Cabinet construction: MDF vs Plywood


First and foremost, I’ve contacted 15 construction companies in my area and only 5 believe that using donovan myers worklog, that building an arcade cabinet is within their scope of work. The costs for labor i’ve been quoted have been ludicrous. $600 for material and labor? does that sound about right or am i getting ripped off?

Secondly, one company suggested that we use plywood to build the cabinet. I live on guam so it is quite humid here in the tropics, but I can’t see any real reason to use it over MDF? aside from that maybe its cleaner? What do you guys think?


uhhh, you know just an arcade stick can cost upwards to $300 or more depending on the wood used, so don’t you think a whole entire arcade cab would easily cost $600? Seems pretty generous to me.


I am currently in the building stage of my own personal arcade cabinet. I have everything needed to finish the project and spent around 250-300 dollars US on all the supplies (2 PS360 PCBs, 22x 30’’ buttons, 2 joysticks, two large 4x8 sheets of MDF, paint and etc.)

I could understand $300 for labor if you were requesting a paint job, as just building one of these things from scratch isn’t easy. Luckily for me, it’s fun. Really you could just get Lowes to cut the MDF to the dimensions you want, and it was free at my local one.


Do NOT use Plywood. From my experience, it’s a horrible wood to work with. Cracks easily (due to it being composed of more than one layer of wood and is usually poorly glued together) and paints awfully.
I’d go with MDF, just don’t destroy your lungs and wear a mask when sanding it.

And it is a lot of work to build a cab, so 300$ doesn’t seem farfetched for labour work to me =/


I’ve spent $1100 on custom made sticks in this forum. I know what wood costs. I also know that 3 sheets of mdf do not cost $600. Im not asking him to build the cabinet. I just want him to cut all the pieces to shape and ill put it together.

Anyway I was sold on plywood because my island is extremely humid and word is mdf will warp quickly. Now I need to think of a new wood option. I’ve heard of mdo but not sure if that is a standard thing carried at home depot.


See I’d be willing to pay 300 just for woodwork. But 500? No.

What blueprint did u use for cutting your wood? U just brought a design to Lowes and they made all the intricate cuts and angles? Im using Donovan Myers sketch but seems like carpenters are telling me its a difficult project. Maybe I need to find new carpenters lol


Just like other types of lumber, there’s a large variety of plywoods, but you do pay a premium for the better stuff. You could price a couple of sheets of MDF on Guam - prices for stuff on islands can be wierd.


I only had Lowes cut the wood to basic dimensions. I needed a large back to mount the TV, so it was cut 3x4 1/2, then the two sides were 1x4 1/2, and then two shelves. I still am having to do all detailed cuts myself, like for the slant of the arcade sticks, or the arcade sticks themselves. If I took my entire design to Lowes (which is mainly in my head) I doubt they would’ve done all the weird cuts and holes I needed.

And I was thinking that you were gonna have the builders do ALL the work (wiring, building, sanding, and painting) but if all you need is wood cut to basic dimensions then you should be fine at a Lowes or such.