Laminating questions

I have completed the pieces that make up the desktop for a corner computer desk and am about to laminate them with Formica. Having never applied laminate before, is it necessary to apply two coats of contact cement to the MDF surface, one acting as a sealer? I am using a cement that is NOT water-based as some have suggested. Also there are varying opinions as to what to use to apply the cement, brush or roller, and is it wise to apply it in one direction only? Another question regards the ends that will we butted together. They fit quite nicely now and I'm afraid if I try to seal the ends with polyurethane the fit will not be close. Should I leave the butted ends bare then? I am planning a 3/4" oak trim on all other exposed ends and I have a Kreg pocket hole fixture but no biscuit cutters. Is MDF strong enough to accept pocket holes to secure the oak trim? Also in trimming the Formica with a flush trim bit do the same rules apply as to the direction to move the router as I am worried about the brittle edges flaking? My router has variable speed 10,000 - 24,000 rpm so what would be an appropriate setting? Your input would be much appreciated.
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: I have completed the pieces that make up the desktop for a corner computer : desk and am about to laminate them with Formica. Having never applied : laminate before, is it necessary to apply two coats of contact cement to the : MDF surface, one acting as a sealer? I am using a cement that is NOT : water-based as some have suggested. Also there are varying opinions as to : what to use to apply the cement, brush or roller, and is it wise to apply it : in one direction only? Another question regards the ends that will we : butted together. They fit quite nicely now and I'm afraid if I try to seal : the ends with polyurethane the fit will not be close. Should I leave the : butted ends bare then? I am planning a 3/4" oak trim on all other exposed : ends and I have a Kreg pocket hole fixture but no biscuit cutters. Is MDF : strong enough to accept pocket holes to secure the oak trim? Also in : trimming the Formica with a flush trim bit do the same rules apply as to the : direction to move the router as I am worried about the brittle edges : flaking? My router has variable speed 10,000 - 24,000 rpm so what would be : an appropriate setting? Your input would be much appreciated. : : Here's a web that give an explanation
http://alsnetbiz.com/homeimprovement/formica.html
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On Mon, 12 Jan 2004 09:07:49 -0700, "James Ruetenik"

sometimes. read the directions on the can...

try thinning the poly.

probably marginal. do a test piece with some scrap and try the breaking strength. probably the pocket hole will tear off when it does fail.

I feed the router in the direction that pulls the bit tight to the face of the work.

maximum RPM and a light touch.

hope it helps....     Bridger
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I vastly prefer the solvent based (flammable) contact adhesive for HPL. Definitely two coat your MDF and two coat the laminate at least on the edges.
I use a roller for large flats like your top. The preferred rollerskins are the woven ones with no loose fibers like http://www.paintbrushes.com/prfc.htm . One note on these covers - devote a frame to the cover and hang in your shop when you finish. Next project, drop it in the adhesive and the solvent will loosen in to a usable state (at least a year later IME) after a short wait. Keep a throwaway chip brush handy for drips.
Skip the poly joint sealer - water penetration won't be a factor on a desk. Use plenty of spacers when you prepare to stick the sheets - you can ruin a nice fit job in a hurry DAMHIKT.
I like the carbide three flute bearing guided flush trim bits for selfedge or woodedge where the laminate laps over the wood (as opposed to a raised wood edge). I usually use the solid carbide piloted ones where I'm guiding off an unfinished surface as they "pull" the bit into the work a little less. If the sheets aren't damaged, you shouldn't expect any shattering or chipping at the corners. As you trim, relief cut every few feet (and definitely before the corner) to reduce the scraps weight on the remaining material. The only "climb" cutting I do is to clean up the second (counterclockwise) side of the corner, as I don't travel the bit "around" the corner (Mostly due to the case where selfedge laminate is applied and chamfered already...)
Full speed ahead!
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