A sheet material, commonly used on inexpensive cabinets, and ready to
assemble cabinets and furniture products.
Melamine is a thermosetting plastic resin applied to a substrate, typically
The material is heated to cure or harden the resin. It contains formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogenic
Melamine is available in different sizes and thicknesses, as well as a large
number of colors and patterns. The sheets are heavy and difficult to work with, as the resin is prone to chipping
when being cut with conventional table saws.
Commercial shops generally use very large and expensive CNC machines,
controlled by CAD programs, which often have multiple cutter heads using router bits designed for these machines.
The cutter heads are automatically changed for the process being done.
The accuracy and speed in which these machines cut out parts is amazing. A
single machine can position the sheet,
cut all the parts, drill whatever holes are needed, cut rabits and dados, with repeatability that is perfect from
one sheet to the next.
For a demonstration on the use of one such machine, watch this video.
Smaller commercial shops generally use saws equipped with a second blade, known
as a scoring blade. This blade is smaller in diameter, and is positioned just in front of the main blade. This
scoring blade turns the opposite direction as the main blade and scores the bottom edge of the sheet which
prevents the main blade from chipping the bottom side of the cut as the blade exits the cut. This blade can be
run from the same motor using a belt drive, or a seperate smaller motor that is often a direct drive.
The scoring blade attachment is available for many standard cabinet saws as an
after market accessory.
Another method used is to cut the parts 1/4" oversized and trim all four side
by 1/8" using either a jointer or router table.
While this does add considerably to the labor it is effective in resulting in chip free cuts.
Another option is to use a saw blade designed for Melamine and other veneered
products. These blades are referred to as ATB,
or alternating top bevel. They are very effective when sharp, and when using a zero clearance insert. Forrest Blade
makes a blade called a Duraline Hi AT blade which is very effective, in cutting both meleamine and veneered
Often when purchased from wholesalers, the edges are not trimmed, and the
hardened resin makes handling the material
quite dangerous. Gloves are a must, as the resin is extremely thin and brittle, making it like a serrated knife
Sheets purchased from retail outlets are trimmed and don't have these jagged edges, but gloves should still be
as the edges are still razor sharp.
Edges should be sealed to prevent formaldehyde from escaping into the air. Exposed edges and edge
banded or have solid wood edges applied, much like plywood.
Specialty hardware is used with melamine due to the properties of the material.
Confirmat fasteners are designed
to maximize the holding power into the edges of the material. They are used with a special drill bit, also designed
with the material in mind.
Knock down fasteners, designed to permit parts to be connected with a
screwdriver or allen wrench, are used to make assembly quick and easy,
along with wooden dowels, which position the parts. These fasteners consist of two parts, one is a stud which is
screwed into the
edge of the melamine, and the other is a cam type part, inserted into a hole drilled part way through the
The cam is turned and pulls the two parts together and locks them into place. The procedure is reversible, so if
the furniture can be dismantled.
Fasteners For Melamine
No more stripped threads or pulling out on melamine or
particleboard! Hi-Lo screws grab the materiel for increased holding power. Two sizes. Color-
Black.25 per pack.Optional Bin Boxes are available with your order.
This universal connector is a heavy-duty cam-action
fastener for extremely strong joints — it’s great for knockdown or permanent applications.
Simply mount stud and drill holes! Cam is full 35mm (1-3/8") diameter for added