I am about to embark on building a bench for under a window. It will be about 2.7m wide, 75cm in the window and 45cm deep either side of the window.

I was going to build the structure in MDF and then clad in Wood veneered MDF but after watching children destroy my friends house at a recent birthday party I worry that the 0.5mm veneer will scratch easily with no recourse.

Furniture board at the sizes I am looking for seems insane and hard to actually find (I am in London, UK). Does a thicker vaneer'd MDF exist? e.g 3mm veneer so it can be sanded?

What would you build it out of?

  • 2
    You can buy thicker veneer, but expect to pay for it. You may have to go to an actual lumber yard to find it. I'm not sure what you mean by "furniture board" (maybe a US v UK English struggle), but usually wide panels are built up out of narrower ones because finding big trees to cut down for wide panels is almost impossible these days. Please edit to include a drawing of what you're doing (your 3 dimensions given don't quite add up in my head), and a definition of "furniture wood" so you can broaden the list of people who might be able to answer.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 15 at 18:24
  • Just for future reference, I added my response to the second query in the body text on autopilot but I actually should have left that out. In future try not to ask secondary questions — every Q should ideally have just one query in it, and anything additional to that, if worth asking in the first place, deserves its own Question (and it's fine to ask multiple Qs about a single project). However, the second query would not be suitable for the SE model, see Opinion-based in this part of the Help.
    – Graphus
    Jan 16 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


If you're building this in an area you know children are going to interact with regularly (especially unsupervised naturally) then I wouldn't suggest standard veneer is the way to go, it's just too thin to stand up to roughhousing. In fact a long time before veneers went on a crash diet and became too thin to consider, veneered stuff was not built to withstand rough handling.

Since 3mm oak veneer wouldn't be easy to source, and would likely blow the budget anyway, I'd look into using engineered flooring for all its many advantages — less work for you, not overly expensive, built to take punishment, sandable (and more than once).

Engineered flooring, ply core Engineered Floor, MDF core

Add solid-wood oak edging and I think you'd be good to go.

What would you build it out of?

I don't think this is really relevant to the Q, but since you asked I'd be inclined to make only the top from oak — sourced from a timber merchant's not from B&Q or the like! — and the rest from a decent grade of MDF (they are not all made equal) which I'd paint to match the trim in the room.

The oak would be suitably robust and hard wearing and the painted MDF easy to fill and repaint if necessary.

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