Shop cabinets: Melamine vs MDF


I am about to build some cabinets for my shop and am leaning toward using melamine or MDF. I have little experience with either of these materials. They don't have to look like living room furniture, but I would like for my shop to reflect my workmanship.
I am mostly wondering about joinery - screw AMD glue, right? Should melamine be rabbited to provide for particle-to-particle glue joints? Do I need to use special screws? Are these materials particularly hard on saw blades and router bits? Do I need special blades and bits?
What are your experiences with these materials? Are there any web sites where I can learn more about joinery?
Any comments appreciated.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

www.woodweb.com
search for confirmat screws and check out the postings I think you're better off using MDF and painting it, I don't see a low pressure laminate on particleboard standing up to shop use. MDF can be repainted in the future, you won't have to cover the edges, etc..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Tell that to my shop cabinets that have seen plenty of their share of heavy cans tossed and slid across the shelves of Melamine. 3 years use and they look like new, other than a few stains on the outside.
Dave
ATP* wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If you use Confirmat screws no need to glue. Dados and glue is enough joinery for shop cabinets. Mine are melamine (they wipe clean easily) and I used Roo glue, which will allow melamine-to-melamine bonds of extradinary strength. You do NOT have to expose the PB, when using Roo Glue.
Dave
John T. Howard wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You might want to look at mine on the site below at the "New Shop" link. I used Melamine for the carcasses, and MDF for the doors. I painted the doors to match the melamine fairly close, not perfect. Carcasses are frameless, with euro hinges. I dado'd/rabbeted the shelves, and used poly glue along with pocket screws. I used nailing strips across inside top and bottom, but no backs. The wall is the cabinet back.
Drawers are baltic birch with MDF fronts, also painted. Drawer slides are full extension side mount.
Countertops are 3/4" plywood, then 3/4" MDF, then 1/4" tempered hardwood.
I cannot think of anything I would do differently after about 18 months.
-- ******** Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John T. Howard wrote:

Seing that you're starting from scratch I'd use Melamine with a hard wood edging. This will protect the edges of the melamine, which are the only fragile part. The surface is much more durable than paint and is not suceptable to most solvents. A decent melamine glue and screws designed for mdf are all you would need to construct the units. In a workshop environment there is NO WAY I'd use melamine edge strips to cover the ends as these will invariably chip and look tatty after a period. If you do not wish to edge with timber my next recommendation is painted edges as these can be touched up in the event of them becoming damages or better still a spirit based wood stain which will strike deep into the timber and a couple of coats of finish on the top. Hope this helps regards John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I agree with everything you've stated here with one notable exception. One, given sufficient need, can always re-do the edge banding. With the cabinets remaining affixed to the wall, no less. Not that I've had a need, but it's quite doable.
Dave
John B wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
G'day Dave, I'm with you on that one. I have done it myself, that's replace melamine or laminate edging with cabinets still fixed in position, but I sure can think of a lot more pleasant things to do. ;) All the best John
David wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 09 Jun 2005 22:46:23 GMT, John T. Howard

I've never used melamine, but MDF works pretty well for shop cabinets. I've got my lathe mounted to a cabinet built of 3/4" oak-veneered MDF, and it's held up very well to a signifigant amount of shaking (unbalanced blanks) and a couple of direct hits from materials coming loose from the chuck. The big draw with the MDF was that it was so heavy, and really soaks up minor vibration. I just used regular Elmer's probond and dado joints, and it's not showing any signs of going anywhere, even after several months of heavy use.

If you do go the MDF route, make sure you have some sort of dust mask handy. It machines really easily, but you don't get sawdust- you get a fine powder that flies everywhere.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
[snip]

These shoes are too tight. The weather is too hot. I'm out of Demerara sugar, how's a man supposed to drink his tea without it?
Okay.. enough of those comments.
Melamine. Use butt-joints and 2-1/2" long low-root chip-board screws. Pre-drill with 1/8" bradpoint (other drill bits like to skid around) Put in about 5 of those per joint (on a 23-1/2" deep cabinet). Stop the box from racking by sliding into a groove a 1/8 or 1/4 thick hardboard back. Put that groove about 5/8 away from the back. but on the sides only. Make the top and bottom the depth of where the groove starts. Screw two cleats to hold the back in place. If you want a schematic, you know to lose the BULL from my addy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.