Everybody know powder coating is the most durable, environmentally friendly and easy to apply…on metal.
But powder coating on wood has proven to be anything but simple simply because wood doesn’t behave like metal does.
Wood warps. It cracks. It doesn’t conduct heat well—or uniformly. At one time, it was a living thing—and when you try to paint it, it shows. The finish ends up uneven and not properly cured.
And MDF, being simply wood particles held together with resin, acts the same way.
But there’s yet another problem with MDF.
Think about how it’s typically used, and you’ll quickly realize that people who want to powder coat it aren’t interested in painting flat boards. They’re more often looking to finish delicately turned or detailed cabinet doors, routered table tops, and so on.
Does this mean all is lost if you’re bound and determined to powder coat MDF?
No, not at all. But you will likely have to do more work than you thought.
Want to powder-coat MDF? It’s possible… But tricky!
For starters, you’ll need to use a higher grade of MDF, rather than trying to save on input costs by using a lower grade.
You’ll also need to make sure the wood stays humid enough.
Without humidity, the wood won’t properly maintain a charge. Which means, of course, the powder won’t adhere properly. You can get around this by applying an adhesion promoter to the board (either automatically or manually)—but of course that takes extra time and still more money.
Finally, temperature plays a major role.
This is wood, after all, so you can’t subject it to the same temperature levels you could if it were metal. That means you’ll need to use a powder with a lower-bake temperature, or a UV-curable powder.
And remember how MDF is made of wood particles bonded by resin? What happens to that resin when you subject it to heat?
You got it. So there’s another reason to explore higher-quality MDF—better resins will likely mean more heat tolerance.
Still want to explore powder coating MDF?
The takeaway here is that powder-coated MDF certainly isn’t unachievable. But it definitely takes more time and effort than some magazine articles you might have read may lead you to believe.
You may need to change products and change processes. That’s less of an issue if you’re running 20 feet of board a minute. But if you’re a small shop where every dollar of margin counts, then yes… Powder coating MDF may be out of reach.
Luckily there is a company who can help you with this; who can help you determine what it might take for you to add powder coating MDF to your capabilities; if powder coated MDF is affordable for you:
Industrial Coating Equipment –
call Richard Ludvik for a free consultation