Re: Kitchen Cabinet Case Material



I went through the same process a few months ago and settled on Simpson Cabinet Liner.
http://www.simpson-plywood.com/cabinet1.htm
You get the benefits of plywood, no finishing required and end up with a tougher finish than melamine. I've built about 10 base cabinets so far and have no complaints.
It is on the expensive side, I paid $54/sheet for 1-sided 3/4".
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The suggestion to use Simpson's laminated plywood seems like a good one. I'd strongly urge not using any processed material like MDF, particle board, etc. in any area where water can get to it. I've had trouble with cabinets located a long way from sinks because of very slow leaks that went undetected and resulted in swollen MDF. All of my MDF is laminated on all surface with Wilsonart. We like the appearance but I'm unhappy where water comes in contact with it.
Another alternative for the interior carcass is Baltic birch.
Phil
Wyatt Wright wrote:

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I used melamine for my own kitchen cabinets although I never used it for a customer's kitchen because I worked in a high end market and the thought of melamine boxes is anathema to most designers and such.
I used it for myself because it is plenty strong, is easy to work with and is easy to keep clean.
I use the same joinery techniques for melamine as I do for plywood boxes. The RTA fasteners are fine. I use biscuits and pocket screws.
It sounds like you are going to use a faceframe and that will work equally well in both materials. I chose to use a Euro style of construction and purchased pre edgebanded melamine to use with full overlay doors.
An alternative that you may want to look into is pre finished maple ply. It comes with an epoxy acrylate finish and is available in widths to suit carcase construction, so that you will only have to crosscut to length. This is also true for the melamine.
Both the maple and the melamine come in widths suitable for drawer and shelf construction and the drawers can be put together with biscuits and pocket screws very quickly and the drawer has great strength.
Half inch pre finished maple is available for backs and drawer bottoms.
I like the melamine boxes. The interior is easier to see into because of the white finish and the inevitable spills are easily wiped up.
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson - Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania Remove CLUETOKEN to reply to email. www.tjwcabinetmaker.com
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Yes Plywood and or better yet, Lumber core would be a better choice if you want it look good with out having to baby it.

If you realize that a better material will be better in the long run and the small cost difference is of no concern by all means go with the better material.. Melamine han its place but IMHO you want to work in a kitchen and not stand back and just look at it. A friend and I some times do repairs to kitchen cabinets on homes that are up for sale. The homes range in value of the low end up to the $500,000 mark. Shamefully the builders use the Melamine cabinets in these expensive homes and after 4 or 5 years the insides of most these cabinets look no better than the cheap entry level homes. Plus the seem to have door problems as the face frames dont stay attached to the carcuses very well. But, that may be factory quality problems.

Don't sweat the finishing. I did not finish the insides of my lumbercore cabinets, 14 years later they still look pretty good inside. Remember, you are probably going to put clean dishes in them so dirt is not gong to be that big of a problem. I trimed the edges of the lumber core shelves with oak, stained and 1 coat of varnish on that trimmed edge.

Maybe, you have to very careful not to bump or bang the edges as the edge will damage easily. You may find yourself redoing some pieces. That will require more time and more mmaterials. And, this stuff is pretty heavy in comparison to plywood or lumber core.

If you are careful with it, it should last, but as I mention earlier, for what ever reason the shelves on the factory built cabinets sometimes will swell a bit and the inner core will expose itself.

It can be built strongly but my experience with these Melamine cabinets is that fasteners strip easily and things start to sag. The kitchen is a place you you use 2 to 3 times a day, Build it out of materials that will hold up to daily wear and tear.

I mentioned all those problems that I see often.
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That looks like a cool product..
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Wow Luigi, yours have held up pretty well. The ones in my kitchen looking pretty ragged after 10 years. I went all plywood, lumbercore, and solid wood when I replaced mine.
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On Sat, 12 Jul 2003 20:59:53 GMT, "Leon"

Well, the insides were already pretty ragged in 1990 when we moved in. We have painted them (inside) twice since - when we first moved in and after a kitchen fire. (I lit the burner under a frying pan of left over oil instead of the espresso pot about 6-7 years ago. Not bright on my part, but it was early in the morning and the frying pan was on the burner we usually used for the coffee pot. I came out of the shower to a horrible smell, but to damage that paint couldn't fix.) They need painting again, but they will get replaced. I also had to reinforce the serious sags on the bottom shelves with pieces of 1-by and put supports nailed to the centre style to hold up the other shelves.
I have been intending to replace them since we moved into the house, but, you know . . . :-)
Luigi Replace "no" with "yk" twice in reply address for real email address
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I built all of mine in 4 stages. With the completion of each stage I would remove the old and put in the new in usually about 1 day so. The kitchen was only inoperable for about 4 or 5 days during that year that I spent building all new cabinets
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I built my kitchen's cabinets ~7 years ago. I'd recommend plywood as it's lighter and doesn't sag and fastens better (among the other responses posted). I used 3/4 for carcasses and 1/2" for shelving.
I did use melamine for base cabinet bottoms; yes, even under the sink. Makes a nice quick easy to clean surface, and on the base cabinets, it's well suppported so sag isn't a problem. So far neither the sink nor dishwasher has pee'd and there's nothing under the cabinets to promote dampness as the piping goes thru the wall. Should the sink "have an accident", I'll simply yank out the 36x24 piece of melamine and replace it.
Finishing is gonna be a royal pain. You are gonna get real tired of it. Invest in a sprayer if you're gonna do your own finishing rather than buying a prefinished material. I wish I had. Like someone else said, with the amount you're saving making your own cabinets, it's well worth investing/splurging on some tools to make life easier.
Renata
On 11 Jul 2003 12:03:06 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Wyatt Wright) wrote:

(no stain for email)
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