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Laminate Door Fabrication Tips

Advice on applying laminate to glazed MDF cabinet doors, with some words about edgebanding and lacquer detailing. November 13, 2005

I do very little laminate work, but I've got a good customer (interior designer) who needs a favor. Said customer needs laminated slab kitchen cabinet doors replaced with glazed doors. The new doors need to be laminated with Wilsonart designer white. Doors will be 15 X 30, MDF, with a 10 X 25 lite.

Is there an advantage to using matching edgebanding, as opposed to laminate? Should I cut the rabbet for the glass before or after I laminate the inside edge? Same question regarding edgebanding on this edge. I want to paint the inside of the rabbet white to match. Does anyone have experience with lacquer and laminate? Is overspray difficult to remove?

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surface Forum)
From contributor P:
Why not go with a RTF mullion door, with a painted rabbet? If you are replacing a laminate slab door because of a profile issue, you are not going to be able to use laminate.

From the original questioner:
Thanks, but it's not a profile issue, and I already asked about RTF. This is a good customer in a jam with their customer, whose request is very specific.

From contributor D:
One of the advantages of using edgebanding as opposed to laminate for the outside edges is that if you edgeband with it after laminating the front and back, you'll hide the thickness of the laminations, i.e., no black lines. One of the disadvantages of PVC edgebanding is that it will dent easier than lam will. As far as the rabbets are concerned, I'd run them after laminating the edges. Just use a rabbeting bit and climb cut it. Painting the rabbets with a lacquer won't be a problem. Do it all the time. Lacquer thinner on a rag will clean it up. I usually brush it on. Also, when you order the laminate, specify vertical grade unless the client specs standard grade.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. Precisely the guidance I was looking for! What do you think about edgebanding for the inside edge? I had already discussed the black lines with the customer, and they were alright with it. But, it would be a definite improvement without them.

From contributor D:
In regard to the interior edges, I'd also use PVC there. Would be a good idea to masking tape these edges prior to climb routing them to prevent any possible bearing burns that may or may not occur. Better safe than sorry. Your client is okay with lam lines. My order of assembly for these doors would be to band the exterior edges, the interior edges and then the faces if I were to use lam for the inner and outer edges.

If I could use lam for the outer and PVC for the interior edges, then it would be outer edges, faces and then interior edges with the PVC.

Make sure you crown the MDF panels so that the concave surface is the interior face of the door. Makes for a better appearance when it comes time to hang the doors. With as much of the interior area of the MDF being removed to accommodate the glass, the crowning shouldn't be much of an issue. But, once again, better safe than sorry. And a good habit to fall into when making any type of laminated doors or countertops. You've thought out the preliminaries of this project well.