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I want to build a few different projects (arcade stick, electronics charging station, dice tower…) using laser-cut oak veneer MDF. (The cutting will be done by an online service.) I know from a previous arcade stick build that the cut edges of the MDF wear very quickly. What can I do to both protect the edges from wear, and make them look nice?

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  1. Applying an edge banding tape made of veneer or PVC can not only cover the cut edges but also provide a smooth, finished look. Ensure to choose a banding material that matches or complements your MDF veneer for a seamless appearance.
  2. Sealing the edges with a wood sealant or a sanding sealer can provide a barrier against wear and tear. It also prepares the surface for further finishing steps.
  3. Sanding the edges smooth and then applying a high-quality paint or lacquer can drastically improve the appearance and durability. The paint acts as a protective layer against wear while giving a polished look.
  4. Coating the edges with epoxy resin creates a hard, glossy surface that is both attractive and durable. It's a more labor-intensive option but offers a high level of protection and a professional finish.
  5. A good varnish can provide a protective coat, enhancing the natural look of the oak veneer MDF. Opt for a clear varnish to retain the wood aesthetics or a tinted one to add some color.
  6. Fill any imperfections on the edges with wood filler, sand smooth, then apply a quality primer. This will create a solid base for painting or varnishing.
  7. T-molding is a plastic edging that can be installed on the cut edges of MDF. It's available in various colors and styles, providing both protection and a clean finished look.

Each of these methods can be employed based on the level of finish and protection you desire. You may even combine a few of these techniques to achieve a superior finish that will stand the test of time, ensuring your arcade stick, electronics charging station, and dice tower projects not only look appealing but remain sturdy and wear-resistant.

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  • Used the veneer method on a number of custom shelving units. It is a great way to go: It comes in rolls of different widths and is pre-glued so all you have to do is iron it on. It is very likely you can find some that matches the oak veneer so that it will stain the same as the base board. The result is a board that looks like solid oak.
    – rebusB
    Oct 16, 2023 at 16:19

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