Working With Melamine
Laminate-covered substrate produces a bright, clean and washable cabinet at a lower cost than hardwood panels.
Synopsis: Melamine is less expensive than plywood and its laminate surface is easy to keep clean, so the material is a logical choice for kitchen and bathroom cabinets. The author, a cabinetmaker and experienced kitchen renovator, shares tips on how to work with the material in the article. A sidebar describes the different types of melamine that are available.
A few years ago, I remember, I was admiring the cabinets in my sister’s new kitchen until I opened a cabinet door and saw melamine. My stomach turned. In those days before I knew better — I tried to persuade any customer who specified melamine to use something else, usually a hardwood plywood with filled grain and catalyzed-lacquer finish.
Then one day a customer on a tight budget brought me his kitchen plans. The upper cabinetry would be open birch shelving; the base units would house drawers behind doors. With this…