A silk purse from a sow's ear... #3: Keeping the cost down/new adventures in MDF

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The build is going well. No stupid mistakes yet, a lot of cutting. Doors made. Base made. Carcase ready to assemble. One thing I had to do today in order to determine an exact width for the tall boy part, was make the cornice.
I needed to do this because I measured the point where the ceiling begins to turn down at 45°. From that point and the space between the wall is the gap that has to be filled with the drawers, plus an offset to allow for the width of the cornice, but without making the cornice first, I didn’t know (exactly) what that offset, and therefore, total drawer width should be.
Having totted up what I’ve spent on this job so far, and taking into account how much of the deposit is left for me to spend, I made a decision.
A decision that some of you may be repulsed by.
Use the offcuts of mdf to make the cornice.
I knew what I wanted to achieve. I have made a similar cornice for a job before, but in poplar. It was smaller, a little bit fussy to do, but worked well considering I don’t have a spindle moulder (shaper).

As you can see, this is a three part, two profile sandwich.
It’s quite by chance that I ended up with 22mm MDF (7/8). I have never even seen it before, but when I went shopping for this job last week, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. Instead of turning right to my normal timber merchants, I turned left, first, to go into the paint shop to see if they could mix up the special colour requested by the client, and then, next door to them, is a kitchen/bedroom showroom. A company under the wing of Ireland’s largest sheet goods provider. There, in a special corner reserved for tradesmen, is some Dexion racking, full of stuff you can’t normally buy. 1" bb ply, 3/8 oak veneer mdf, even off standard sheet sizes like 10 × 4 mdf, and to top it all, they are cheap.
So there was a bit of the 22mil mdf left over, and I reckoned that using that would save another trip to the timber merchants and about €30 (50 bucks?).

I had this drawn up on the computer and pretty much worked out, the quirks top and bottom should be about a 1/4", the arris came off at out about 15°. Time to rout and time to cut, offered them up to each other and YAY!, they worked.

I had another couple of offcuts to aid in the glue up – to stop it tipping over

Now trouble is with exposed edges of mdf, they go wooly…

But thankfully, where there is a will, a paint brush, and a bucket of emulsion (you call that latex, right?), there is a way.

Obviously, some sanding is necessary, but the paint is like liquid filler, and binds all the fibres together. When it does come to sanding, it will just go to powder and leave a smooth base for the mdf primer I’m using for this job.

-- Doing the best I can with what I've got

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Well done on the molding. I think with the top coat I would not know it is MDF.
Most of the profession big store furniture are MDF anyway and nobody seems to notice.

Before taking my first woodworking class few years ago, I had no idea. Now every time I see a piece of furniture I look under the hood to see what it’s made of.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

What an adventure . Crown of MDF , never seen one ….Just glad you
have what looks like some good dust collection …..that stuff is
messy . Oh , let me find a picture to give you some more inspiration as you paint . If you put lipstick on a pig , its still just a ……….wait a
minute ……depends on the quality of the make up artist !
She looks pretty to me !

A decision that some of you may be repulsed by.
Use the offcuts of mdf to make the cornice.

Not a bit.
I call these budget jobs. You got to do whatever you can to keep as much as you can in your pocket.
Your doing a great job. Thanks for posting progress.

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