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post #1 of 14 Old 08-02-2011, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Melamine Advice

Hey All,

Looking for a little advice regarding the use of melamine for drawers. I am thinking of doing a small built-in drawer for the guest room. Did some research on here about using melamine and results varied based on application. I just want to do something simple, yet clean-looking as this is a rental and would like to be able to do something the owners wouldn't mind keeping, but wouldn't mind demo-ing in case they don't want it to remain. I thought about melamine because theire kitchen cabinets and drawers are made of it with wood fronts. I was planning to give it wood edge trim. Not sure what to build the case of. Thinking of using ply.

Any thoughts, suggestions would be great.

Thanks - Johnny
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-02-2011, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by abetrman View Post
Hey All,

Looking for a little advice regarding the use of melamine for drawers. I am thinking of doing a small built-in drawer for the guest room. Did some research on here about using melamine and results varied based on application. I just want to do something simple, yet clean-looking as this is a rental and would like to be able to do something the owners wouldn't mind keeping, but wouldn't mind demo-ing in case they don't want it to remain. I thought about melamine because theire kitchen cabinets and drawers are made of it with wood fronts. I was planning to give it wood edge trim. Not sure what to build the case of. Thinking of using ply.

Any thoughts, suggestions would be great.

Thanks - Johnny
Why not make it all from melamine?








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post #3 of 14 Old 08-02-2011, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
Why not make it all from melamine?


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Good question C-Man. I have no reason not to. The drawers are going to be about 22X30X8..what size would you think would be appropriat being that this stuff is pretty heavy..I was looking at 5/8 but I have never worked with this stuff before so I don't know what to expect.

Johnny
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post #4 of 14 Old 08-02-2011, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by abetrman View Post
Good question C-Man. I have no reason not to. The drawers are going to be about 22X30X8..what size would you think would be appropriat being that this stuff is pretty heavy..I was looking at 5/8 but I have never worked with this stuff before so I don't know what to expect.

Johnny
I fabricate it like I do plywood. I use dadoes and rabbets. But they are shallow...1/8". That gives a good glue joint, much better than just a butt joint or using Roo glue, which I never liked (and would not recommend).








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post #5 of 14 Old 08-02-2011, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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I fabricate it like I do plywood. I use dadoes and rabbets. But they are shallow...1/8". That gives a good glue joint, much better than just a butt joint or using Roo glue, which I never liked (and would not recommend).



.
Thanks C-Man. I was thinking about using a drawer design I have seen you post. It called for 3/4 fronts and 1/2 sides using the locking rabbit method. For a drawer of this size (22DX30LX8H), do you think 1/2 melamine will be strong enough for the bottom of the drawer to without needing some underside reinforcement.
Also, I know you have given advice about drawer slides. With the weight of melamine, plus clothing, what would you recommend for 3/4 to full extension weight strength?
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-02-2011, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by abetrman View Post
Thanks C-Man. I was thinking about using a drawer design I have seen you post. It called for 3/4 fronts and 1/2 sides using the locking rabbit method. For a drawer of this size (22DX30LX8H), do you think 1/2 melamine will be strong enough for the bottom of the drawer to without needing some underside reinforcement.
Also, I know you have given advice about drawer slides. With the weight of melamine, plus clothing, what would you recommend for 3/4 to full extension weight strength?
I would use 5/8" melamine for the box, and the bottom. No sense buying different thicknesses. Besides, 1/2" is a bit iffy. It can break more easily than 5/8", especially near the edges. You will need to edge band the top edge of the drawer box. You could use white banding, if you use white melamine. Or, it might look interesting if you used a woodgrain iron on wood tape, or solid wood if you want to put that much into the project.

For slides, I use full extension 100# from this site. They are comparable to KV, Grant, or Accuride, for a lot less money.








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post #7 of 14 Old 08-02-2011, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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I would use 5/8" melamine for the box, and the bottom. No sense buying different thicknesses. Besides, 1/2" is a bit iffy. It can break more easily than 5/8", especially near the edges. You will need to edge band the top edge of the drawer box. You could use white banding, if you use white melamine. Or, it might look interesting if you used a woodgrain iron on wood tape, or solid wood if you want to put that much into the project.

For slides, I use full extension 100# from this site. They are comparable to KV, Grant, or Accuride, for a lot less money.

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Ok, so let me make sure I am following you correctly. Using the attached drawing, just use 5/8 melamine for the entire drawer. And use the 5/8 to build the cabinet as well.

Thanks for the link as well.
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File Type: bmp drawer.bmp (36.6 KB, 634 views)
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-02-2011, 01:44 PM
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Ok, so let me make sure I am following you correctly. Using the attached drawing, just use 5/8 melamine for the entire drawer. And use the 5/8 to build the cabinet as well.

Thanks for the link as well.
I thought I was specific. You can use 5/8" for the 4 sides of the drawer box, and 5/8" for the drawer bottom. I would not make it like your drawing depicts. Instead of a lock rabbet, I would use just a rabbet for the sides to accept the front and back of the drawer box. I would cut the back member of the drawer short (in height) to slide the bottom in a groove (dado) in the sides and the front starting 3/8" above the bottom edge of the sides and front. The rear of the bottom can be stapled to the underside of the back of the drawer.

