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Source for buying Laminated MDF or Particle Board

1053 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  JBrow
Hi All,

Long Story (see Question in next section if not interested :)
I hope to someday be a fine woodworker, but at the moment life has gotten in the way. Our closetmaid wire shelving is detaching from the drywall necessitating we redo the closet.

My plan is to install laminated boards, shelves and bars to replace the wire. Naturally HD & Lowes will be happy to sell me $100+ units totaling hundreds and likely thousands of dollars.

Alternatively I could buy the poor quality melamine from them at $26 a board, which I don't have faith in.

If I had the time, I could buy some nice plywood ($50 / 4×8 sheet) cut, finish apply trim and use that. Cost effective, but killer on time, especially without a shop (Track saws are great, but still need the space to work, and finish)

Ideally, I'd like to purchase some OK quality Laminate / High Pressure Laminate / MDF or Particle Board. I'm guessing boards of 12 - 14 inches wide and lengths of:
- 4×72"
- 6×48"
- 20×16"
- 4×24"
- 1×28"
- 4×34"

That would total about 13 8 ft boards 12-14 inches wide. I'd be OK paying more than $25 / 8 ft board if I knew it was going to be decent quality, and a bonus of a nicer look than white melamine.

I live in Fairfax, VA (Northern Virginia) and would like to find a source for these boards. Bonus points if I could get four of them shelf hole drilled.

If I can't get something local, are there any internet suppliers that would be able to fill this medium small order?


- Miles
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The least expensive and probably the fastest way to address this problem is to remove drywall and install 2" x 6" or 2" x 8" blocking wherever the wire shelving pulled from the drywall. If carefully cut and gently removed, the old drywall could be re-installed. It would take several days of mostly waiting time for the joint compound and then paint to dry. If new drywall is required for the patches, a sheet at $8 would be very affordable. After the repairs, the wire shelving could be re-installed.

A variety of styles of particle board shelving of various lengths and widths are available at the home center. I doubt there is any source of typically available ¾" particle board material based materials (whether covered with laminate, melamine, some form of veneer) that would span more than maybe 36" without sagging over time. A 1×2 piece of wood screwed on edge at the front of the shelf or shelf support brackets along the length of the shelf would provide the added support and go a long way in combating sagging on the longer shelves. You may get by without the 1×2 support or center support brackets if you can find 1" or thicker particle board, but you may have to apply the laminate covering yourself. Drilling evenly spaced holes for shelf pins is straightforward. A length of wood with carefully spaced holes would act as a jig or for about $30 a shelf pin jig can be purchased.

If you would rather build a closet organizer, you may want to re-think the melamine shelving (or other wood-looking particle board shelving) as your primary material. The master closet organizer I built and installed about 10 years ago from melamine shelving purchased from Lowes is as solid today as when it was installed. It features bays that house dual hanging rods and narrower bays with a single hanging rod. There is also adjustable shelving included. The construction required no ripping, but end cuts were required. Depending on its size and complexity, it could take some time to build.

I installed U shaped frames, two side pieces and a back piece, from pine for support of the hanging rod and the top and bottom fixed shelves. These were attached to the vertical melamine particle boards with screws through the particle board into the pine. The wooden frame was also used to fasten the organizer to studs in the wall. The U shaped frame was constructed with butt joints screwed together. The frame consisted of 1×2 and 1×6. Using a shelf pin jig, holes were drilled for the adjustable shelves. Wherever the span of the melamine shelves was so long that sagging of the hanging bar and/or shelf could be a problem, I added a center support to the U shaped frame.
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