Thermoset Adhesive Offers Speed and Strength for Custom Cabinetry

September 27, 2000
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A Miami-based shop displays kitchenware on custom cabinetry made by Cabinetworks using only 3M Jet-Weld Adhesive for fastening.
With business at Cabinetworks custom cabinetry quadrupling in just two and a half years, it seems more homeowners are spoiling themselves. The five-person, Miami-based company has clients from Boca Raton, Fla., to Miami booked three months in advance. Not surprising when you consider the 40-plus years of cabinetry experience backing shop owner, John Hendrix.

Hendrix has been building cabinets since 1964. “Custom cabinetry in Florida runs the gamut from the one-man, no-shop guy who builds on-site, to the major factory with a showroom to support it,” said Hendrix. “We think we’re the best of both worlds. While most shops use either Formica® or wood, we use both. Our customers can choose materials to suit their needs and budgets.”

A thin line of 3M Jet-Weld Adhesive, applied with a special Jet-Weld gun, can achieve handling strength within seconds, and within 10 minutes can have a holding strength as high as half a ton.

No More Mechanical Fasteners

Work at the shop typically leans toward the higher-end product and is evenly divided between commercial and residential products. All the design work at Cabinetworks originates with Hendrix – and he’s meticulous. Consider, for example, that Hendrix no longer uses mechanical fasteners on his cabinets. “Aesthetically, they are unappealing. Our customers are paying for high-quality, custom furniture, so they’re going to get the cleanest, most beautiful design possible.”

Instead, the company uses 3M™ Jet-Weld™ Thermoset Adhesive. The advantages of Jet-Weld Adhesive are its speed and strength. A thin bond line can achieve handling strength within seconds, and within 10 minutes can have a holding strength as high as half a ton. Its full-surface bond eliminates stress points – whereas fasteners concentrate them.

“I’ve used every kind of fastener imaginable,” said Hendrix, “including staples and drywall screws.” In addition to the sloppy appearance, assembly times were unbearable for the busy shop. “We also tried yellow glue to give the furniture a nicer look. But we had to clamp each piece and wait for it to dry overnight,” said Hendrix.

Partners John Hendrix and Nancy McCune have seen their business quadruple in just two and a half years.

Increased Productivity

Producing about $8,000 at retail in cabinetry each week, the mid-sized shop has no time to waste. “We need to keep things moving. We need the ability to wrap veneer around the radius of a cabinet and move on in two or three minutes,” Hendrix said.

With that in mind, Hendrix and his business partner, Nancy McCune, turned to their distributor, Tom Rush, at Cabinet & Solid Surface Supply Inc., Charlotte, N.C., for help.

“I didn’t go into Cabinetworks to talk specifically about Jet-Weld Adhesive,” Rush explained. “I was just looking for things that they might need to increase productivity. But John and I got to talking, and I knew Jet-Weld would be a huge benefit to his company. I told him that I had an interesting glue that I’d like for him to try.”

Hendrix and his group ran tests using the new adhesive. “The adhesive worked extremely well on wood to wood,” said Hendrix. “We wanted that same bond when using melamine, a resin-impregnated paper applied to a manufactured core. We use it on interior cabinet boxes to hold down the cost for certain customers.

“Because I liked the wood-to-wood bond, I developed a method of cutting just through the finish on the melamine with a 1/2-in flute router bit to expose a raw trough 1/2-in wide x 1/16-in deep. That way, I’m gluing wood to wood for a perfect bond,” Hendrix said. “The Jet-Weld Adhesive worked perfectly. We went completely crazy.”

Rush wasn’t surprised. “I’ve only received one Jet-Weld gun back in the two years I’ve been selling them. And that was from a customer who wasn’t holding the gun correctly. Considering I’ve sold six or seven guns in the last six weeks, that’s pretty impressive.”

Cabinetworks uses a 3M Jet-Weld gun, an Altendorf F-45 sliding panel saw, a SCMI edgebander, a 12-foot heat bender, a Jet 14-in band saw, and a unisaw table saw to complete all of its work. Since adding the Jet-Weld gun, the company has trimmed its turnaround time from 10 to 12 weeks to eight weeks. “We can now accept more jobs and still achieve an acceptable turnaround time,” said McCune. “Jet-Weld Adhesive is by far our most innovative tool.”

For more information about 3M Jet-Weld Adhesive, contact 3M at 1-800-362-3550.

For more information about custom cabinetry, contact Cabinetworks, 98 NW 72 St., Miami, FL 33150; phone 305-756-7254; fax 305-759-9085.

For more information on Cabinet & Solid Surface Supply Inc., the distributor mentioned in the article, please call 3M at 1-800-362-3550.

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