For any cabinetry associated with the drawer, you could use as a minimum of 5/8" melamine, or, 3/4" melamine. For the backs of the cabinets, you can use a vinyl or painted Masonite in either 1/8" or 1/4", or 1/4" plywood. The back should be fitted into a rabbet in the sides and bottom of the cabinet. A well fitted back will help square the cabinet.








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post #9 of 14 Old 08-02-2011, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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I thought I was specific. You can use 5/8" for the 4 sides of the drawer box, and 5/8" for the drawer bottom. I would not make it like your drawing depicts. Instead of a lock rabbet, I would use just a rabbet for the sides to accept the front and back of the drawer box. I would cut the back member of the drawer short (in height) to slide the bottom in a groove (dado) in the sides and the front starting 3/8" above the bottom edge of the sides and front. The rear of the bottom can be stapled to the underside of the back of the drawer.

For any cabinetry associated with the drawer, you could use as a minimum of 5/8" melamine, or, 3/4" melamine. For the backs of the cabinets, you can use a vinyl or painted Masonite in either 1/8" or 1/4", or 1/4" plywood. The back should be fitted into a rabbet in the sides and bottom of the cabinet. A well fitted back will help square the cabinet.


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You were clear C-Man..just my brain processess slowly sometimes and I just wanted to clear it for myself I guess you say. Thanks for your patience and discussion.
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-03-2011, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abetrman View Post
Hey All,

Looking for a little advice regarding the use of melamine for drawers. I am thinking of doing a small built-in drawer for the guest room. Did some research on here about using melamine and results varied based on application. I just want to do something simple, yet clean-looking as this is a rental and would like to be able to do something the owners wouldn't mind keeping, but wouldn't mind demo-ing in case they don't want it to remain. I thought about melamine because theire kitchen cabinets and drawers are made of it with wood fronts. I was planning to give it wood edge trim. Not sure what to build the case of. Thinking of using ply.

Any thoughts, suggestions would be great.

Thanks - Johnny
Just be careful the melamine is very sharp on the edges. They need to be knock down to pervent from getting cut. Belive me it will cut you quick.
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post #11 of 14 Old 08-03-2011, 03:22 PM
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Just be careful the melamine is very sharp on the edges. They need to be knock down to pervent from getting cut. Belive me it will cut you quick.
On the edges that get banded, there needs to be a nice clean sharp edge. The edges that fit to rabbets and dadoes should be left flat to give as much gluing surface as possible. I think a generalization would be to just be careful in handling.








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post #12 of 14 Old 10-01-2011, 04:10 PM
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I realize this post is rather old, but thought I would throw my two cents in anyway. Currently I am working for a california style closet company. We use white melamine as a standard. We also use some wood tone laminate chipboard materials. We always use 3/4. But I suppose 5/8 would be fine. I wouldn't go anything under that. To fashion our drawers, we just use simple butt joints. Always making sure to leave the "exposed" cut facing front to back of the drawer so that when we attach the fronts, the look is clean. I believe there is very little point in using adhesives on melamine. The nature of the product is such that you can easily remove anything stuck to it. So unless you are using an industrial adhesive (unnecessary) simple butt joints and 16 gauge nails seem to work the best for us. To cover nail holes can be a trick with melamine. I prefer: http://www.dap.com/media/product_pho...Spackling.aspx And we use a brilliant white touch up paint. I believe ours is computer matched to the correct tint. That can be expensive. So I wouldn't really worry too much about it with a drawer. Spackling seems to avert the eyes sufficiently. Edge banding for the tops of the sides and front/backs is what we do as well. We buy the edge banding with adhesive already imprinted on it, then apply with a heat gun and roller. (when applying edge banding out of the shop that is) Heat guns require a delicate approach. Too little and the banding doesn't stick. Too much and it shrinks and warps. Takes some practice to get it right. One thing I can tell you about melamine is it chips like you couldn't believe. there are many different ways to avoid chipping when cutting the material. Scoring with a razor blade and a clamped framing square is the most inexpensive. New, sharp blades and a slow and steady cut is crucial. Also, the underside of your cut is usually going to be the cleanest edge. So just try to plan for that. If someone tries to tell you that using masking tape to avoid chipping works, ignore them. It doesn't. It all boils down to your blade. The more teeth, the better and again, SLOW cuts!!!

"No matter how many times I cut it, I am STILL too short!"
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post #13 of 14 Old 10-01-2011, 04:38 PM
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To fashion our drawers, we just use simple butt joints. Always making sure to leave the "exposed" cut facing front to back of the drawer so that when we attach the fronts, the look is clean. I believe there is very little point in using adhesives on melamine. The nature of the product is such that you can easily remove anything stuck to it.
I suggested using a shallow rabbet (1/8") as the joinery isn't just a butt joint, you have a particle board end glued to particle board. Far better than just a butt joint to melamine.

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Also, the underside of your cut is usually going to be the cleanest edge. So just try to plan for that.
That would apply when using a handheld circular saw. On the table saw the clean cut is on top.








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post #14 of 14 Old 10-01-2011, 04:58 PM
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I suggested using a shallow rabbet (1/8") as the joinery isn't just a butt joint, you have a particle board end glued to particle board. Far better than just a butt joint to melamine.



That would apply when using a handheld circular saw. On the table saw the clean cut is on top.









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Well, it seems to work pretty good for us. We build drawers. Not pianos. Respectfully. :)

Of course. Forgive me. I thought that went without saying. I meant the "return" cut of the blade. In any application.

"No matter how many times I cut it, I am STILL too short!"
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