Seaming Laminate Countertop


I am looking to Create a U-shaped Kitchen Countertop from 2 sheets of 5' x 8' laminate material using 3/4" AC plywood as a substrate and build up the edge with 1/2" Strips of plywood. The two sheets need to be seamed just to the left of the Sink location. What is the process for creating the seam? Is it similar to vinyl flooring where you overlap the two pieces and make one straight cut thru both sheets which results in a nice tight joint? Does this seam become the starting point for the gluing process?
Also, are there any sources online for ordering the sheet laminate material?
Thanks in Advance, -a12vman
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I googled "How to Seam a Plastic Laminate Countertop" and found a description of one method which would probably work though it seems onerous. I also remember many years ago seeing a jig which was made specifically for this application. I was unable to find it on the The Delta or Porter Cable web sites. It may have been discontinued. You could try looking on the Formica or Wilsonart web sites for the tool which was designed to make the job easier.
Joe G
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There are recessed slots into the wood on either side of the seam and a widget is put into the slots and tightened to hold the wood together, You put glue on the wood before tightening it. I can't think of what the widgets are called, maybe someone else here can think to the name.
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wrote:

Ikea uses something similar to hold various parts of some of their furniture together.
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

He is making his own counter in place, so probably does not have those slots, or the clamps. I think it would be a matter of using clean factory edge, to clean factory edge, and hoping for the best. Or maybe like they show on TV- using some sort of jig and a straight edge, run a router (like you clean up the edges with after you glue) down the joint, and then shoving the pieces together, since they will hopefully be carved identically at that point.
But I have never field-applied laminate in my life, so what do I know? If I ever get around to refreshing my counters, I'll pay the guy to come measure (if his ballpark estimate from my rough measurements and pictures is acceptable), and shop-fabricate a whole new counter for me. It will cost more, but any oopsies are on his dime, since I would be buying it in place. For something I will likely never do again, I regard it as cheap insurance.
-- aem sends...
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Absolutely right about having a shop do the job. Having tried (marginally successful) some small pieces, IMO there's way too many possibilities to screw it up. Adhesive thickness has to be near perfect, open time is critical, and sheet positioning down to a few thousandths of inch is needed. Unless you want to spend the time to learn a new trade, stick with something easy like drywall.
Joe
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The one time I did this, (not the only laminate job), I used the factory edges butted together as they were straighter than anything I could possibly cut in the field using hand tools. I dry test fitted it more than once and traced a pencil line on the substrate so I could hold the first piece to the mark. I did have the luxury of not having the splashes installed so I had a little wiggle room.
As for joining the substrate I also used factory edges that were sand as smooth as possible, primed with glue, dried and then glued using a 1x3 board on the back side. In addition to the glue between the edges the glue was applied to the entire surface of the backer board and both halves were screwed from the top and into the backer board. The counter sunk screws were over filled and sanded along with the rest of the top before the primer coat of contact cement was applied evenly to the entire surface.
It actually turned out well and is still in use at a rental property that I own.
Your best bet is to buy your laminate locally as it does not ship well. Our local Lowes even stocks some of the more popular current styles though you should find a better selection and maybe pricing at a local distributor.
--
Colbyt
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