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Forum topic by 3285jeff posted 03-06-2020 03:40 PM 452 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3285jeff

186 posts in 2494 days


03-06-2020 03:40 PM

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 ,,,also when I cut the formica do I use a table saw with 80 tooth blade or can I use a sharp utility knife,,which would be the best,,,please excuse me for all the questions,,but this is my first countertop


9 replies so far

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JackDuren

1236 posts in 1736 days


#1 posted 03-06-2020 03:44 PM

Edge banding first….cut it a little bigger than needed. Usually a belt sander is use but if not you can you a flush bit. You can cut a piece of edge banding on the tablesaw. You can score it many times with a utility knife but be careful as it will take sever times to score it enough…

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wildwoodbybrianjohns

1679 posts in 324 days


#2 posted 03-06-2020 03:55 PM

Edge first. In case you didnt know, you will need to soften the edge of the formica over with a fine file, and there will likely be a fine glueline visible(left by the bit) which you aim to take out with the file, carefully, not too much angle to the edge, so you are not filing the edge banding.

Cutting thin strips for edge banding is doable on a table saw but it can be squirrely. With some table saw fences there is a slight curve on the bottom edge where the formica could bind, or even a small gap on some whereunder the formica could slide. There are “laminate slitters” that are made to cut edge banding, thats the easiest, safest, surest way. If youre gonna do it on the T.S., I would suggest clamping a board to the fence if your fence doesnt sit tight/square onto the deck. Or, maybe better, using a carrier board for the larger piece, so the offcut to the left of the blade is the piece you want for the edge banding( and this way, the flex in the formica wont be an issue). Another way would be to use a straight edge board and the router to cut edge band. More specifically, you lay the formica on top of a board so it is up off the table, then on top of that you put your straight edge board, both edges need to be aligned. So the width of your band plus the diameter of the bit is the amount of formica sticking out of the sandwich. The router rides on top of the straight edge board with a flush trim bit riding aginst the edge of the lower board.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: Because cheese isnt a healthy source of cheese, I will use grated cucumber to top off this raw food vegan pizza.

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John Smith

2441 posts in 939 days


#3 posted 03-06-2020 03:58 PM

Jeff, if you are a beginner in this procedure, I would suggest you practice many times
on similar material. (formica & Wilsonart with contact cement is VERY unforgiving).
the edges must be perfect 90* angles. any imperfections can be filled with Bondo.
[if you used a jigsaw in any of the cuts, you must ensure perfect 90 degree angles].
dry fit the banding first – use masking tape and bar clamps to hold it in place to ensure
everything is “right” before you start the glue application.
Note: the bottom edge of the banding must be flush with the edge of the wood and
sanded down smooth to prevent people from cutting themselves. all sharp edges must
be removed. hard laminates are extremely sharp when rough cut.
practice first – dry fit first.
I have used many tools to get the banding flush with top edge. I usually follow up
the finish trim cut with a large flat file to ensure the edge banding is flush with the top.

this is a top that I made last year using a 36×80” solid core door just for a temporary
countertop – it will soon be replaced with Corian and the old top will go to the
garage as a cooktop for an outside kitchen.
anyway – here is the file I use to get the banding flush with the top.
the chips you get when you are in a hurry and you rush the process. (are not repairable).
and the messy joints in the banding if you don’t take your time to get a really good fit.
an extra pair of hands (or two) is necessary for novice laminate projects.
practice on similar material first – dryfit the final project first.

and then, your next challenges will be with the router and trim bits.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

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wildwoodbybrianjohns

1679 posts in 324 days


#4 posted 03-06-2020 04:39 PM

Another tip. If your are going to lay the formica down by yourself, use lengths of dowels as spacers, as long as the top is wide. As many as necessary to insure the two glued surfaces dont contact until you are sure you have everything aligned correctly. Then begin removing the dowels at one end and proceed. The contact cement will be cured enough that the dowels wont adhere to it.

Also, after you have glued both surfaces, go back and check very closely that there are no woodchips or other debris stuck in the cement. One tiny imperfection here can cause major problems.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: Because cheese isnt a healthy source of cheese, I will use grated cucumber to top off this raw food vegan pizza.

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Madmark2

1381 posts in 1365 days


#5 posted 03-06-2020 07:13 PM

Cut laminate face down to prevent chipping at end of cut. Use a “laminate” blade.

When cutting thin strips hold the end of the laminate up so the side rides up the side of the rip fence. This prevents the piece from trying to slide under the fence. You may have to flex the blade leading edge area down with one hand as you hold the rear up with the other hand.

Masking tape cut lines before cuts – also gives marking surface since laminate doesn’t normally mark easily.

Dry fit – twice!

Use a J roller and plenty of weight to fully activate the adhesive.

Edge first and belt sand per above. Use heat gun or hair dryer to make edging flexible for rounded corners.

All outside corners should be rounded (ever walk into a corner in the dark? Ooof!)

Stock up on dowels.

First touch is IT – you can’t shift it

Use solid carbide straight self guide trim bits. Wipe any glue squeeze out off before routing.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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wildwoodbybrianjohns

1679 posts in 324 days


#6 posted 03-06-2020 07:54 PM



Cut laminate face down to prevent chipping at end of cut. Use a “laminate” blade.

- Madmark2

I was trying to remember if it was face up, or face down to prevent this, but couldnt, its been so long since I worked with formica.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: Because cheese isnt a healthy source of cheese, I will use grated cucumber to top off this raw food vegan pizza.

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SMP

2131 posts in 682 days


#7 posted 03-06-2020 08:41 PM

As mentioned, use masking tape on the cut lines, and take a rag or paper towel to seat it into the texture, that will keep it from chipping as mentioned with the good side down, slow feed.

View bilyo's profile

bilyo

1112 posts in 1879 days


#8 posted 03-07-2020 12:23 AM


Cut laminate face down to prevent chipping at end of cut. Use a “laminate” blade.

- Madmark2


I think the “laminate” blade that Madmark2 references is like this one. These are available at most hardware stores. The edge you see does have an edge but the rear face is squared off and the knife cuts (actually plows) a groove on the pull stroke. It usually takes me 3-4 pulls against a straight edge to plow a deep enough groove that I can then cleanly snap. I usually have better results plowing through the top surface and snapping the backing material.

As mentioned above, I always apply the edge banding first and route, sand, or file the top edge square and flush. Then apply the top surface. To trim the top surface flush, I like to use a trim bit in the router that has a slight taper like this one. It leaves a nice slight bevel on the edge.

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

90 posts in 162 days


#9 posted 03-10-2020 05:23 AM

I’m more comfortable using a Carbide tipped laminate scoring tool.
Yes, attach the edge first.
Formica/Wilsonart in full sheets can be too wobbly for the table saw. You may need infeed and outfeed to control the potential bow of material.
Pex pipe cut to needed lengths works great and is considerably less $ than dowels.
Single J roller, not a triple wide. Remember the safety eye protection too.
Good luck

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