While shopping for oak veneer plywood to make a dresser, I ran across oak veneer panels with a medium-density fiber-board (MDF) core. I chose plywood.

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Q:

While shopping for oak veneer plywood to make a dresser, I ran across oak veneer panels with a medium-density fiber-board (MDF) core. I chose plywood because the plans called for screwing the pieces together, and I figured plywood holds screws better. Did I make the right call?
—Mark Ball, Duluth, Minn.

A:

You did fine, Mark. As the stronger and lighter of the two choices, plywood has more holding strength when using conventional wood screws. Should you want to experiment with MDF-core sheet goods, strengthen your joints with special cabinet connecting screws available from such suppliers as McFeely's (800/443-7937 or mcfeelys.com). Unlike wood screws, where the collar diameter narrows above the threads, the collar below the heads of these screws is as wide as the threads to help hold the screw in place while the threads gently grip the edges of the pilot hole, as shown in the cutaway view above. This fastener also can be used to connect pieces of melamine-covered particleboard.