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Thread: Melanine, MDF, or Plywood ?

  1. #1
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    Melanine, MDF, or Plywood ?

    I have noticed that quite a few people use melanine to build table saw extensions, outfeed tables, router tables etc...

    Is there a specific reason that melanine is so popular? What about using MDF or cabinet grade plywood?

    I just built 2 extensions for my TS to go along with the new fence and rails. I used 3/4in MDF with a pine box underneath to give some place to put the screws into. Was MDF not a good choice?
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  2. #2
    Alan DuBoff is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
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    I think the reason is that it allows the wood to slide on it easily, "melamine" is just the protective coating over the laminate, the resin type plastic finish.

    MDF will work also, other than the danger of getting wet, which shouldn't be a problem at the table saw. Others use ply, it would work well too.

    A friend of mine made our cabinets in our kitchen before I got interested in working wood again, and he used melamine for the pull-out shelving, lazy susans, and drawers. It's good in the kitchen.

    I have a 40"x44" top on my table saw. So far I haven't needed an extention.

    EDIT: you'll need a special blade to cut plastic/melamine with, otherwise it melts and gums up I've heard. I did have a melamine blade for my old contractors saw, but sold it with the saw. I had never used it. A plywood blade could be a substitute in a pinch, you want a blade with a lot of teeth, and a plywood blade is like that.
    Last edited by Alan DuBoff; 03-31-2007 at 05:35 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Wright View Post
    I

    I just built 2 extensions for my TS to go along with the new fence and rails. I used 3/4in MDF with a pine box underneath to give some place to put the screws into. Was MDF not a good choice?
    I think that it was a very good choice. It is also very easy to make perfectly flat if it ever gets out of kelter with a router sled and a planer bit. I covered both sides of the two tops that I built with laminate for extra durability. For table saw extensions I do not think that it is necessary though. Pat Warner coats his MDF router tables with four coats of tung/poly and he says that they are quite durable for that application.
    Last edited by Allen Bookout; 03-31-2007 at 02:13 PM.

  4. #4
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    MDF would benefit from a plastic laminate top to resist denting and to reduce friction, but is otherwise a good choice. Melamine is often used b/c it's readily available, fairly cheap, has low friction, and is fairly sturdy...it's simpler than laminating MDF, but perhaps not us strong.
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