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Forum topic by plantdude posted 10-21-2019 01:17 AM 461 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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plantdude

10 posts in 751 days


10-21-2019 01:17 AM

I plan on building a router table soon. For the top I am going to laminate two pieces of 1/2 birch plywood topped with plastic laminate. A lot of the plans I have seen show the top with lamiinate on the top and bottom sides. Is there a good reason to cover both sides or can I just put it on the top surface and finish the bottom with polyurethane?


22 replies so far

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FirehouseWoodworking

750 posts in 3809 days


#1 posted 10-21-2019 03:38 AM

I think you’ll be okay going with either option.

The important part is that ALL surfaces are sealed (including the edges and around the plate opening) so that no moisture is allowed to enter the plywood and possibly swell or warp your table.

Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

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Andybb

2149 posts in 1139 days


#2 posted 10-21-2019 07:31 AM


I think you ll be okay going with either option.

The important part is that ALL surfaces are sealed (including the edges and around the plate opening) so that no moisture is allowed to enter the plywood and possibly swell or warp your table.

Cheers!

- FirehouseWoodworking

+1 No need to laminate the bottom. Poly, shellac or paint or primer will do. Like Dave said make sure you seal the wood under the lip of the plate.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Bill_Steele

591 posts in 2267 days


#3 posted 10-21-2019 02:21 PM

I agree with both responses above. I have a router table (an extension on my saw) made of MDF that has no finish at all with a plastic laminate top and has been flat and stable for at least 5 years. It is always indoors, kept dry, and in a climate-controlled environment—that may have a lot to do with it staying flat. If you plan to make a router table that you use in an uninsulated workspace or something portable that you will be carrying inside/outside—you will want to do as the others have stated and thoroughly seal it

I’ve read that laminating both sides is done in an effort to equalize moisture absorption or release. If one side has laminate and the other does not, then the side without the laminate may “breathe easier” or release and absorb moisture at a different rate than the side with the plastic laminate.

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JackDuren

485 posts in 1495 days


#4 posted 10-21-2019 02:32 PM



I agree with both responses above. I have a router table (an extension on my saw) made of MDF that has no finish at all with a plastic laminate top and has been flat and stable for at least 5 years. It is always indoors, kept dry, and in a climate-controlled environment—that may have a lot to do with it staying flat. If you plan to make a router table that you use in an uninsulated workspace or something portable that you will be carrying inside/outside—you will want to do as the others have stated and thoroughly seal it

I ve read that laminating both sides is done in an effort to equalize moisture absorption or release. If one side has laminate and the other does not, then the side without the laminate may “breathe easier” or release and absorb moisture at a different rate than the side with the plastic laminate.

- Bill_Steele


Agreed…. Mines in a acclimated shop so i don’t have problems without it…

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plantdude

10 posts in 751 days


#5 posted 10-21-2019 11:31 PM

Thanks for the feedback.

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Woodbum

897 posts in 3601 days


#6 posted 10-22-2019 11:38 AM

I personally would P lam both sides if it were my build. The stability and flatness is the most important thing to consider when constructing a shop made router table. I would use two laminated pieces of 3/4” MDF or HDF and use plastic laminate on all of the surfaces including the edges. Overkill? Perhaps. But I want to build my table only once. Just my two cents from my own personal experience with keeping router table tops flat over the long haul. Good luck with your project, be safe and have fun.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

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JackDuren

485 posts in 1495 days


#7 posted 10-22-2019 01:37 PM

It usually not a problem if you lam one side and seal the bottom. Most all problems I’ve ever seen is where the table is too big and should have had additional stretchers to support the heavy router in the middle…

I supported these routers to the max..

View Robert's profile

Robert

3555 posts in 2016 days


#8 posted 10-22-2019 02:14 PM

@JackDuren – that is a very nice setup!!

On the laminating question, I’m with WoodBum.

The two issues with router tops are 1) flatness and 2) rigidity.
Laminate both sides. Why not? You already have the material, its just a little more work and will add rigidity.

Tip: leave at least 2” overhang to allow for clamps.

I also prefer MDF to plywood. Much more reliably flat (Tip: Always buy MDF from a supplier, not from the big box they stores. It is stores on 2 brackets and it will NOT be flat). Also it is denser and more stable than ply.

FYI, sealers, top coats, etc will NOT prevent moisture intrusion and subsequent wood movement. Probably splitting hairs and won’t matter, but you’re stand needs to be absolutely flat.

Also plywood is subject to moisture and movement just like dimensional lumber. IOW don’t assume its perfectly flat. Whereas MDF (stored correctly) will be dead flat.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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pottz

6639 posts in 1520 days


#9 posted 10-22-2019 02:25 PM

+1 on the mdf for a dead flat top it’s much better than ply.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

485 posts in 1495 days


#10 posted 10-22-2019 02:55 PM

I won’t use MDF on anything other than a painted surface, laminating walls or veneering.. Particle board is more ridgid and MDF is not..

I’ve seen the results of flex on MDF too many times over the year..No way…

The problem with most router cabinets is most don’t laminate the top…

We used a lot of MDF I believe it was call MEDEX for commercial builds but still wouldn’t use it for a top…

But knock yourself out. it’s yours. Gotta make yourself happy. I’m just making sure the options are understood..

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JackDuren

485 posts in 1495 days


#11 posted 10-22-2019 03:02 PM

the forum does realize nobody in the residential and commercial end of cabinetry use MDF for tops because particle board doesn’t cup over time like MDF.

Even trim carpenters don’t use it for shelving because it sags….

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pottz

6639 posts in 1520 days


#12 posted 10-22-2019 03:14 PM



the forum does realize nobody in the residential and commercial end of cabinetry use MDF for tops because particle board doesn t cup over time like MDF.

Even trim carpenters don t use it for shelving because it sags….

- JackDuren

two pieces of 3/4 mdf laminated together and i dont think youd have a problem,ive used it on my ras table and my drill press table without any issues.for shelves never nor would i use particle board for shelves.and i have seen particle board warp and cup.this is just my personal experience.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

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JackDuren

485 posts in 1495 days


#13 posted 10-22-2019 03:21 PM

You think MDF is more rigid than particle bd?

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pottz

6639 posts in 1520 days


#14 posted 10-22-2019 03:28 PM



You think MDF is more rigid than particle bd?

- JackDuren


i didn’t say that i said ive used mdf many times without any issues,i dont like particle board,my preference as i stated.is that ok?

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

279 posts in 137 days


#15 posted 10-22-2019 03:31 PM

I am wanting to build a router table that is supported by the rails that extend the rip fence but I am getting confused as what I should use. by all the back and forth here. I will need the top to be slick and I will likely need another layer to glue (laminate) to it for rigidity and possibly even add some other support around the router. I was thinking of using melamine for the top and ? for the bottom. Is there a better way to do this?

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