The inherent flatness and stability of MDF, the ability to machine complicated shapes free from splintered edges and good finishing characteristics are essential attributes of materials used for the manufacture of board games and teaching equipment for use in homes and educational establishments.
The MDF surfaces may be direct painted, screen printed or wood veneered. Complicated cut outs can be machined with simple hand tools or, at low unit cost, using CNC routers. The following items are being manufactured from MDF:
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Squared marquetry veneered boards for chess or backgammon
- Alphabet and numerical cut out puzzles for early learning
- Interlocking shapes for teaching manipulative skills
- Football games
- Abacus discs
- Roulette bases
On a larger scale, high performance snooker tables can be manufactured using solid MDF bases, preferably 18 mm thickness or greater to ensure flatness and stability. More portable, lightweight bases can be constructed using the principles of flush door manufacture with an MDF frame enclosing a paper honeycomb core and surfaced on both faces with 3 mm or thicker MDF skins. Lightweight bases of this type can be manufactured with
increased thickness, often up to 50 mm, with considerably increased stiffness and stability without a significant increase in weight or manufacturing costs.
Deflection tests have shown that lightweight domestic snooker tables of total thickness 35 mm and above constructed from MDF lightweight bases have comparable stiffness with 12 mm thickness slate tables of similar size with the added advantage of being easier to transport and move around the home.
Further cost savings can be achieved by using wood veneer or foil wrapped MDF mouldings as an alternative to the relatively expensive and potentially environmentally demanding solid mahogany surrounds normally used for snooker tables.
Similar considerations apply to the use of MDF in the form of solid core or lightweight, honeycomb core panels with MDF skins for the manufacture of pool and ping pong tables.