Cutting Melamine Coated Particle Board

lronickJanuary 4, 2006

I'm making a small shelf out of that melamine-coated particle board that the home centers sell. It's going to need to be cut to fit on a bathroom wall with some angles and a cutout for a metal grab bar. It's roughly 36' long, with a depth that varies from about 24', tapering off to only 3 1/2' at the other end. Only the top will be visible, so I only need the top to be chip-free. There's a rough sketch of the shelf at the link below.

I'm concerned about chipping the melamine when I cut it, but since this is a one-off project, I'd rather not invest in an expensive saw blade for my table saw. I have a decent blade in there now (I forget the pitch, but it's one made for 'trim', so it's finer than the standard rip blade that comes with most saws). I also have a router, circular saw, and a jog saw available. Any suggestions for making the cuts with a minimum of chipping?

Here is a link that might be useful:

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Cut with the good side UP, so the blade is cutting down into the material. You will probably get some blow out on the back side but you said you only need one good side. Also I would raise the blade as high as it goes this will help with the top side cut. If you need both sides good, raise the blade a 1/16" of an inch above the saw table and run the panel through then raise the blade and cut as above. This may require removing the guard, so only do this if necessary. Typically a triple chip or a hollow ground balde is used. Carbide also.

If you don't want to use the table saw, then I would cut oversize with the circular saw, then clamp a straight edge and using the router with a double flute straight bit cut it to the proper size.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 7:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do exactly what Tom wrote.

I raise the blade just above the saw table and make a grazing cut on the bottom face of the sheet, just deep enough to cut the veneer.

Then raise the blade and repeat the cut to go through the full thickness of the sheet.

It helps top have a tuned up table saw where the blade and fence are in alignment.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 6:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Useful tips!
When I replaced my kitchen counter I used my metal saw or jigsaw and then filed the edge. Could putting tape on the melamine over the designated cut first, help?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 4:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Probably not. Do as I wrote if you need two good sides on melamine panels. Also know there are several types of melamine panels. Thermofused (which is the best) and rolled melamine. Rolled melamine uses a heat activated adhesive on the back of a light weight paper. Thermo fused melamine actually melts the impregnated paper to the board. It can not delaminate as there is no glue line.
Have I sufficiently confused you ? :)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 5:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ive used a 2 stage process w great success-- 1st make the cut w ordinary saw about 1/8-3/16" larger than final size, then take router w/ straight edge bit to trim down to correct size. Edge will be sharp and chip free.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 11:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In spite of my best efforts still got minor chipping. Is there a product on the market that would hide/disguise my inadequacies?
Rgds, Hank

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Howdy Hanks:

To help hide the goof-ups

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:28PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
newbie veneer terminology question
My house has hollow slab doors veneered with luaun...
Fori is not pleased
Pear tree wood
Is their any value in Pear tree wood? My mother has...
Pooh Bear
black lacquer touch-up
how do i touch-up black lacquer furniture? Small areas...
Fence construction & what to use for finish
My fence is coming along nicely! Started last fall...
Table saw for hobby work.
I searched this question on here and I did find a few...
Sponsored Products
Beveled Arcs Six-Light Chandelier in Warm Muted Silver Leaf Finish
Westinghouse Ceiling Medallions 16 in. Split Design White Ceiling Medallion
$11.42 | Home Depot
Masiero Lighting | Blink PL4 Ceiling Light
Maxim Chrome Four-Light Sconce with Golden Teak/Smoky Royal Cut Crystals
$640.00 | Bellacor
Home Decorators Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Home Decorators Collection Rugs
$99.00 | Home Depot
Diamond Plus Fry Pan - 8" dia.
$89.95 | FRONTGATE
Small Tiffany Flower Table Lamps Home Decoration
Super Duper Apron - Adult
$12.99 | zulily
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™