sanding down a formica surface


We have a dining table with a two sided top. One has a good real wood veneer finish and the other a fairly pleasent woodgrained pattern formica.
I decided to take some scratches out of the formica with some very fine 1200 grade wet and dry carborundum paper. Since we often use that side for everyday use.
I now have certain patches rubbed down that are very different in the table top finish. Mainly those that have been rubbed down and those that have not.
Not desiring to rub down the 'whole' table top with the carborundum paper, (which i suspect is not far from totally removing the thin layer of the wood pattern) what might I use now to buff up the whole of the surface, to bring it to a uniform finish over the whole area?
I've tried using a green scotchbrite kitchen scouring pad with lashings of scouring cream on it; but it doesn't really seem to do anything much, as well as being hard work.
Any suggestions as to what I might use to work up a kind of semi-sheen all over on the formica? I don't want to use any type of rotary power tool, since the grain in the pattern runs from one end to the other. And any circular patterns would not look right. I have a rubber rubbing down block, but what to put on it?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

High pressure laminates, such as Formica, are really just resin impregnated kraftpaper sandwiches. The top layer is, in fact, just a printed piece of paper. The 'finish' is a clear resin, which can have a texture imprinted by an aluminium textured sheet which goes into the curing oven and is discarded after use. (Melted down and re-used) When you 'break' that surface, by cutting or scuffing, you have removed it. Now you're down to paper. You can, with some success, apply a quality poly after you have scuffed that virtually invisible layer of resin to give it some tooth. 'Bringing back' or 'restoring' a formica-type finish is nigh impossible.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You may want to consider replacing the formica. Heating the existing sheet with a heat gun will soften the adhesive and make removing it much easier. Art
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Two approaches, subtractive and additive
A subtractive (i.e. sanding) approach could be to use Micro-mesh abrasives. These are expensive, about a tenner for a mixed sample pack from Axminster / Tilgear, but they're the dog's for getting a polish on plastics (I just did my mobile phone screen with them). I haven't tried them of Formica, but I'd expect them to work.
Additive approaches would be to shellac or gel poly varnish it, making the lot equally glossy. "Patina" (from Langlow in Speke) is very good for this, easy to apply and doesn't look too "plasticky" when finished.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Green scotchbrite pads will put serious scratches in any plastic ....not a good idea for formica. Softscrub type scouring cream without the green pad is safer but will degrade the surface as well (if used ....a soft even pressure only). White scotchbrites are good or safe for plastic or metals.....If your spots are scratched from the green pad I'd try the 1200 grit sandpaper(wet) and then use a paste wax (will last longer), regular furniture polish(easiest) or a oil (a stainless steel polish like Sheila shine) to even out the shine. Rod
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
john hamilton wrote:

If the tp layer still has resin on it, use the micro-abrasives as Messer. Dingly suggested. They are just really fine aluminum oxide, come in various grits. Look for them a auto paint stores, maybe even in the odd ball area of the paint department at Lowes, HD, etc. Pick the grit by the type of shine you want.

If you d the above, use a rotary tool. One with a foam pad...it will make no patterns and the micro-grits are intended to be used with same. If you just *gotta* spend all that time rubbing by hand, make a cloth pad, dampen with water and charge with the micro-abrasive of your choice.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

John, I would use the suggestion above from dadiOH re the hand rubbing. With regards to the polishing compound, try contacting a local lapidary club where you could likely get some polishing material commonly used to polish gemstones. I have used these to restore scratched sunglasses, glass etc so it would likely do the job for you. Try googling 'lapidary polishing compound' . Take a look here under polishing: http://www.tradeshop.com/gems/howcut.html
Cheers, Larry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

This is a ton of work and the result will be mediocre at best. Just replace it with new laminate. Depending on the edging, you may be able to install new laminate over the old (after scratching up the old for adhesion).
Otherwise, you'll need to remove the old formica first.
Trying to refinish damaged Formica is rather like trying to refinish damaged wallpaper, IMO ;-)
--
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|
| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Aug 9, 7:13pm, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

a less elegant comment would be "like polishing a turd"
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Aug 10, 1:13am, snipped-for-privacy@malch.com (Malcolm Hoar) wrote:

Exactly. And if youre going to replace the formica, replace it with something much better quality like wood veneer.
NT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Not to split hairballs, Tabby, but HPlam, like Formica, is considerably more durable than wood veneer. So quality probably refers to 'the look' and 'presentation' in which veneers excel.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
john hamilton wrote:

Buy a couple of terry cloth table clothes. One to use while the other is in the washing machine. I love those green scotch bright pads, once they are broken in properly they are the best thing I've ever found for washing dishes. When new don't be using them on grandma's fine china.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.