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
What are your experiences with these materials? Are there any web
sites where I can learn more about joinery?
Any comments appreciated.
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..
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.
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
John T. Howard wrote:
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.
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
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.
John B wrote:
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
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.
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
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.
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