Can I Pocket-Screw Melamine?

Seems to work fine here are a few tips. February 20, 2008

How well do pocket screws work with melamine? I have a microwave cab to build and was thinking of using Kreg pockets. What do you think?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
They will work fine. The problem will be the drill bit. The regular Kreg bits are HSS. I would assume it is going to get trashed pretty quick cutting through all that glue. You might want to purchase a carbide tipped bit.

From contributor A:
I looked at the Kreg site and they sharpen their HSS bits for $4 including s/h (only $2 for multiples). I would get a couple of extra bits and skip the carbide.

From contributor J:
I would recommend using Confirmat screws for the melamine. These were actually designed for this application and are an approved method of joinery per AWI standards. I personally would not use the pocket screws to hold a melamine box together. I would only use the pockethole screws for plywood or plywood core sheet goods. I would, however, use the pockethole screws to hold a face frame to a melamine box.

From contributor K:
Pocket screws and melamine don't mix, in my opinion. I've only tried it with 5/8" melamine, though. I use biscuit joints.

From contributor N:
We use 19mm melamine faced MDF for our carcasses most of the time and use biscuits and pocket hole screws to attach the face frames. The pocket holes work perfectly but we do get through the drill bits. Use a slow speed on the drill, too fast and you overheat the corners on the bit and it goes blunt. As the bits are around 15 ($30) each over here, it gets expensive, but one bit should do a whole kitchen.

From contributor L:
Melamine and pocket screws are just fine. Have built literally thousands of cases with the joint. I would recommend 3/4 material and Roo or pl200 or Liquid Nails to add some strength.

Just build some boxes - have mixed melamine and pocket screws, nails, gum, barbed wire, electrical tape - all of it - and had success. Don't sweat it and don't lose sleep. If you are ever in serious question, build a joint and test it.

From contributor B:
I have 15,000+ cycles on my current drill bit without sharpening and it cuts just fine. Probably half the cuts in melamine. I was using 3/4" melamine and pocket screws without glue. Roo Glue is a mess and isn't needed. Build a test piece and give it a shot. You will find it is faster to just use zipper screws or screws and staples. Either holds well.