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Thread: Table Top Veneer Help

  1. #1

    Table Top Veneer Help

    So I made an MDF work table top that I'd like to cover with a black, water resistant veneer of some sort. Also, its a work table, so I don't want to spend much $ on it. I know nothing about veneers or what's available, so I really need some help. My first thought was some kind of formica, but what do I know. Anyways...help!

  2. #2
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    Laminate is your friend here as you note and it's easy to work with, IMHO. Formica, Wilsonart, etc., are all good products. Which brand you get is more about where you choose to buy it.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    Yep, laminate is what you want.

    John

  4. #4
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    Makes me shiver a bit to consider laminate as veneer. If you do put laminate on the working face, also apply it to the back or at least put a laminate backer sheet on the back. Unbalanced construction applies to laminate the same as with wood veneer.

  5. #5
    Your least expensive option may be to glue down a sheet of 1/8" tempered hardboard. Stick it down with PVA, when it gets beatup you can scuff and apply a fresh one on top. Horizontal grade laminate is somewhat pricey... you may be in the 1.80+ a square foot range just for the material. Hardboard is usually about 12-15 bucks a sheet.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  6. #6
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    Mark makes a good point. I'll add that if you do a raised border to contain the tempered hardboard, you can let gravity keep it in place, flip it when one side gets messed up and replace it quickly and inexpensively in the future.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
    Good point. I'm going to have to consider that. I've done a few workpieces like that and they work out well. That said, it's going to be like a hobby desk, inside and visible, so I kinda wanted a furniture look, But the hardboard would be considerably cheaper than formica, adhesive and a roller. Hmmmm...

  8. #8
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    The hardboard can look pretty darn nice, especially with an attractive border. You can't beat the price, either....and no dealing with contact cement and rollers. You can even put a light coat of your varnish choice on it to slick it up for both practicality and looks.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
    Only issue I can see is that the top will be exposed to some water drops, that's why I thought about formica. Not sure how a finish would hold up as well.

  10. #10
    I got a 50% discount on some cracked and chipped pieces of laminate from the local Ace hardware. Maybe worth asking at your local suppliers.

  11. #11
    So assuming I get a sheet of formica, what's the sequence of gluing and trimming for my table top, which is not installed on a base yet?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Arita View Post
    So assuming I get a sheet of formica, what's the sequence of gluing and trimming for my table top, which is not installed on a base yet?
    Cut oversize, glue, then trim with a flush bit in a small router.

    Are you going to formica the sides too? Do that before the top.

  13. #13
    Sorry, in all my years, I always avoided doing this. So, first I glue up the sides, trim the sides and corners, one side at a time? Then glue on the top and trim to size. How do I get all those nice, chamfered edges? Is it just a chamfer bit?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Arita View Post
    Sorry, in all my years, I always avoided doing this. So, first I glue up the sides, trim the sides and corners, one side at a time? Then glue on the top and trim to size. How do I get all those nice, chamfered edges? Is it just a chamfer bit?
    It's usually a special little one flute chamfer bit with a relatively low angle and a brass bushing rather than a bearing. You can use any bearing-bearing chamfer bit you want, but the material is harder on it than wood would be.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
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    You need two bits: a chamfer bit, and a straight (non-chamfer) flush trim bit. You use the straight bit where the cut edge is going to be covered by another piece of formica -- for instance the top edge of all of the sides.

    The bits will leave an edge like a razor. When you've all done, it is nice to use a bit of sandpaper to relieve that edge.

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