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MDF vs MDO vs Melamine vs Plywood Built-ins

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Forum topic by LSGss posted 10-21-2014 03:18 AM 5585 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LSGss

59 posts in 1449 days


10-21-2014 03:18 AM

Im sure this topic has been hit on before but I wanted to know if there was a general consensus for materials for built-ins. In specific I am planning on building builtins for a walk in closet. I only plan on being in this house for 3.5 more years so although I want them to looks nice for now and resale I also dont want to break the bank. I was planning on using prefinished plywood like I did for a pantry cabinet but I was worried that it would be hard to match the finish with a PVC or wood edge banding. I was thinking of using Fastedge which could work well if I could find a match or if I chose a good contrast color. But then I would need to match drawer front color, etc. So then I though why not make something that I could completely pain and no worry about matching wood colors. So then I thought since I am going to paint, is there a cheaper substrate that will work for my needs. Which is how I arrived at this question. Would one recommend MDF, Melamine or MDO.

Hope this makes sense. Thank you for the help.
Lenny


11 replies so far

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NoThanks

798 posts in 990 days


#1 posted 10-21-2014 03:39 AM

I prefer melamine.
It’s available in many colors and looks good.
You can get iron on tape that matches whatever color you use.
You can see some of my melamine cabinets in my projects.
Sure beats painting.
But if I was painting, since it’s just a closet and your only staying 3 1/2 more years I would just use mdf.
But then again, I wouldn’t paint, I would just use melamine and call it done.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

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Fred Hargis

3932 posts in 1955 days


#2 posted 10-21-2014 11:19 AM

If you paint, it’s very hard to beat MDO….that’s what it’s made for. It’s smooth, so a primer adn top coat and your done. But if you use Melamine you won’t have to paint. Under no circumstances would I use MDF but prefinished plywood is a good choice, though it will cost more than the Melamine. I think you way you described what you wnat the Melamine is the best bet.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Ger21

1047 posts in 2593 days


#3 posted 10-21-2014 11:40 AM

If the interior is behind doors or drawers, then I match the edgebanding color to the doors, not the interior color.

-- Gerry, http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/index.html http://www.jointcam.com

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LSGss

59 posts in 1449 days


#4 posted 10-21-2014 01:35 PM



I prefer melamine.
It s available in many colors and looks good.
You can get iron on tape that matches whatever color you use.
You can see some of my melamine cabinets in my projects.
Sure beats painting.
But if I was painting, since it s just a closet and your only staying 3 1/2 more years I would just use mdf.
But then again, I wouldn t paint, I would just use melamine and call it done.

- Iwud4u

I agree. I think melamine is the way to go for at least this project if I were staying here for a long time that would be a different story.

Do people have recommendations for working with melamine. I was planning on making daddo and rabbet joints and using the titebond melamine glue with some screws. Some screws I wont need to make pocket holes with my kreg jig as the holes will be hidden. Although even for the not hidden holes I can place those little stickers that match the melamine even though they can look cheap. I have a table saw but it would be easier for me to brake the sheets down the my circular saw, it appears that you can buy some good freud melamine blades. Are there good recommendations for any particular blades or working with melamine.

Thank you
Lenny

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waho6o9

7172 posts in 2038 days


#5 posted 10-21-2014 02:10 PM

Confirmat screws work well for MDF and Melamine.

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NoThanks

798 posts in 990 days


#6 posted 10-21-2014 02:11 PM

Lenny,
A good melamine blade is a must. Using the circular saw your going to get bad chips on one side.
You can break the sheets down with the circular saw but use the table saw for your final cuts.
Also cut a couple of test pcs to see how bad the bottom chips out.
For pcs that are going to be seen from both sides I usually raise the blade about 1/16” and score the bottom, then raise the blade and make the final cut.
If you get a new blade you may not have chip out on the bottom, at least while it’s sharp.
You need to do a little experimenting with blade height.
The lower the blade the better cut on the bottom but could produce chips on the top. The higher the blade cuts the top better, but blows out the bottom, you need to find the happy medium….(or score each pc).
I have had the best luck with Tenryu blades

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

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Fred Hargis

3932 posts in 1955 days


#7 posted 10-21-2014 05:25 PM

I have very bad luck with pocket holes in Melamine, you might want to test a few out first. The particleboard just doesn’t have the ability to hold together when being pulled like that (IME). Stay with the Conformat screws wherever possible.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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LSGss

59 posts in 1449 days


#8 posted 10-26-2014 03:14 AM

I think I have decided to go with white melamine as it will be the easiest. I have a couple quick questions if those more experienced wouldn’t mind answering.

I have included a picture of the two ways I can go about it.

In picture A: I can butt joint the fixed shelves or stop dado or through dado. The only nice thing about stop dado or butt joint is at a local place they already sell pre-edgebanded 15-3/4 deep melamine sheets which means I would have to do little to build the shelves. But I think I would loose shear strength. If I do a through dado then a small portion of the face horizontal edge banding will disrupt the vertical edge banding which would look odd. I can do a stop dado but cutting the small notches in the shelves seems like a pain.

In picture B: I would install the bottom and top portion against the vertical end edge but the middle fixed shelf still had the same problem as picture A.

I could also being going about this completely wrong. I would appreciate any help. Thank you.

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AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1771 days


#9 posted 10-26-2014 03:50 AM

Do like you first drawing. No dadoes, no glue, just butt joints and comfirmat screws.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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LSGss

59 posts in 1449 days


#10 posted 10-26-2014 04:07 AM

AlaskaGuy, thank you for your response. If the depth in 16” how many screws would you recommend. Will just using these screws be enough to withstand the weight placed on the shelves.

Thank you

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AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1771 days


#11 posted 10-26-2014 04:25 AM


AlaskaGuy, thank you for your response. If the depth in 16” how many screws would you recommend. Will just using these screws be enough to withstand the weight placed on the shelves.

Thank you

- LSGss


AWI (Architectural Woodwork Institute) standards 400A-S-10 specify European assembly screws (confirmat) without glue as a choice of joinery methods for premium grade cabinets, providing the spacing of screws is 37mm from end, 128mm on centers. Definitely a cost-saving alternative with no sacrifice in quality.

What are you planing for backs if any., BTW I usually go about every 6inch with the comfirmat and never had a problem and I built a bunch of Melamine cabs over the years.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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