Housewares & Miscellaneous Items


3. Mirror surrounds, picture frames and plaques


The surrounds often used to enhance the appearance of mirrors and pictures can be manufactured from MDF mouldings assembled into a frame using traditional mitre joints reinforced with loose tongues or dowels or simply pinned. The mouldings may be profile sanded ready for direct painting after assembly or supplied as prefinished elements requiring no further treatment. The possibility of enhancing the natural appearance of the MDF mouldings by staining and finishing with clear or tinted lacquer should not be overlooked. Alternatively, high quality frames may be manufactured from wood veneer wrapped MDF mouldings or, at lower cost, from foil wrapped mouldings. The good machining characteristics of MDF and its high stability ensures close fitting joints free from the movement associated with solid wood mitre joints exposed to extreme dry or damp conditions.


The need for jointing MDF pieces can be avoided by machining the whole surround directly from an MDF panel using a hand operated router or, if large quantities are involved, a CNC router. This method is best suited to the manufacture of small and medium size frames where the cost of the centre offcut is more than offset by the elimination of the piece part assembly operation. Considerable cost savings are possible when machining circular or oval frames directly from the sheet as an alternative to using jointed pieces.

The uniformity of fibre distribution throughout the thickness of MDF, now available in the thickness range 1.8 to 60 mm, gives ample scope for the manufacture of a wide range of corner jointed or integrally moulded frames of different sizes and with different finishes. Wide strip frames manufactured from wood veneered or painted MDF, often with some surface grooving have been particularly effective as surrounds for large mirrors fitted as part of a wall panelling installation.

MDF frames can be used effectively as decorative surrounds for tapestry panels, exhibition or shop displays or notice boards.

Similar considerations apply to the use of MDF as a base for block mounted pictures, screen prints, sports shields and presentation plaques. The smooth surfaces of MDF, finish sanded with 120 grit or better, provide a good base for the decorative finish. The appearance of a block mounted picture or print can be enhanced by machining a simple bevel or other profile around the edges and then staining or painting it to create a frame effect. Alternatively the surface of a base panel extending beyond the picture boundary can be face machined to provide a surround for the picture.

The ease of shaping or profiling the edges of MDF can be used to good effect to produce base panels with special shapes which compliment the decorative panels, engraved metal shields for instance, used to record sporting or artistic achievements.