Thought on wood with a mdf core

What are your thoughts on wood with a mdf core ? I don’t use mdf because of the mess. I like the real deal wood but with prices through the roof I was tempted to buy some. How would you go about your settings as I assume it would be a pain to figure them out using 2 products in 1 ?

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I have no problem with mdf products.


All Medium Proofgrade ply except the new “Light” versions are wood ply over an mdf core.


… “Medium” Proofgrade has an MDF core, but not “thick”, but “draftboard” is MDF.


MDF is a lot messier than typical woods when engraving, but it’s not that much worse than hardwood when cutting, about on par with most sappy exotics like purpleheart and bubinga. As for my thoughts… I don’t prefer MDF core because I don’t like the look of the edges.


MDF is homogenous compared to plywood that has voids and filler in them that wouldn’t cut. Few surprises.


I use it all the time. And, as said, the draftwood ‘is’ MDF. Requires a bit more frequent cleaning but cuts well.


I’ve cut 1/4" MDF using the “Thick Draftboard” settings, several times. If I forget to turn on the air filter, but have the GF fan off (by telling it that I have the filter attached), then it is a huge smokey mess, and the machine needs an immediate cleaning to get rid of all the residue. If I have the filter on, I can see the smoke in the GF, but the filter takes care of it all.

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Cutting MDF with a filter can fill up your filter really fast. Unless you use some form of pre-filtering, then your pre-filter will fill up first with all the glue residue.

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True, and a good reminder. As a general rule, I prefer plywood over MDF for a variety of reasons. I don’t have a pre-filter set up, but that does seem like a good idea. While MDF residue may fill the filter faster, I wouldn’t cut MDF without a filter, because then you have all that residue uncontained, which seems worse.

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I have a filter hooked up for the window . My major concern is the workability aspect. Wood providing its solid or glued will cut, engrave ect. with the same settings through the piece where as a layered wood /mdf /wood may run into issues. I want to know from anyone what there experience has been with this rather than straight up mdf before I buy some. Thank you :blush: Also this is not proofgrade . This is from a seller on Etsy.

Every piece of wood I buy has MDF core. Just about all the wood you buy from places like Craft Closet and ETSY and the like have MDF core. It is very common. Solid wood is going to cost alot more. I have never had a problem with it.
MDF is more dense and stronger than particle board and has a more even consistency compared to plywood. Most wood used in crafts have a MDF core.

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Not sure what “issues” you might be referring to, perhaps you could enlighten us?

MDF and MDF-core plywood are generally more consistent than solid hardwoods.

Each has a place.


99% of my work is on MDF. I wish in the UK there was a local supplier of veneered MDF for nice finishes I would buy a lot!

No issues with it, was just curious and I wanted to get opinions on using it so I appreciate all the input :blush:

I use it all the time and really love it. I have found that the 1/8" or 3-4mm craft plywood cuts perfectly with proofgrade settings. I’ve found that 6mm or 1/4" one sometimes has trouble cutting through in places depending on the grain on the backside.