The Difference Between Cutting MDF Vs. Wood – Tips For Working on MDFs, Pros & Cons

Suppose you want to know the difference between cutting MDF Vs. Wood, this guide is for you.

For starters, MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard. MDF is an engineered wood composite similar to particle boards but stronger and denser than particle boards.

MDF is excellent for indoor projects in buildings. It also comes in handy for special needs when regular wood won’t fit in.

It is different from real wood because it doesn’t have any knots or grains and doesn’t warp. This quality makes it a choice of material for woodworkers.

Unlike regular wood, any tool for cutting MDF must take its unique qualities into consideration.

Carpenter with wood

Carpenter with wood

How are MDFs made?

Imagine if the entire sawdust gathered from wood production processing mixes with binders. Then mix binders and sawdust and press them together into sheets the size of plywood. While this overly simplified process isn’t the same one used to make MDFs, it’s furnished you with some ideas about the makeup of this product.

There are no grains in MDF because it comprises small and fine fibers. You will find that, unlike particle boards with voids, they don’t have them due to the high temperatures used in making them.

Just as plywood is sold by thickness, you can buy MDFs according to the thickness you want for your projects.

Cutting MDF Compared to Regular Wood and Plywood

You should use the right cutting tools to work on MDF, regular wood, and Plywood. It is vital to use saw blades specially made for cutting them, especially MDFs.

The rest of this guide details the effects of MDF and wood on cutting tools. It also highlights the distinctions between MDF and wood.

The Difference Between MDF and Wood

The production processes employed in producing MDFs make them have special characteristics and are useful for special needs woods that may be deemed unsuitable for woods.

Manufacturers tightly condense resin and wood fibers to produce mdf which is a dense, stable sheet.

MDF Kitchen cabinets installation

MDF Kitchen cabinets installation

Effects of Exposure To Temperature

Wood can expand or contract in response to changes in temperature. This makes it less unstable, unlike MDF. MDF withstands changes in humidity more than wood.

Surface Quality

MDF goes through a lot of processes during its manufacturing. As a result, it gets an even and smooth surface without any knots. Solid wood is a natural resource and can form some blemishes.


Due to the level of compression MDF undergoes during production, it lacks grain which is a natural feature of wood.


Based on the general opinion, MDF grabs cutting tools more than wood, and cutting MDF requires more power and force than wood or plywood. Professionals tested this using ammeters.

MDF is easier to cut than wood though it produces much more sawdust than wood due to its nature.

MDF is much harder on tools for a variety of reasons:

The density – especially the varying density

The separation mechanism, Plywood, shears while MDF ruptures.

The amount and kinds of fiber: cutting MDF produces lots of sawdust.

The number of additives and glues used to stretch it.

MDF is harder on cutting tools than wood for some reasons;

The availability of more materials.

Essentially, MDF is heavier than regular wood and plywood because it comprises wood fibers and compresses them.

Plywood uses peeled wood, while MDF can use a variety of fibers. The distributions of the binder are different in both. In plywood, the binder is largely in the overlapping sheets. MDF is like a binder with particles in it.

The Difference Between Cutting MDF Vs. Wood : Installation of Kitchen cabinets with a white furniture facades mdf

Chipboard parts

Density and Weight

Wood is lighter in weight than MDF. MDF is heavy and denser than wood because it contains compressed wood particles.


MDF is relatively cheap. It is a cost-effective substitute for natural wood.

Without comparing with other materials, MDF has some advantages and disadvantages.

The Difference Between Cutting MDF Vs. Wood : Installation of Kitchen cabinets with a white furniture facades mdf

Installation of Kitchen cabinets with a white furniture facades mdf

Pros of Using MDF

MDF is an excellent substitute for veneer due to its smoothness.

Its smooth surface makes it ideal for painting. However, priming first with an oil-based paint would produce better results. (you must avoid using aerosol spray primers on MDF as they don’t do well with MDF).

MDF consistently smooths, ensuring that cut edges are smooth and void of splintering.

Its smoothness and consistency allow easy cutting of complex and detailed designs using a bandsaw, jigsaw, or scroll, such as scalloped or scrolled designs.

The smoothness makes them easy to use with routers to create decorative edges.

MDF is cheaper than wood. Its surface is very smooth, and because there are no knots, it eliminates worries of any kind.

Cons of Using MDF

MDF will soak up liquids like sponges – swells like regular particle boards unless sealed on its sides and edges.

It doesn’t hold screws firmly because of its smoothness, and it is easy to step hikes made for screws.

Being very dense, they can be difficult to work with, especially when a helping hand is lacking to help with lifting and cutting large sheets.

Mdf does not stain. They only soak up liquids, and since they lack wood grains, they look awful when stained.


You must use the right tool to cut MDF, and you will achieve your expected results by following the insights in this guide.