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Thread: First countertop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
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    First countertop

    I am making a countertop for my son and I glued 2 sheets of 3/4 plywood together...I have been watching alot of you tube videos...this is my first experience with formica so I thought I would ask for your input also..should I put the edge banding on first..which I am going to cut from the piece of formica I have...what would you recommend as far as cutting it and I know you need a flush trim bit for your router..I guess my main question is...what would you do first...the top or edge...thank you

  2. #2
    I've always done side edges first, then front edge, then top. Trim the edges with a straight laminate trim bit, and the top with an angled bit (usually 5 or 7 degrees). The adhesive tends to build up on the bits, so clean them often. Lacquer thinner is what I use to clean them.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  3. #3
    Never glued up two sheets, only doubled the perimeter and where two cabinets meet. Attached edge banding first, and them laminate, trimming with a 45 bit on front, and straight bit on sides and back. Be sure and use a block or piece of plywood with sand paper attached to get substrate and edge banding PERFECTLY even before attaching laminate.

  4. #4
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    You should also laminate the bottom with backer or regrind to avoid delamination.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark e Kessler View Post
    You should also laminate the bottom with backer or regrind to avoid delamination.
    That's a negative. Total waste of resources.

    You can just rip edges on the table saw. Tape a shim next to the fence so the laminate cant slide under the fence. Assuming you don't own or know how to use a "no-file" bit, I would tape the edge with painters tape before flush trimming the top. This will avoid marring the edge and leave just a hair for you to hit with a file. Try not to get glue on the edge when sticking the top, this will make routing and filing so much easier.

  6. #6
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    ok, I have only built miles and miles of countertops and did laminate work for many years in my biz and when employed for others, you certainly do not need to do it for low end work builder grade but I never skipped that step

    And you don’t need tape (talk about waste...), use wax and the right bit (make sure the bearing rotates freely) don’t worry about the glue clean it up with lacquer thinner before filing and you will need to file to make it a “professional” job, go easy laminate is not forgiving...


    Message to the OP, if you do not use a backer expect the top to curl up, may be a little may be a lot, may matter may not. Same goes with delam, it usually takes a few years depending on how the space that it lives in is conditioned and i have never had a full delam usually just a corner lifts, edges lift all can be repaired but as a biz wasn’t worth a callback or reputation.


    Quote Originally Posted by johnny means View Post
    That's a negative. Total waste of resources.

    You can just rip edges on the table saw. Tape a shim next to the fence so the laminate cant slide under the fence. Assuming you don't own or know how to use a "no-file" bit, I would tape the edge with painters tape before flush trimming the top. This will avoid marring the edge and leave just a hair for you to hit with a file. Try not to get glue on the edge when sticking the top, this will make routing and filing so much easier.
    Last edited by Mark e Kessler; 03-06-2020 at 6:47 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Mark
    "use wax and the right bit (make sure the bearing rotates freely)"

    what wax do you use and what bit, brand and model number please
    used to do a laminate by the lift always struggled with laminate top to laminate front edge
    would use t-mold or wood front edge to avoid issues, been a few years since I did laminate work however still interested
    thank you
    Ron

  8. #8
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    We use no-file bit as well. Laminate can really suck. I agree than running a backer is great in a kitchen or a wet area (especially around a dishwasher or sink) but its not necessary everywhere. Office, desks, and so on, no need. If the money is there to provide it across the board then have at it but thats never the case in my world.

    Just google Amana no-file bit and you'll find Amana, Freud, etc..

    We wax with our standard no-silicone paste wax that we use on router base plates, planer beds, saws, etc.. I cleanup the tools with Acetone not lacquer thinner (its faster) but you want to be careful using acetone on the laminate if you get carried away it can seep in and loosen the edge. Not getting contact everywhere is the challenge especially if your spraying. Even trying hard to keep the stringies of the edges its can be a challenge.

    Buy a bunch of the lab style bent tip plastic squeeze bottles and put your solvent in them. If they tip no spill, and you will save miles and miles of solvent not pouring/soaking your rags with more solvent than you need.

    Just my 0.02
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark e Kessler View Post
    ok, I have only built miles and miles of countertops and did laminate work for many years in my biz and when employed for others, you certainly do not need to do it for low end work builder grade but I never skipped that step

    And you don’t need tape (talk about waste...), use wax and the right bit (make sure the bearing rotates freely) don’t worry about the glue clean it up with lacquer thinner before filing and you will need to file to make it a “professional” job, go easy laminate is not forgiving...


    Message to the OP, if you do not use a backer expect the top to curl up, may be a little may be a lot, may matter may not. Same goes with delam, it usually takes a few years depending on how the space that it lives in is conditioned and i have never had a full delam usually just a corner lifts, edges lift all can be repaired but as a biz wasn’t worth a callback or reputation.
    Reason for the tape was because an inexperienced laminator may not get a perfectly square edge. No amount of wax is going to stop the bit from cutting into the edge if it bevels inward a little. I've been around the business long enough to be able to predict rookie mistakes.

  10. #10
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    Thinner matching laminate edging is available from your (non-big box) supplier. 2" precut width IIRC. Thin enough to bend around a 2 or 3" radius to avoid sharp corners. Did a bunch of 36" x 72" x 1-1/8" office desk tops to replace old Hamilton tilting drafting table tops. Three radius corners on each.
    Last edited by Ole Anderson; 03-06-2020 at 9:24 PM.
    NOW you tell me...

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