Cabinet Bottom and Sides Material
From contributor R:
In my market I build most cabinets from white or maple melamine. For finished ends and bottoms I buy veneered melamine. Some people use melamine for everything and add a 1/4" skin for the exposed end.
I find the veneered material easier. You don't have to remember to add 1/4" to your face frame to cover the edge of it. I also use this material on frameless cabinets where you really can't add a 1/4" skin because of the edgebanding (no face frame to cover it). I also pre-finish (the outside) pieces before assembly.
From contributor J:
I almost exclusively use pre-finished maple veneer core plywood. Itís nice and bright inside the cabinet, and everyone loves wood. I can't stand working around (or lifting) particleboard, not to mention the formaldehyde, and it doesnít look that good. Veneer core costs more, but it's also a selling point. When a client desperately wants white melamine, I will use a combo-core instead of particleboard. (Interior core of crossband veneers with two outer layers of MDF, finished with wood veneer).
From contributor F:
I agree with Contributor J on this one. I also use veneer core ply on almost everything. I believe it is a far superior product well worth the price, and my clients agree. Most people when they understand the difference will pay for it. I generally use pre-finished maple for cabinets unless I need a matching interior, or MDO for paint grade. I've only used melamine on one commercial project and I made sure the client understood what they were getting and that I could not guarantee the work for more than a year.
From contributor L:
I use 3/4" birch ply for non-exposed components of the cabinets (bottoms, shelves, partitions, etc.) Note: I did say 3/4", while most are using 5/8" and 1/2".
From contributor P:
In our area, Bitterroot Valley in Montana, most cabinetmakers, myself included, use white, almond or woodgrain melamine for interiors. I've never had a client ask for real wood veneer plywood, except for a high end piece of furniture.
From the original questioner:
One of the reasons why I am asking is the expense factor. I have been doing mostly custom furniture that uses all "oak" (or whatever) plywood, hardwood, moldings, (inside and out). I have built around five kitchens so far and I am obviously overbuilding the cabinets. I have been using all the same material inside and out and it gets expensive.
I also donít like trying to finish the inside of cabinets that people are going to line with shelf paper anyway. Iím just trying to find a good way to cut down on the time (I am a one man shop) and the material cost (but not quality) since it appears that I may be doing a lot more cabinets.
From contributor F:
I would suggest that you target the high end work and use 3/4" pre finished maple or birch. Use conformant screws, 1/2" backs, and finished end panels over the screws and exposed 1/2" edge. We do mostly beaded inset face frames on wall units and entertainment units.
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