Is MDF-Based Paneling Safe to 'Forge?

My wife, who has the most awesome ideas for the 'Forge, has planned to do a number of decorative picture ( Photo) boards as presents for friends and family, and given the popularity of Shiplap, we wanted to try and use a similar theme.

I’ve managed to find a printed MDF paneling at our local Home Depot that, as long as it is safe, would be great from an economics standpoint (4x8 foot sheet is $20), and looks just like what she wants.

I know there are no issues lasering the MDF, but since it’s unclear what material is being used for the printed front, I just wanted to check with the experts here to validate that it should be OK - both from a health and safety perspective for us, and also for the 'forge.

I had know idea (although I probably should have guessed) how challenging getting info from Home Depot would be. No info on the website, and the staff there gave me incorrect (I believe) info on the manufacturer, and while I’ve confirmed that the board itself is made by Georgia Pacific, I haven’t been able to find a MSDS for the specific paneling board - but others which appear very similar confirm MDF, a small presence of UREA and Formaldehyde, other materials below detectable levels but no reference to Vinyl. (happily)

White Pine Panel at Home Depot is the link to the website.

The paneling looks like this:

key components from what I BELEIEVE to be the MSDS from the Georgia Pacific website (it’s really hard to actually find which products go to which MSDSs.) are:

Chemical name Common name and synonyms CAS number %

WOOD/WOOD DUST Not Assigned 65 - 85

FORMALDEHYDE 50-00-0 0 - < 0.1

Other components below reportable levels 10 - 30


The sticker on the back of the board is:

I’ve sent a request to Georgia Pacfiic for a Safety sheet based on the UPC, and will share back with the group when I hear anything, but wanted to reach out and get others’ thoughts.

Assuming it’s safe, it could be a very inexpensive material for some fun, creative projects.


I’ve used veneered mdf without issue. You would run into a problem if the laminate was PVC based. Otherwise, I think it’s fine provided your exhaust is sufficient.

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I’m with @emacartoon, if you are sure that the outer laminate is not chlorinated give it a try.

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For added peace of mind, you could always run some easy tests. Here’s a good article from Hackaday.


Thanks for the link -helpful stuff. Liked video… “I’m Adam, reminding you not to die.”!

Here’s the MDS - from what I know, I think it should be fine. Anyone here see anything that would indicate otherwise?


Wood Products (UF Bonded) - 1984.pdf (346.0 KB)

I’m not an expert on this, but I don’t see anything that would cause any alarm as long as ventilation is sufficient. I mean, I wouldn’t huff the fumes, but I don’t see anything that would harm me (an asthmatic) or the laser.