The choice between MDF and PLY can seem confusing, and it quite often is !
Both are made from wood by – products but are very different.
PLY - Tends to be stronger, more durable with many grades and thicknesses available, mainly used for cabinets, shelving and build-ins, it is ideal for staining and clear coating, thus showing graining off to its best advantage.
MDF - Comes mainly in three types, lightweight, standard and high density, it is often seen as a cheaper alternative to Ply. Smoother and very consistent, easier to paint or spray and good for routering if you fancy a bit more detail for your chosen project.
On the downside it doesn’t hold screws too well and due to its’ density can be heavy.
MDF we absolutely love to work with is Fibrapan Hydrofugo by Finsa (Italy).
So either would make a good cost effective option for your next project, without the need to -
TRY before you PLY !!
This unexciting but necessary product was thought to have been invented in 13th century China by using natural gum to stick crushed shells or sand to parchment. Moving forward several centuries to the 1800’s crushed glass was used to make a product still in use as today’s glasspaper.
Shark skin is a natural sandpaper, Dermal denticles on the skin give a rough texture which imitate tiny grooved teeth, but are in fact placoid scales. These scales do not increase in size as the shark grows, more of the same are produced. A small shark / dogfish could produce skin that is 80 – 220 grit which will cut in one direction and burnish in the other.
Commercial or Industrial grades of sandpaper are available. The main difference being, Industrial grade uses higher quality materials for all three of its components, these being the material used as grit, the backing material (paper) and the glue to adhere the other two together.
There are five main types, with a large range of grit grades available.
Glass/flint paper, Garnet paper – probably best finish for wood, but slower than some others, Aluminium Oxide ,Silicon Carbide, Cerami.c
Whilst this mind boggling array of information may have gone over your head (as it did mine) the reality is much simpler in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing.
In Short – To avoid your fine finish going gritty – get the right grade !