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Old 05-13-2009, 10:30 AM   #1
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laminating counter tops

For my bathroom vanity I bought i piece of counter top that was already laminated but doesn't have a back splash. Also bought a sheet of laminate to match. It was ALOT cheaper to do it this way than to order the top I wanted, guess Menard's stocks random counter top pieces and I paid about 15 bucks for the top and another 10 or so for the sheet of laminate. They wanted 90 bucks for the same top with a back splash already on. I bought a used laminate trimmer, porter cable with 3 different bases. I also got the end cap kit for the top so I can do the side of it.

So I need to attach the end cap for the counter and trim it. Then I need to wrap a piece of pine with the sheet of laminate I bought. What is the best way to cut the laminate to rough size, a table saw? What kind of blade if table saw, tooth count? Then I need some help on gluing the laminate, just brush on contact cement and lay and use a roller? And last, any advice on using a laminate router would help. I've never used one before. Which way should I move it, clockwise or counter? And if I need to wrap the front, top and side of a piece of pine which side should I do first? Sorry for so many questions but just trying to learn how to do this. Thank you


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Old 05-13-2009, 09:27 PM   #2
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I use my table saw with a sharp 40 tooth blade to cut laminate. I use a piece of sheet metal angle to slide the laminate so it does not slide under my fence. I cut it face up and about 3/8 all around bigger than whatever I am laminating.

Use a good contact cement and follow the directions. Make sure things are clean and your pine board is straight grain (think about poplar).

Move the trimmer in a CCW direction around the part, take your time getting the adjustments corrent.

When laying up the laminate, think about which edges face which direction, try to hide those edges from common view. I do the two ends first rimming them flush, then the face trimming the ends with a 22 degree bevel and the top flush, then the top with a 22 degree bevel, but that is a personal preference.


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Old 05-13-2009, 10:10 PM   #3
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The way I laminated my back and end splashes was to do the edging first. Put the glue on the edges then put the glue on the back of the laminate edging. Let them set until you can touch the glue and not come off on your finger or use a brown paper bag to touch it and if the glue come off on the bag, let it set longer so the solvent will evaporate more.

Once the laminate is stuck, use a belt sander and sand the laminate flush with the face of the back splash. Clean off all dust and glue up both the wood and the laminate and let it set like you did the edging. Cut the laminate so you will have about 3/8 inch over hang at the top, bottom and ends of the back splash. I used a thin stick of wood against the table saw fence to keep the plastic from going under the fence. Oh I put a nail in the end of the stick and cut the nail so it would just hang the edge of the table of the saw so the stick wouldn't slide.

When you install the laminate be very careful to get it where you want it because when you lay it down it is stuck and is hard to get back off without lacquer thinner. The way I put laminate on a counter top was to put thin sticks about 12- 16 inches apart to keep the laminate from sticking until I got the laminate where I wanted it, then I pulled the sticks out and stuck the laminate down.

Do you have a bearing on your cutter? If you do it will be easy to trim the plastic but if you have the rub end on the cutter it would be best to put heavy wax on the plastic where the cutter end will rub as it will get hot quick and burn the plastic. Adjusting the cutter is really touchy, you don't want the cutter to cut into the plastic when you trim the edge and you don't want it to leave too much to be filed off after trimming. I would suggest gluing up a piece of scrap and adjusting your trimmer on that so you won't mess up the real thing.

Once you have trimmed the plastic you will have a sharp edge on the plastic and it will cut you if you aren't careful. Take a file and file the sharp edge so it is not sharp and continue to file until the plastic you just trimmed is flush with the edging. Be sure to hold the file at an angle so it won't scratch the plastic.

Use lacquer thinner or acetone to clean the excess glue off the plastic. Lacquer thinner on a rag works best for me. I don't usually trim the bottom of the back splash, I just cut it on the table saw and it makes it a smooth crisp edge.

I always used caulk to glue the end and back splashes on with. You will want to caulk the edges that sit on the counter top also to keep water out. I hope this helps. Sorry to make this so long.

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Old 05-13-2009, 10:13 PM   #4
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Thanks douger. What adjustments do I need to worry about on the router? I have a flush trim bit. As far as I know(never trimmed laminate before) I would just lower the bit so the bearing rides on the side and trim the laminate? Not sure what other adjustments there would be? How do you do your 22 degree cut? I have a base attachment that I could set at 22 degrees but then I don't think the bearing would be guiding the router any more? Is there a special bit for this? Thanks for your help
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