Author Topic: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood  (Read 11789 times)

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Offline lawhoo

  • Posts: 171
Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« on: January 31, 2012, 02:23 PM »
I need a storage system for my master bedroom closet.  Rather than go with some sort of off-the-shelf system that would involve too many compromises --- in terms of quality, flexibilty, or both --- I would like to build my own --- at least the shelving and drawers.   My preferred material would be melamine, prefinished plywood, or something similar that I don't have to finish.  I want it to have the look of a medium-stained or oiled cherry a nice cherry, not the cheap stuff you can see at Lowe's or HD.   So, a few questions/issues:

1.  What exact sort of sheet goods should I be looking for?  I just discovered something called Panolam (panolam.com) that someone recommended as preferable to melamine.  At least online, it seems to have two or three finishes that I could live with, but I know nothing about its cost and little else.  Cost is a factor, but I also want material of better quality than you find at the big box stores.

2.  I would want to be able to edgeband the material with a matching color.  How does that affect my choices in material?

3.  What can I get locally in or near Northern Virginia, and who are the best suppliers?  Mine order would be relatively small, probably 3-4 sheets, and I would need to have it delivered. 

4.  What about hardware to supplement the cabinets: rods, hooks, etc.?  Any recommendations for someone who wants a truly customized solution?

Thanks for any suggestions.

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Offline BarBuilder

  • Posts: 88
    • Tofstad Woodworking
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2012, 02:31 PM »
If its an option, I'd vote for a prefinished cherry veneer over an MDF core. In my opinion Melamine in all forms just looks cheap.
The man who can see the invisible can do the impossible
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Offline Sal LiVecchi

  • Posts: 1375
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2012, 02:58 PM »
I use Cherry Veneer Plywood on most of my Cabinet work carcass assemblies...I like it alot better than Melamine.
When I finish it with a Watco Cherry stain and Watco Wipe on Poly I get great result

Sal
 
Life is too short and the road is too long to drive anything less than a Festool

Offline lawhoo

  • Posts: 171
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2012, 04:24 PM »
Thanks, guys.  I'm no fan of melamine, but I was thinking that it might be acceptable in a closet system.  I like the idea of prefinished plywood as a classy alternative that, like melamine, doesn't require finishing.  Remember that this is for a closet, so it's not fine furniture.  With both options, I'm curious about my edgebanding options.  I want glue-on edgebanding, whether ironed or simply pressed (e.g., FastCap), but the edgebanding has to match the finish on the face.

Also, where can I find what I need in Northern Virginia/Metro Washington?

Offline jmbfestool

  • Posts: 6568
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2012, 04:37 PM »
What ever you do not get chipboard melamine! Only MDF core melamine much better to cut and alot less likely to chip.    Chipboard core melamine is very difficult to cut with no chipping even cutting it with a router it will sometimes chip very annoying!

Jmb
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Offline SRSemenza

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Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2012, 04:39 PM »
I'd go with veneered plywood or MDF.  But in a closet the melamine could be OK if the cost makes the difference. 3 -4 sheets probably less than $200 price difference.

 People seem to have a love or hate on opinion Fast Cap edge banding. I happen to love it, compared to other glue on edge banding.  I don't know what colors tones they offer in wood cherry. I mostly use the prefinished with prefinished maple plywood, and that has a good color match.

You could pick what you think is a close color match to your pre finished plywood, or purposely make it contrast for effect.

I really like the FastCap roller  Carbide edge trimmer, and the V shaped sanding block. Those plus the Virutex end trimmer make it go fast.

Seth

Offline Deansocial

  • Posts: 2114
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2012, 04:39 PM »
What ever you do not get chipboard melamine! Only MDF core melamine much better to cut and alot less likely to chip.    Chipboard core melamine is very difficult to cut with no chipping even cutting it with a router it will sometimes chip very annoying!

Jmb

only the cheap stuff does that jmb

Offline jmbfestool

  • Posts: 6568
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2012, 05:44 PM »
What ever you do not get chipboard melamine! Only MDF core melamine much better to cut and alot less likely to chip.    Chipboard core melamine is very difficult to cut with no chipping even cutting it with a router it will sometimes chip very annoying!

Jmb

only the cheap stuff does that jmb


Either way I'm never buying chipboard!   Can't tell you how many time I have wanted to throw my  TS55 across the room!

I had my blade sharpened few times  the blade just doesn't last at all!  It's goes blunt so quickly and start chipping the melamine.  The same blade I tried to cut some MDF melamine I have with no chipping at all.  Perfect clean cut loads better. 

I have my CMS set up I cut the sheets 3mm bigger than I want them and then send them through my CMS take 3mm off and get a perfect clean edge but doesn't take long to blunt my festool router cutter I have to keep winding the router up every so often.


Jmb
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Offline rdesigns

  • Posts: 187
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2012, 05:49 PM »
Cherry melamine with stick-on edge banding would be my choice for closet storage.

Cutting it chip-free takes some forethought and careful work, but it certainly can be done in a home workshop (like mine).

If you don't have the TS55 with tracks, you can get very good results with a triple-chip blade and a new zero-clearance throat plate in your table saw. A new or newly-sharpened blade will see you thru a project of this size, A big crosscut sled will let you crosscut.

A few years ago, I built a sytem of stackable boxes that could be combined in various combinations to make a desk, entertainment center, bookshelves, etc. I used Panolam melamine with a knotty pine finish and edge-banded with maple strips. The edge-banding was by far the most time consuming part, but the product was very satisfactory.

