How can I treat the routed ends of MDF so they come out smooth under paint?
Richard Jones: There are several options, but one is to use a waterbased wood filler, thin it out with water a little, and rub it into the edge with a cloth. Let it dry and sand.
John Brock: MDF has no grain so it will not normally have the same finish absorbing issues that solid wood end grain does. I would recommend sealing the entire piece, routed sections included, with a thin cut of fresh dewaxed shellac or sanding sealer. Then any topcoat will be absorbed into the panel at a similar rate.
Carol Reed: Seal them with a glue wash or a sanding sealer.