View Full Version : MDF lens boards

Robbie Shymanski
18-Sep-2007, 11:18
Has anyone dealt with, used or fabricated their own lensboards out of Medium Density Fiberboard? So long as all the surfaces are properly sealed, I am not seeing reasons this shouldn't work well. I know this is not universally ideal. There are wear issues. Any other reasons why this shouldn't work?

Gene McCluney
18-Sep-2007, 11:31
There is no reason why this shouldn't work, especially for larger lensboards on wood cameras. People make lensboards out of anything handy, such as several layers of cardboard or mount board. As long as it has enough density to the fibres to be light-tight.

Kirk Gittings
18-Sep-2007, 12:02
Robbie what size are the boards you need? I sometimes use the thin plywood available from hobby shops.

18-Sep-2007, 12:22
MDF works fine.

I used it in the Packard Mod link as thick lens 'blocks'. It works great when it's thick enough.

You can also look for fibreboard(?) It's shiny on one side and rough/textured on the other side. In lensboard sizes it works great. The textured side needs sanding or spraying however as it will be dusty otherwise. I used it for a couple lens boards and the thickness was just right.

As long as it isn't too brittle or warped, ply might be better. Might look better too :)

18-Sep-2007, 12:26
Here's the (thick) MDF -

Here's the Fibreboard stuff (VERY rough cut in this case) -

Oh, and Hardwood looks best :D -

Dave Wooten
18-Sep-2007, 12:33
it will work, I have a nice one, an adapter board for linof to wisner made from mdf-the flooring product that looks like wood grain, get some from home depot...is also the correct thickness.

18-Sep-2007, 13:46
I've made a couple for my Wehman and they're holding up well. I also made a reducing back blank for my 4x5 graflock back to fit on as well as splitter boards for the Wehman. I sprayed them all with 2 coats of flat black. I'll be making more this weekend. The only thing you have to worry about is breaking the corners since there isn't any grain structure present as with plywood.

Dave Moeller
18-Sep-2007, 13:59
I've made lensboards out of MDF, and it works fine if (as you say) the surfaces are sealed properly. It's something to keep an eye on, but not something to obsess over.

I've also used, and prefer, hobby plywood. I find it easier to work with, it's light, and (again, if properly sealed) lasts very well. It can also look very nice when stained, if you're so inclined.

Best of luck.

Robbie Shymanski
18-Sep-2007, 18:33
Went with the 1/8" plywood, more because I am feeling too impaitent to deal with machining the MDF as I'd like. But thanks all.

21-Sep-2007, 09:41
I used MDF in two layers to quite a few Graflex boards. Cut and machine the board with the Dremmel.
Two layers, one smaller than the other to make a proper light trap. Epoxy the two layers, drill the hole in the middle and then I use "blackboard paint" to get a fantastic mat black.
Heres a dagor 168mm f6.8 on one of these boards.

Jim Jones
21-Sep-2007, 17:47
I prefer the way MDF can be cleanly sawn and routed.

Mark Sawyer
22-Sep-2007, 09:46
I like the composite "wood" flooring materials like Pergo. Very tough, which makes it slightly harder to work with, but durable, warp- and split-proof, and looks fairly nice. Costco sells an imitation of it that I like, since you don't have to strip an adhesive back off it. You have to by about $25 worth at a time, which might make fifty or so lensboards. (I got bored one afternoon and made forty-some blank 6x6 inch boards for my 2D and KMV in about an hour.)