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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pa (chester county)
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    476

    Default 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?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    5,576

    Default 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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Plymouth, Ma.
    Posts
    131

    Default 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" ?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    portland, maine
    Posts
    713

    Default 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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Near the Burgh, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,314

    Default Re: Tell me about MDO

    Quote 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~

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    east bay, california
    Posts
    91

    Default Re: Tell me about MDO

    Quote 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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Danbury area of western CT
    Posts
    4,440

    Default Re: Tell me about MDO

    Quote 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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    11,339

    Default 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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    down the shore
    Posts
    2,215

    Default Re: Tell me about MDO

    Quote 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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Kent UK
    Posts
    3,152

    Default 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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pa (chester county)
    Posts
    476

    Default 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.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    705

    Default 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

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Burlington, MA
    Posts
    73

    Default 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.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Berwyn, PA
    Posts
    766

    Default Re: Tell me about MDO

    Quote 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-

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Kennett Square, Pa (chester county)
    Posts
    476

    Default Re: Tell me about MDO

    Quote 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.

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