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Free Material - Baseboards. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Oct 19th, 2019 06:27 pm
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wahiba
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Visited IKEA at Warrington today. Outside they had three 'bins' with all sorts of wood based material with a note to 'help yourself'. Well I did to a few sheets of the hardboard that is stiffer and more like a thin fibre board often used as backing on some furniture.

I do not know if every IKEA is doing this, but if you live near enough to one for regular visits it could be worth while.

David



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 Posted: Sat Oct 19th, 2019 10:48 pm
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Colin W
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Sounds like that's MDF. If so, look up safe handling before any cutting, sawing or drilling. The very fine fibres are hazardous as they easily get / stay airborne. I try to avoid working any I have but it can make a useful base for individual building settings on your layout.

swells up like a sponge if wetted so seal with a suitable primer, also helps prevent later damage.

My favorite warning story about MDF is I found some being used as door architrave in a Venetian Pallazzo (P.Grimaldi) in the basement. Venice's basements being below water and permanently humid, these timbers had swollen up like Elephantitis to 3 or 4 times original size.



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 Posted: Sun Oct 20th, 2019 12:35 pm
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wahiba
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Not knowing the difference between hardboard and MDF I thought I would look it up. Seems that they are all variations of the same thing, but hardboard is harder than MDF which is the thin stuff I got from Ikea but seems to be harder and stiffer than hardboard from B&Q.

I must say I assumed that is was just MDF. Quite an interesting bit about the stuff on Wikipedia.

I suspect dust problems really require an industrial setting. Practically the biggeest problem is that it wears out non carbide cutting blades.



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 Posted: Sun Oct 20th, 2019 02:41 pm
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BCDR
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Usually known as Masonite . Small wood fibers mixed with paraffin wax and heated/pressed. 

Wear mask and goggles, even for home use. Level 1 carcinogen for humans. 
My local store will not cut this material. Neither will I, being allergic to the dust. The MSDS is interesting reading.


They're giving it away because of the disposal cost. Take it back and tell them you are informing IKEA head office in Sweden. It needs to be recycled properly.

Nigel



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 Posted: Sun Oct 20th, 2019 06:48 pm
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Petermac
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"Masonite" in the States is what Euroeans call hardboard - named thus because it was invented by a guy called Mason.

MDF - "medium density fibreboard" - is not the same stuff although both are made by bonding wood fibres together under pressure.

In days of yore, it was suggested the glues used in the manufacture of MDF were carcinogenic.  Whilst that is certainly not the case nowadays, the fine dust particles created by machining either material won't do you any good - but then that is the case with many materials so neiter MDF nor hardboard should be singled out as any more or less dangerous than many other products.  In UK, unless wood yards have proper dust extraction equipment, H&S regulations prohibit their cutting it.

I'd certainly go for it if I had an Ikea within striking distance of me. :thumbs  Unfortunately, my nearest store is 75 miles away !!! 




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 Posted: Sun Oct 20th, 2019 07:29 pm
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BCDR
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Wood dust is classified as a group 1 carcinogen.  It is also a pulmonary irritant, and can cause allergic reactions. Same classification as tobacco smoking or strontium 90.
Least exposure the better.

Nigel



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 Posted: Sun Oct 20th, 2019 09:30 pm
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Colin W
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There is a (practical) world of difference between MDF and Masonite/Hardboard. Because of the health hazard it is worth understanding.

My dad built 2 sheds covered with Tempered Hardboard and they were still standing 50 years later. MDF is a much more recent incarnation of a similar concept. The difference according to Wikipedia is in how the fibres are produced. Masonite retains the timber's original lignin which then acts as its adhesive on forming, MDF is processed to break down the timber's lignins, then treated with a UF resin. The result of the UF treatment is very fluffy light fibres which are then compressed and bound together.

Even normal old style hardboard does not swell up like typical MDF on the slightest exposure to water. Put one drop on a sample of both and you'll see the difference.

MDF lends itself to being formed into thicker sheets and intricate shapes like architraves whereas hardboard AFAIK only ever came in the 1/8" and 1/4" pressed sheet with those indentations on the back, presumably from the press.

MDF does go to dust easily whenever operated on. In increasing risk order , drilling, sawing, sanding.

Untempered Hardboard with its indentations makes an excellent track cleaner. An idea I got from somewhere. Must do a post on it






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 Posted: Mon Oct 21st, 2019 04:40 am
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BCDR
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Wood dust is wood dust. Doesn't matter where from. Chronic exposure leads to chronic inflammation, which leads to key cellular regulator mutations....work safely.

Wood, lignins, note to self, remember thy botany :oops: Lots of aromatics.


Nigel



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