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Working with Melamine Barre VT

Melamine has found a home in many a woodshop. The durable, slick surface is perfect for jigs, fences, outfeed tables and router tables. I use it in my shop as an assembly table cover. Glue drips pop right off and the slick surface makes it easy to slide around heavy assemblies.

Barre - Auth Hometown
(802) 479-2541
1598 Us Route 302 Berlin
Barre, VT
Store Hours
Hometown Dealers
Store Type
Hometown Dealers
Hours
Mon:9-18
Tue:9-18
Wed:9-18
Thu:9-18
Fri:9-18
Sat:8-17
Sun:10-15
Store Features
Mon:9-18
Tue:9-18
Wed:9-18
Thu:9-18
Fri:9-18
Sat:8-17
Sun:10-15

Waitsfield True Value
(802) 496-2496
Village Square Shopping Center
Waitsfield, VT
 
Harrys Hardware
(802) 563-2291
3087 Main St
Cabot, VT
 
Farm N Country Hardware
(802) 433-1158
2383 Vermont Rte 14
Williamstown, VT

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Kenyons True Value
(800) 642-7392
93 N Main Street
Northfield, VT

Data Provided by:
Kenyons True Value
(802) 485-9676
93 N Main St
Northfield, VT
 
Kenyons Variety
(802) 496-3922
3337 Main St
Waitsfield, VT
 
Waterbury True Value
(802) 244-8905
838 Waterbury Stowe Rd
Waterbury, VT
 
Builder Specialties
(802) 223-5583
92 River St.
Montpelier, VT
 
Harry's Hardware
(800) 642-7392
3087 Main Street
Cabot, VT

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Working with Melamine

Working with Melamine

It's dirt cheap, it's practical, and best of all, there's no sanding and finishing!

by Dave Munkittrick

Melamine is the professional cabinetmaker’s best friend. Build a cabinet with it and you have a complete, durable interior that requires no sanding (yes!) and no finishing (oh, yeah!). Pros often build whole kitchens out of melamine and then dress the boxes with plywood end panels and solid-wood fronts. The bright melamine cabinet interiors are easy to search, stain resistant and tough as nails. Entertainment centers and home office, laundry-room or mudroom cabinets are also made with melamine. Most home centers carry melamine shelving with the edge banding already on. Just buy or make shelf supports and you’re in business. 

Melamine has found a home in many a woodshop. The durable, slick surface is perfect for jigs, fences, outfeed tables and router tables. I use it in my shop as an assembly table cover. Glue drips pop right off and the slick surface makes it easy to slide around heavy assemblies. It’s not as durable as plastic laminate for high-wear surfaces such as countertop and desktops, but it’s plenty tough for shop use.

Still not sold on melamine? How about saving money? It’s about half the cost of birch plywood. Not only that, but you get better yield from a sheet of melamine than from veneer sheet stock. That’s because you don’t have to worry about grain direction. Better yield at a lower cost—you save both ways.

Here are some tips on how to make this staple material of the modern cabinetmaker work perfectly for you!

Go Beyond Basic White

White melamine is by far the most common, but basic colors, like black, almond and wood grain, can be special-ordered from most home centers or lumberyards that carry the white. Melamine comes in a wide range of thicknesses. Home centers not only carry 3/4-in. and 5/8-in. sheets for cabinet construction and shelving, but they often have 1/2-in. for drawer parts and 1/4-in. stock for backs and drawer bottoms.


Wear Gloves! 

Gloves are a must when handling large sheets of melamine. We recommend a pair of Kevlar® gloves. Kevlar is designed to protect the user from slicing cuts. Surprisingly, they’re inexpensive ($5) and the rubber dots or stripes help you get a grip on the slippery melamine surface. 


Stop the Chip-Out Monster

Chip-out on the bottom edge is a common problem when you use a general-purpose blade to cut melamine. Sometimes one rough edge doesn’t matter, but when you need a perfectly clean edge on both sides, you have a couple options. The first is to make a 1/16-in.-deep scoring cut on the bottom of the piece (see photo, below). Turn the saw off and crank up the blade to finish the cut. The result is a perfectly clean cut on both surfaces.

The second solution is a laminate-cutting blade (above), whic...

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