Trimming Melamine

cfmuehlingMarch 25, 2011

Hi all!

I have some melamine cabinets I need to trim about 1/4" to fit under the ceiling. I considered gouging out the ceiling, but that's a huge job.

I've scribed where I need to cut, but now I'm again frozen in ignorance and concern:

What should I use/do to make certain this gawd-awful melamine doesn't chip itself to death? Jig saw? MultiMaster? Cut the whole thing down from 42" to 30"?

Please don't waste time with the lecture on using melamine cabinets. They have their purposes and mine is called poverty + these in excellent condition. I appreciate the thought, though I appreciate the trimming advice more.



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There are saw blades designed just for cutting Melamine. It sounds as if you need a circular saw sized blade(7&1/4" diameter).

Using the circular saw Melamine blade, a straight edge guide for the saw and taping the line to be cut should get that 1/4" off in the quickest time.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 11:44PM
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Cutting melamine without chip-out requires a special, often expensive, saw blade. Forrest makes one but it's $121 (in a 7.25" circular saw size).

The other option is to score the surface but it's a little tricky and somewhat dangerous. Chip-out will occur on the top side of the piece you're cutting with a circular saw. You'll need a good, new cross cut blade, 40-60 tooth. Clamp a straight edge to your work piece and the workpiece to your bench. Raise the blade of your saw so that the blade will just nick the surface (no more than 1/16" depth of cut). Then run the saw backwards across your workpiece. That will score the melamine without chip-out. Obviously you want to be VERY careful when you do this, have complete control of the saw, and watch those fingers. Then drop the saw blade to it's full depth of cut and finish your cut. You want the scrap to be fully supported to it doesn't fall off and pull the melamine with it at the end of the cut.

If possible, make a few practice cuts to hone your technique.

You can't use a jig saw for this.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 5:19AM
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Cool. I can do this all of this on the straight edge. Makes sense, too.

I guess on the curvier, scribed area I should just use the belt sander as has been recommended. I'm thinking I might score the curved area, then cut out what I can with the saw (or multimaster) then sand it down to the line.

[right] nothing is easy for me. They just couldn't fit right in there without trouble. But I'm not giving up! [LOL] I will have cabinets.

"And closets. Yes, I'm gonna build closets and hang clothes up someday," she muttered, wandering away.

Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 8:39AM
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A belt sander is commonly used to remove small sections of material to a ascribe line.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 9:47AM
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Well, I may be on to something here.

My plan was to trim off the excess and belt sand.
I'm here to tell 'ya that the Multi-Master trimmed the line I scored to perfection. No chipping at all.
Now I just have to deal with the wonky wall behind it.

It never ends. But that was good news!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 5:07PM
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