Melamine Question - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 08-30-2011, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Melamine Question

I want to build a right side table and folding out-feed table for the Unisaw that I recently restored. The material to use seems to be Melamine. The local big box stores have 4'x8'x3/4" sheets for about $36.

I don't know much about Melamine other than to use a fine tooth blade to cut it. Is the quality of the stuff at the big box stores good enough for my needs or would I be better off getting it elsewhere?

Thanks,
Bill
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post #2 of 5 Old 08-30-2011, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by dodgeboy77 View Post
I want to build a right side table and folding out-feed table for the Unisaw that I recently restored. The material to use seems to be Melamine. The local big box stores have 4'x8'x3/4" sheets for about $36.

I don't know much about Melamine other than to use a fine tooth blade to cut it. Is the quality of the stuff at the big box stores good enough for my needs or would I be better off getting it elsewhere?

Thanks,
Bill
Melamine just refers to the white plastic coating. A TCG blade is probably the best to prevent chipout but I've had good luck with a low blade height and slow feed rate. The important thing is the substrate. Home Depots' version is generally over particle board so if I used it, I would be sure and seal it well and use a good solid frame under it to keep it from sagging.

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
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post #3 of 5 Old 08-30-2011, 08:10 AM
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melamine, if it is what i think it is, is just a hardboard with a coating. the coating doesn't hold up to repeated material friction. i would use a high pressure laminate (formica). you can buy it already on a substrate, like a countertop. but the usually have a profile which needs cut off if using it for flat projects. or you can buy it in a sheet and glue it on a base yourself with contact cement. cuts fine with a combo carbide blade.

Last edited by TimPa; 08-30-2011 at 08:12 AM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-30-2011, 08:53 AM
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I believe you'll find a lot of folks that would agree that MDF with a removable/replaceable hardboard over the top, wrapped in hardwood is where you want to be.

Ut Prosim
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post #5 of 5 Old 08-30-2011, 10:32 AM
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Melamine is a very tough product for what it is. For the hobbyist, the surface will hold up well, and provide a slick surface. It's not comparable to using a high pressure laminate like Formica, but it will work as infeed/outfeed table tops. Like Formica, glue doesn't stick to it.

The core is an industrial particle board, which is very dense and not the same as underlayment or 'chipboard'. The white (or any other color) is a low pressure laminate applied during manufacture. It cannot be peeled off, like a high pressure laminate (like Formica).

It cuts well with a 60T negative hook 10" blade. On the table saw, cut with the needed side up. I like to cut with the blade very high. The more vertical the teeth enter the material the less chipping you'll get.

If you have to cut the material with a hand held circular saw, use a carbide tipped blade 40T, with the needed side down, and with the blade extended to cut into the face very vertical. IOW have the blade exposed to near full extension.

Just a note about using a hand held circular saw:

Manage the cord to be clear of the cut throughout the entire cut.

Make sure the cord will not catch on anything, including the material or your foot.

Make sure your cut is compete and the saw has totally exited the sheet before puling it away.

When setting the saw down make sure the guard has returned to "safe", and the saw has stopped.






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