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Forum topic by Mike Gilbert posted 08-27-2012 04:54 AM 5918 views 1 time favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mike Gilbert

26 posts in 755 days


08-27-2012 04:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cabinets kitchen melamine question

I am in the process of drawing up plans for my new kitchen cabinets. This will be my first time building cabinets and I have a few questions. After checking out my local sheet goods supplier I noticed there seems to be an endless number of options for case material. I am leaning towards thermoplastic melamine with a maple veneer on both sides right now because it would save me a lot of finishing time. However I am concerned with what kind of fasteners I should use to assemble the cases. I have never worked with a material like this before and do not know if I need some kind of special screw. If anyone has any experience in this I would appreciate the feedback, also if anyone would recommend any other material for case parts I am open to suggestions and would like to hear about any pros and cons you have experienced.
Thanks


33 replies so far

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2196 posts in 2200 days


#1 posted 08-27-2012 05:21 AM

We use a pre finished plywood core. A melamine product would work with typical wood screws.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

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thedude50

3515 posts in 1131 days


#2 posted 08-27-2012 05:57 AM

Mike I recommend Baltic birch plywood and I can choose any veneer to face the box this is great stuff. I would like to ask why you would bother to make your own cabinets from production materials like the stuff your thinking of using. I only make cabinets that I cant buy so I make the Baltic birch and the solid wood cabinets for discriminating customers otherwise if you make things that a production shop makes you may save a little but it wont pay to do it. And in reality of the job is time is money cheep materials and man made products are cheep and it just makes no since to me. Also if you build in Baltic birch you will get a nice box using 1/2 inch plywood which makes for a light strong box.

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View Earlextech's profile

Earlextech

975 posts in 1343 days


#3 posted 08-27-2012 01:04 PM

3/4” prefinished birch plywood

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

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nwbusa

1017 posts in 939 days


#4 posted 08-27-2012 01:13 PM

+1 on Baltic birch. I love that stuff.

-- John, BC, Canada

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JAGWAH

929 posts in 1737 days


#5 posted 08-27-2012 01:24 PM

3/4” x 4’ x 8’ UV Prefinished Birch Plywood sold here in Tulsa for about $50 coated 1 side and about $65 2 sides. Considering the painting cost later this is a bargain.

The best way to go. All of my kitchen cabinetry is built this way. I also build my face frames off cabinet to allow for prefinishing. I attach with either biscuits and clamps or pocket screws. Don’t worry to fill the pocket screws, they look fine.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

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Mike Gilbert

26 posts in 755 days


#6 posted 08-27-2012 01:41 PM

Thanks for the replies so far guys, this was my first post on LJs and I am amazed at how quickly everyone has responded. not really sure how(Rookie mistake) but I managed to post this question twice so I have even more comments on the other thread!
@ thedude 50 – I think you bring up a good point sometimes I can get caught up in material prices at the beginning of a project and I forget how much of my time I will be pouring into it, I definitely want a finished product I can be proud of at the end of the job. I also like the idea of a 1/2” sheet. I never would have considered that. what do you use for the backs? I have really been considering any options at this point but based on the responses so far it sounds like plywood is the way to go. my main concern is with the time spent finishing the cabinets but I see you can get Baltic birch in prefinished sheets. is this what you typically do? if so are there anything‚Äôs to look out for when building using a prefinished product. I would plan to build the case and face frame separate so that the frames can be finished before I attach them to the case.

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thedude50

3515 posts in 1131 days


#7 posted 08-27-2012 10:46 PM

Mike pm me your phone number Ill be happy to go over some tips I have on mistakes. I used to use 3/4 all the time then I took a class and found that 1/2 inch is fine and is even preferred for upper cabinets. I don’t use prefinished because I use a veneer on the box. I like birch just fine but I prefer cherry so I buy the Rolls of veneer and use it with solid cherry face frames and doors. I have also done lots of black walnut work. Some where here I have the video that the teacher put out a few years ago about using 1/2 inch. I know most of us would have used 3/4 on all our cabinets. But there really is no great reason top do that. The box is like a drum. On the back I use 1/2 inch on all my cabinets even the base cabinets they have never failed once.

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View Loren's profile

Loren

7550 posts in 2301 days


#8 posted 08-27-2012 10:53 PM

I’d like to know who the teacher is advocating 1/2” uppers. I’ve
considered developing a method using 1/2” material myself.

Some years ago I acquired the jigs for the Donnmar-Weising
method. I believe the old cabinetmakers who developed
it were putting cabinets in high-rises or perhaps tract
apartment remodels in the city, so the weight mattered
to them more than it might in other jobs. It uses 1/2”
ply all-round, even for the face frames I think. I never
found complete documentation on how it was done
so I’m in the dark in some respects.

I often use prefinished “shop” maple, which has mostly blonde
on one side and more brown on the other. It looks nice,
machines well, stays reasonably flat and is not too heavy.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1622 days


#9 posted 08-27-2012 11:27 PM

I’m really curious about the thermoplastic melamine with a maple veneer on both sides. Is this a particle core board, melamine coated and then veneered? Or a particle board with a maple effect melamine coating?
Sorry to get away from your thread a little, but the first description is something that I wasn’t aware existed.
The key to cutting any melamine material is surely to use a panel saw with prescoring attachment.

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ShaneA

5299 posts in 1251 days


#10 posted 08-27-2012 11:39 PM

1/2” uppers…really? I would not have thunk it. Interesting. For the most part, I like a pre-finished ply for the insdes. I typically use 1/2” for the backs.

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2196 posts in 2200 days


#11 posted 08-27-2012 11:42 PM

We prefer 3/4”. I have looked into using 1/2” but the cost difference is only about 4.00. We dado everything in our cabinets and the dado is really what becomes the ultimate holding power on our cabinets. We cut our dado so the fit is snug/tight and our cabinet goes together very snug and looks seamless when looking inside the cabinet. Everyone will have a preference.

A month ago, I did a job just down the road from our shop. I got lazy and did not strap my load as good as I should have. So one of my cabinets did fall off of the truck when turning. It hit the ground from a height of 6’ and did not sustain any damage. I believe that is in large part due to our dado methods. We also only utilize 15g and glue. We do have 2” wood screws to use in areas where the plywood might have a mild cup and so a screw is required to pull a joint together.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1622 days


#12 posted 08-28-2012 12:03 AM

Thanks for clearing that up Jonathan. That material goes by a different name here – Acreplast or Contiboard, depending on manufacturer.

View Mike Gilbert's profile

Mike Gilbert

26 posts in 755 days


#13 posted 08-28-2012 02:59 AM

Renners – I did mean thermofused particle board core with a maple looking melamine surface not a maple veneer.

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thedude50

3515 posts in 1131 days


#14 posted 08-28-2012 05:24 AM

Ok I scoured through my videos and receipt book and the class and the video was at Marc Adams school and the instructor was Marc himself Loren if you send me an address to email to you I can try to zip it up in a compressed file and email it to you

-- when I am not on Lumberjocks I am on @ http://thisoldworkshop.com where we allow free speech

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1622 days


#15 posted 08-28-2012 07:50 PM

In my opinion, you won’t find a better carcase screw for particle board than SPAX.

For your job with 3/4” material, a 4×50mm part threaded would be my screw of choice. (I think that’s a 10 gauge x 2”).

Spax screws are self countersinking, bore a pilot hole the size of the shank to prevent the piece you’re screwing into pillowing at the screw. If you never want your cabinets to come apart, use contact adhesive as well.

You could use confirmat screws as well, but you’d need to buy a stepped drill bit.

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