plywood for my veneer plywood.

    Tom
    http://chicagocraftsmen.org/2011/06/261.html

    Check with the AHJ, what we say doesn't matter.

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    • #3
      Re: Tell me about MDO

      MDO paints well (they make outdoor signs with it) but it is not as smooth as birch plywood and it costs about the same around here (approx $55-$60 per 3/4" sheet). Personally, I would stick with the birch plywood for built-ins.

      It is great plwood to work with as it is flat and stable unlike the 4x8 potato chips at the box stores.
      Bruce B.

      If it takes me twice as long to build something, does that make it "Half Fast" ?

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      • #4
        Re: Tell me about MDO

        The grain tends to telegraph through, at least from what I've seen. Maybe there are better quality cores. I usually use stain grade birch ply for carcases and mdf or mdx for panels. To me mdo is for exterior paint-grade panels when the edges are covered.

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        • #5
          Re: Tell me about MDO

          Originally posted by mike maines View Post
          The grain tends to telegraph through, at least from what I've seen. Maybe there are better quality cores. I usually use stain grade birch ply for carcases and mdf or mdx for panels. To me mdo is for exterior paint-grade panels when the edges are covered.
          I agree with Mike. I've only used it on exterior stuff. I'd stick with the birch ply or maple ply. Try and stay away from the Chinese ply. It really likes to delaminate.
          ~Kent~

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          • #6
            Re: Tell me about MDO

            Originally posted by mike maines View Post
            The grain tends to telegraph through, at least from what I've seen. Maybe there are better quality cores. I usually use stain grade birch ply for carcases and mdf or mdx for panels. To me mdo is for exterior paint-grade panels when the edges are covered.
            Agree with this. It's a great exterior paint grade material, there are better options for interior.

            zak

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            • #7
              Re: Tell me about MDO

              Originally posted by Kent Brobeck View Post
              I agree with Mike. I've only used it on exterior stuff. I'd stick with the birch ply or maple ply. Try and stay away from the Chinese ply. It really likes to delaminate.
              Not only that, but the surface finish ply is so thin that a little bit aggressive sanding and you've gone right through it and that pink adhesive now shows and bleeds through most paint finishes.

              Phil
              It's better to try and fail, than fail to try.

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              • #8
                Re: Tell me about MDO

                I find that there is a variety of quality differences in MDO. The local yards have been getting very different quality surface veneers.

                MDO should be flatter and more consistent than any shop grade plywood. That said, it's getting harder to find the stuff being made well. Personally I have had very bad experiences with Birch, Maple, and Poplar plywoods when painted. Mostly from the veneer splitting a few weeks to a few months down the line. That doesn't happen with MDO, although now you have to find MDO that doesn't have roll marks.

                Any grain showing through is because the supplier is storing it in a very wet environment and the sheets should be returned as rejects.
                http://www.lavrans.com

                "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts; for support rather than illumination." -Andrew Lang

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                • #9
                  Re: Tell me about MDO

                  Originally posted by Lavrans View Post
                  .... now you have to find MDO that doesn't have roll marks.

                  Any grain showing through is because the supplier is storing it in a very wet environment and the sheets should be returned as rejects.
                  This is my experience also.

                  I've used it for exterior work, and get it pre-primed. It has a paper face laminated on, so grain shouldn't show, though roller marks do.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Tell me about MDO

                    Same as all sheet goods, used for cabinet work

                    All exposed edges need lipping of one sort or another (or in the case of MDF) additional work to exposed/machined edges to bring them to an acceptable finish.

                    In european cabinets the lipping is direct to the exposed edges. In north american face frame cabinets, the face frame is the "lipping"
                    Limey Carpenter

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                    • #11
                      Re: Tell me about MDO

                      Thanks for the info guys. I can get the MDO ABOUT $10 cheaper a sheet from my lumber yard. I took a look at the stuff they had in stock, it was preprimed white and looked pretty decent. Most of what I build has face frames. I have a closet I've been working with the home owner on. They are trying to decide between me building it and getting one from closets by design (melamine). I think I may try the MDO for the panels. The only thing I'm a little worried about is the primer coat. I've had some bad experiences using stuff that's preprimed and generally like to prime myself so I know I have a good primer coat that's not going to give me any issues.
                      Darrel Hunter

                      "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." - Henry Ford

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                      • #12
                        Re: Tell me about MDO

                        I like MDO, works great on built-ins. I think it's better than cabinet ply for painting.

                        Priming over preprimed is a big debate. Most of my painter friends don't do it unless they can see through the prime coat.
                        Nothing simple is ever easy

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                        • #13
                          Re: Tell me about MDO

                          I recently used 6 sheets of 3/4 MDO non primed for a mudroom project in my own house. Reasons I went with MDO - price was over $10 cheaper than birch, flat and smooth, takes paint really well. I was really impressed with my results (being the first cabinets I've ever built) and will use it again in the future.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Tell me about MDO

                            Originally posted by dlhunter View Post
                            Thanks for the info guys. I can get the MDO ABOUT $10 cheaper a sheet from my lumber yard. I took a look at the stuff they had in stock, it was preprimed white and looked pretty decent. Most of what I build has face frames. I have a closet I've been working with the home owner on. They are trying to decide between me building it and getting one from closets by design (melamine). I think I may try the MDO for the panels. The only thing I'm a little worried about is the primer coat. I've had some bad experiences using stuff that's preprimed and generally like to prime myself so I know I have a good primer coat that's not going to give me any issues.

                            Which lumberyard did you use? I've been curious about MDO for a while. The stuff at Delaware County Supply didn't look quite smooth enough to be worthy.

                            Thanks
                            Josh O.


                            "If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful after all. "

                            - Michelangelo-

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                            • #15
                              Re: Tell me about MDO

                              Originally posted by jobercian View Post
                              Which lumberyard did you use? I've been curious about MDO for a while. The stuff at Delaware County Supply didn't look quite smooth enough to be worthy.

                              Thanks
                              I checked it out at Tague lumber in Media. They only had a few sheets on hand and they looked like they would need a quick sand but no worse than the birch ply I picked up from home depot for my last job. I see you're in Berwyn. The job is actually in Malvern. Do you work alone or have a crew? I recently relocated to this area and could use a few good contacts to work with or refer people to if its a job I can't handle.
                              Darrel Hunter

                              "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." - Henry Ford

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