I'm building a router table extension for my table saw. MDF with a high
pressure laminate (Formica) surface.
I've read descriptions of similar commercially available products. One
manufacturer claims that using contact cement to apply the laminate is
inferior to their method. They use a much less viscous glue with heat
and pressure to bond the surfaces. This manufacturer claims that contact
cement is difficult to apply so that it is of uniform thickness, so
their method results in a much flatter surface.
OK I think, I have a vacuum press, and a couple kinds of slower curing
glues like Unibond and a PPR. I could apply the laminate this way,
instead of using contact cement. I'd have to trim the laminate to size
beforehand, no big deal.
Will Unibond or a PPR glue work, and hold the laminate to the MDF
Would the results be any better (flatter) than using contact cement?
I do have a new can of the water-based contact cement.
Seems like nit picking. It's an extension table so it's less critical
than the table/insert around the bit. If you're halfway careful
applying the adhesive and use a vacuum press you won't have any
problems with contact cement.
Ray probably use hear and pressure because in a factory setting it would be
faster. Contact cement has to dry a bit, 10-15 minutes before you stick the
2 pieces together. I would say use the contact cement, that had been used
for years and years.
I buy a throw away paint roller and tray and apply the contact cement to
both surfaces with the roller. No problems so far.
That stuff is not the greatest.
The back of PLam is kraft paper. Regular wood glues work very well,
especially if you have a vacuum bag. Contact cement is a fast way to
do it, but stinky and messy. I use an air-less sprayer just for
contact cement for speed, not for great strength.
I do strongly recommend that one uses a sheet of PLam on the back of
the project as well it will..and I mean WILL warp over time. Contact
cement allows for a little bit of creep, so the warping won't be as
dramatic as if one were to use wood glue.
The up-side of wood glue, is that you only butter one side, using a
hack-saw blade as a trowel.
One note of caution: when buying a disposable roller for solvent-based
contact cement, make sure the damned thing doesn't dissolve while
you're using it. DAHTIKT.
Some of that cheap crap from China is made by tufting the pile of a
roller into a solvent-based adhesive.
If you can get some Wilsonart 3000 PVA adhesive from a laminating
shop, you will really have it made. Lots of open time and the stuff
The other 'must-do' is that you buy GP laminate, not the post-form/
thin stuff. GP hardly telegraphs surface aberrations.
Any more questions, don't hesitate to contact me.
On Fri, 10 Aug 2007 16:21:58 -0700, Lew Hodgett wrote:
I've no real experience using epoxies. I just finished up a box of
Hardman 5-minute epoxy, in "single dose" foil packs. Took me 20+ years
to do that.
What epoxy would you suggest for general-purpose work (e.g., woodworking
projects and around-the-house uses)?
Once you get started using epoxy, you will wonder why you waited so long to
For the novice, WestSystem, while pricey, has probably some of the best tech
Do a Google for "Gougeon" which will get you to the WestSystem site.
You could also check out "System3".
On Fri, 10 Aug 2007 15:10:52 -0700, Robatoy wrote:
Oh well. I'd read that modern formulations are as good or better than
solvent based. But as this is what you do for a living, I'll defer to
Hmm. Wood glue and the press - a definite possibility. Easy, not stinky.
I just have to work reasonably fast.
I wanted a lot of mass in the top. So I laminated three layers of 3/4
MDF. It would be interesting if that would warp. But yes, I will be
puting the laminate on both sides.
Or a roll it out? I do that for veneering. Works pretty well, IMO.
Don't know of any such shops around here - but I haven't looked. Will
I am not familiar with the terminology - or is that a brand? I picked up
a 4x8 sheet of white Formica brand. Fairly thick. Just like the stuff I
used 20 years ago when I made a desk. Is that what you mean?
I use 38 pound cannisters of self-propelled contact cement. Red or
Formica distributors carry the same product in green.
With a reusable hose and spray-head, that runs close to $ 400.00 for
the initial set up.
About $ 300.00 (Candian almost at par) per re-fill. That does approx
15 4'x8' sheets (both sides) of laminate.
Not a realistic investment for the casual hobbyist. BUT, 3M # 77 spray
in a can is very close in performance and a lot more realistic for a
job like Art's.
In either case, when spraying contact, do one side 90-degrees to the
other side, so that the ridges of adhesive cross each other. ####
How large a surface is it? It's not complicated.
Cut the laminate a bit larger than the substrate ---
Get a spray can of Scotch contact adhesive or Weldwood Spray 'n Glue.
Spray both surfaces --- allow to become dry to the touch.
Place a parallel series of thin slats (or dowels) over the MDF.
Position the laminate over the slats and when the laminate covers the
surface, press the center and it will adhere.
Remove the slats progressively while pushing the laminate and MDF into
Roll with a j roller ---working from the center to the edges.
Route off the excess laminate with a roller guide bit.
I think their claims are all sales hype. You can get a very good flat
laminated surface without all of that. If they truly do it that way I think
it's done more for production reasons than flatness. You can do very well
with contact cement and standard laminate materials. I would, however,
recommend that you buy some spray cans of contact cement to get a really
thin even layer. You can find these in the laminate sections of the Borgs
for about $3-4 each. If you don't already have one, pick up a j- roller to
roll the laminate down from the center outward toward the edges to get all
of the air out and an even bond. Be sure to laminate both sides of your
table, or it will definitely warp as soon as your shop moisture level
I've used yellow glue thinned with water and applied with a small paint
roller and held down with sand bags with very good results, drying took
about a week to be safe and I trimmed it normally with a router.
Yup, works good. The Plam and the substrate pretty much become a
single piece. The watering down will cause very long drying times as
the substrate only will absorb the water. The liquid can't flash off
to atmosphere; contact adhesives, or thermal setting are therefore the
choice in production. So are the PVA adhesives with very high solids
and no VOC's
A friend of mine uses water-based PVA (Wilsonart 3000) in a production
setting, but it is a different kettle of fish than the 'over the
counter' water-based adhesives. That is sprayed on with a basic 2.0
nozzle on a pot-fed HVLP gun.... and it is GreenGuard certified. He
uses a pinch roller, but a j-roller at 'just the right time' will work
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