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Working with Melamine Gaston SC

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.

Paulownia Barn, LLC
(803) 381-8735
405 Hydrick Road
Swansea, SC

Data Provided by:
The Home Depot
(803)781-0877
5200 Fernandina Rd
Columbia, SC
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Fastenal- West Columbia
803-356-4334
3914 Platt Springs Road West Columbia, SC, 29170
West Columbia, SC
 
LOWE'S OF WEST COLUMBIA, S. C.
803 926-8885
2829 AUGUSTA RD WEST COLUMBIA, SC, 29170
West Columbia, SC
 
Ace Hardware of Cayce LLC
(803) 391-4223
815 State St, Parkland Plaza / Bi-Lo Shopping Center
Cayce, SC
 
The Home Depot
(803)359-1194
5600 Sun Set Blvd
Lexington, SC
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 1:30pm-8:00pm

Lowe's
(803) 808-5460
5570 Platt Springs Road
Lexington, SC
Hours
M-TH 7 am - 9 pm
FRI-SA 7 am - 10 pm
SU 1:30-7 pm

Lowe's
(803) 926-8885
2829 Augusta Road
West Columbia, SC
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 1:30-8 pm

Three Fountains Ace Hardware
(803) 957-4991
2930 Emanuel Church Rd
West Columbia, SC
 
MANN TOOL & SUPPLY
803-252-7777
802 CHRIS DR. COLUMBIA, SC, 29169
Columbia, SC
 
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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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