Melamine - How Durable? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-19-2020, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Melamine - How Durable?

I have always used Formica/Wilsonart HPL's over MDF for assembly tables.
As far as durability, I know Melamine is not even close to HPL's, so how durable actually is melamine compared to the above?

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post #2 of 7 Old 02-20-2020, 01:35 AM
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Melamine is basically made for vertical applications, it won't hold up under horizontal use for long except for inside case work.

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post #3 of 7 Old 02-20-2020, 05:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Jim for being the prophet of doom. LOL
Actually, I kinda expected that answer but thought I would ask anyway.

I will be setting up a little hobby woodworking shop in a few months in a rented self-storage complex and it's literally starting all over with nothing. I never cut corners in my commercial shops, it was never a wise thing to do so. Now I am spoiled from my past experiences except now I am on a limited budget this go-around. So that leaves me with asking basic questions like this thread, hoping there is some middle ground. I was talking to woodnthings (Bill) on the phone several weeks back, discussing my small budget and Criagslist not looking that promising in my area. That man loves doing research. He sent me some good links but I cant do anything until I get back to Dickinson, Tx. and find a rental space. Looks like about $160, mo. for a 10 or 12 X 30 or 32, depending on what is available. That's a lot of money for me to pay now that I am retired. I guess if I have to have an addiction, it's still cheaper than crack.

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post #4 of 7 Old 02-20-2020, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
Thanks Jim for being the prophet of doom. LOL
Actually, I kinda expected that answer but thought I would ask anyway.

I will be setting up a little hobby woodworking shop in a few months in a rented self-storage complex and it's literally starting all over with nothing. I never cut corners in my commercial shops, it was never a wise thing to do so. Now I am spoiled from my past experiences except now I am on a limited budget this go-around. So that leaves me with asking basic questions like this thread, hoping there is some middle ground. I was talking to woodnthings (Bill) on the phone several weeks back, discussing my small budget and Criagslist not looking that promising in my area. That man loves doing research. He sent me some good links but I cant do anything until I get back to Dickinson, Tx. and find a rental space. Looks like about $160, mo. for a 10 or 12 X 30 or 32, depending on what is available. That's a lot of money for me to pay now that I am retired. I guess if I have to have an addiction, it's still cheaper than crack.

Buddy I sure understand the tight budget being retired. Melamine will hold up for a while if you don't slide materials across it a lot daily. As a hobby and not in production, it should last a good while. Mount it so you can flip it over once one side wears out, it should last a good while like that. I know you know about the sharp edges on that stuff, it will cut the dickens out of you if not filed.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-20-2020, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
........... I know you know about the sharp edges on that stuff, it will cut the dickens out of you if not filed.
Yes, thanks for the reminder.
I think I'll just bit the bullet on this one. My assembly tables have always gotten a lot of use. My work bench gets much less. What I have always have done in the past was build a torsion box top with a Formica covering. I can glue on it, I can draw full size sketches and make notes right on the Formica. And wipe it all off.

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post #6 of 7 Old 02-20-2020, 02:21 PM
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Just to put a little perspective into this, melamine is the name of the glue used for creating formica and other laminates. Both HPL and plywood products are melamine impregnated paper. The difference is in the thickness of the colorant layer. Moreover, not all melamine plywood is the same. It comes in a variety of grades. One brand of plywood sheet I used to get many, many years ago was extremely thin, but most of what I have encountered more recently has been higher grade. It depends on how many different sources you have for sheet products.

While it is absolutely correct that melamine plywood won't stand up as well as an HPL laminate, I also don't hesitate to use it around the workshop for various purposes. It all depends on the expected longevity. Even HPL laminate used to make a tablesaw extension is going to wear through the color layer, but it will last longer than a high grade melamine plywood.
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-20-2020, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
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I always thought Melamine was a Low pressure Laminate while Formica and Wilsonart are High Pressure Laminates.
Anyway, I never looked at Melamine Boards. Is the surface of the Melamine on LPL on MDF?
I see it on the internet in 3/4" thickness for not much more than MDF with no coating

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