Haefle makes some very nice hardware for closet rods, as others no doubt do too.


Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1853
  • NORFOLK,VA
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2012, 06:38 PM »
If you do decide to go with melamine,a lot of manufactuer has a matching edge band.
As far as supplier,check with "the wurth group".
We have one here in Norfolk and they carry all kinds of melamine boards.
But,you may end up paying a lot of money if you only need a few sheets.And you may have to wait.Possibly because it's a "special order"
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3342
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2012, 06:46 PM »
Since you're in NoVa, check with the local California Closets franchise in Merrifield and take a look at the offering called "Candlelight".  It's a very close approximation to cherry and rather handsome for a melamine-based product.  You may be able to wangle a purchase of sheets of MDF coated with this offering and buy edge banding to match, as well. 

 [smile]
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Online tjbnwi

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Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2012, 07:37 PM »
My first choice would be combined core plywood. It is a plywood core with MDF layers under the veneer. I have never seen it pre-finished. There may be a finisher in your area who could handle that for you.

http://www.paxtonwood.com/PlywoodCore.aspx

Tom

Offline Tim Raleigh

  • Posts: 3472
    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2012, 09:37 PM »

1.  What exact sort of sheet goods should I be looking for?  I just discovered something called Panolam (panolam.com) that someone recommended as preferable to melamine.  At least online, it seems to have two or three finishes that I could live with, but I know nothing about its cost and little else.  Cost is a factor, but I also want material of better quality than you find at the big box stores.
Panolam is a company name that makes several different products. They do make melamine sheets with a printed wood grain. As many have noted it is hard to cut without chipping. It can be done, and you need a sharp blade and your saw needs to toe in slightly and you need to support the length of the cut. The Tenryu works the best on the TS55 but the Freud is also a good blade.
I pay $54.00 to $70.00 Cdn. a sheet for a 3/4"/20mm particle board that is (metric) slightly larger than 4'x8'.

2.  I would want to be able to edgeband the material with a matching color.  How does that affect my choices in material?

Almost all of  the Panolam melamine sheets have matching edge made by several different companies in several different materials in several different thicknesses. I use preglued Polyester and PVC and apply by hand. I prefer Polyester as it is not as brittle as PVC and in my opinion wears slightly better but is more difficult to apply.
[/quote]

4.  What about hardware to supplement the cabinets: rods, hooks, etc.?  Any recommendations for someone who wants a truly customized solution?

Like others have said, check out Hafele's catalog online, you will get a headache looking at all the choices.

Tim

Offline lawhoo

  • Posts: 171
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2012, 10:20 PM »
For those who've asked, I have a TS55, as well as a whole host of other Festools, including and OF1010 and 1400.  If I were to go with Panolam or some other sort of melamine, should I use a laminate blade?  Tim, you recommend a Tenryu or Freud, but which one?  And how are the Festool laminate blades?  I assume they're great, too.  So far, I've used only the original universal blade and am still amazed at the quality of the cuts.

Offline RL

  • Posts: 3038
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2012, 08:23 AM »
Have you considered solid wood for shelves and drawers? It will save you a lot of trouble with edge banding etc. Pine, cedar, lots of choices and easy to get hold of. You could have it milled to a consistent thickness and use your TS55 to do the rest. I leave my interiors unfinished.

For hardware, Lee Valley have everything you will need.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 08:25 AM by Richard Leon »

Offline Tim Raleigh

  • Posts: 3472
    • Oakville Cabinetry
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2012, 10:10 AM »
For those who've asked, I have a TS55, as well as a whole host of other Festools, including and OF1010 and 1400.  If I were to go with Panolam or some other sort of melamine, should I use a laminate blade?  Tim, you recommend a Tenryu or Freud, but which one?  And how are the Festool laminate blades?  I assume they're great, too.  So far, I've used only the original universal blade and am still amazed at the quality of the cuts.

Freud Blade Item #    LU96R006M20
Tenryu Blade # PSL-16048ABM2

I have never used the Festool laminate blade. The universal blade is excellent but once you use it to cut melamine it only will give you 8-12 good clean cuts. It's still good to cut plywood or solid wood however.

Remember to slightly toe in your saw. The directions for doing this are in Rick Christopherson's guide

Good luck.
Solid wood as Richard mentioned and/or the combined core plywood Tom mentioned will definitely be easier to work with. I like melamine for some projects (closets, garages) because it wears well, and can look very nice. I am not sure you are going to save any money over having California closets or a cabinet maker custom make them for you, but you will learn a lot and it will be fun.
Tim

Offline Tom Bellemare

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Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2012, 11:47 AM »
Quote
So far, I've used only the original universal blade and am still amazed at the quality of the cuts.

I'm not sure I'm reading this comment correctly but the TS 55 comes stock with the Fine Tooth Blade. The TS 75 and KAPEX come stock with Universal Blades.

Both are ATB and will dull fairly quickly on laminates.


Tom
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Offline lawhoo

  • Posts: 171
Re: Cherry melamine or prefinished plywood
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2012, 02:18 PM »
Quote
So far, I've used only the original universal blade and am still amazed at the quality of the cuts.

I'm not sure I'm reading this comment correctly but the TS 55 comes stock with the Fine Tooth Blade. The TS 75 and KAPEX come stock with Universal Blades.

Both are ATB and will dull fairly quickly on laminates.


Tom

My mistake, Tom.  I meant that I'm still using the original blade.  Thanks for the clarification.

David