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Thread: Cuttin cabinet door openings in melamine?

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    swords's Avatar
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    Cuttin cabinet door openings in melamine?

    I'm getting ready to build a 49" L x 25" W x 36" H terrarium stand (and possibly a custom sliding glass front terarrium of roughly the same size to go ontop of it for my plants and anole) but for now I'm only thinking of the stand.

    I want to cut a hole in the front of the stand and put a hinged door on it. I am using 3/4" Melamine coated board to build the stand. I have a power drill with various sized hole saws and a hand held jig saw to cut with.

    My idea is that I can trace my door opening with a T square and drill 3/4" holes in each corner of the opening and connect the holes with the jig saw. Is this a good way to do it is there a better way to go about making the opening?

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    SirKristoff is a poopiehead Ozzy's Avatar
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    That's pretty much the way professionals do it.

    Only problem I can see is chipping the Melamine. I don't know much about it. If you have any spare pieces you can do some test drilling and cutting, to see how it cuts.

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    VFT and Drosera lover vft guy in SJ's Avatar
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    Best bet, using a jig saw, is to cut the melamine face down, the blade on a jig saw cuts on the upstroke so cutting with the face down will make MOST of the chipping come through the back.

    Skip the hole saws. Drill a hole in the center of the opening and then cut from the center point to the line.. cut till you hit the 90* corner, then back up a few inches and turn the saw till you are cutting straight on the next line.. repeat till you get the big chunk out then come back and clear out the corners.


    Do you have access to a skill saw? A circular saw used in the same mannor will give you MUCH cleaner cuts. If you cut with the face down as explained above and you are careful, you can keep the overcuts on the reverse side and have perfect corners along with MUCH straighter lines.

    Look for a product called Seamfil. Its basicly a colored epoxy type putty that we use when filling seams in laminate. The pure white (#901) fills melamine nicely.

    Do you have access to a professional cabinet shop? Even the local High Schools woodshop may suffice.. commision a kid to cut your piece for you maybe?

    Draw out your openings on the face side, score the lines carefully with a utility knife. Cut on the inside of your score lines and use a file to clean up the edges. I would probably do this including cutting with the face down. Also a bit of masking tape over the actual score/cut lines will help keep chipping to a minimum.

    Any other questions feel free to PM me.

    Cheers
    Steve
    There are only 2 infinite things... the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not too sure about the universe.

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    Illinois droseraguy's Avatar
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    I might have skipped over this but the blade in the jig saw should be a pretty fine tooth one, nothing special. This should also cut down on chipping in addition to what was mentioned above.
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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!

    I've used the Melamine before, my desks and art benches are made from it. I just had never cut a big hole in it before. There is minimal flaking around cutting points, most noticeable is the edge of the wood which is brown and not brilliant white like the surface.

    So if I had a circular skill saw (I think they're around $30 for a small model) I could just stab straight down with it and cut out the square opening?

    Yes I always use a fine tooth cutting blade in my jigsaw for cutting wood too, definately much nicer cuts!

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    VFT and Drosera lover vft guy in SJ's Avatar
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    You know you can get iron on edge tape to go over the raw edges after you cut right? Even your local HD should carry it. It applies easily with just a standard household iron. Trim off the excess with a file or sharp razor blade and voila, no more raw wood.

    If you use a circular saw it should be just as simple as using a jigsaw. Like you said, just drop the saw straight down through the sheet. You could take the precaution of clamping a straightedge to your piece to guide the saw and ensure the straightest cuts. Just be careful not to cut past your lines on the face side.

    Good luck,
    Steve
    There are only 2 infinite things... the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not too sure about the universe.

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    swords's Avatar
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    No, i didn't know you could get stuff for the edges, I'll definately look for some when I go to look at saws. A straight edge guide is just a piece of wood held on the a couple C clamps right?

    I have an impromptu night off work tonight cos on my way in my car started grinding, when I stopped to have it inspected at the gas station they found breaks were bad, my struts were also bad and the spring on the drivers side snapped and was ready to puncture my tire. Fun times - I just paid that credit card off with my tax refund!

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    VFT and Drosera lover vft guy in SJ's Avatar
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    A straight edge guide is just a piece of wood held on the a couple C clamps right?
    Yup thats it.. Just a way to help eliminate any wandering you may get by cutting freehand. I would use it no matter which saw you use, but especially if you use the jigsaw.

    Cheers
    Steve
    There are only 2 infinite things... the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not too sure about the universe.

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