After I have my sub-boards glued and ready for the laminate topping, how
do I get the laminate "as smooth as possible"? Of course, I'll also
laminate the bottom, but that's just to keep the moisture out of the MDF.
People talk about getting their table 0.01" smooth ... but it seems to
me that the glue could easily vary by more than that.
Is there some technique to smooth it out? I haven't found anything in
my books about this.
BTW, you're smart to put a backer on the substrate (called a balance
sheet) without it, it WILL warp.
For openers, use GP laminate. The post-formable stuff is too thin and
will telegraph irregular surfaces.
One trick is to use multiple coats of severely (up to 30+%) thinned
contact cement, that gives it time to flow out without building up and
'threading'. Use a short haired roller. (A cheapie that you toss after
you're done. CAREFUL, that the solvent doesn't take the roller apart.
Look for rollers that can handle nasty solvent-based stuff in marine
Don't waste your time with water-based contact cement. The stuff sticks
to wood okay, but not very well to the bottom of the laminate (phenolic).
Wilsonart 3000 PVA adhesive works very well, but you need a pro to glue
it up for you (see coffee and donuts)
The best way, but costly, is to use 3M contact cement spray from a can.
Hold the can way back so there is a feathered fan of adhesive, then do
the same thing to the laminate but rotate the pattern 90 degrees from
the pattern on the substrate. Less is more..do not use too much.. if the
propellant starts to bubble the adhesive, you are using too much.
Make sure, if possible, that there is very little airflow across the
fresh cement surface, and that the surface is cool.
The J Rollers (Bennett sells one through Home Depot) are essential as
they apply all your weight on a very small area creating a very high
pressure zone. No other roller will work as well. (Rolling pins are too
wide and distribute too much pressure over too wide an area.)
Another thing to try is to buy the guys at a local laminate shop a round
of coffee and donuts. They, like I do, use Imperial(or Formica Brand)
propane powered airless feathersprays. (looks like a BBQ tank)
The nice thing about that system is that you don't have to wait for it
Most Borgs carry GP laminates in sheets of 48 x 96.
The post-form versions are like paper thin and very hard to handle.
I have never seen PF grade in a Borg.
To a pro, the PF version is desirable because it minimizes the 'black'
line. It also bends to a much tighter radius that GP.
But for a router table, GP's the one. Go look at a Borg's countertop
department and pick a colour/ finish you like.
Formica's Natural Maple in satin is nice, it also hold onto wax really
well. Lab Black in gloss is pretty cool with some aluminum t-track mitre
LOL ... okay, I give up. I clearly have to read a lot more to understand
all the lingo in woodworking.
What is a BORG?
The only one I know about are the cybercreeps that stalk the Enterprise
in Star Trek!
A Borg, as I understand it, is any national big-box retailer, commonly
Home Depot (the orange borg) or Lowes (blue borg). Same idea as the
cybercreeps - they're apparently trying to take over the world.
Leon (in sPNPe.4926$ email@example.com) said:
| "mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at)
| PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote in message
|| After I have my sub-boards glued and ready for the laminate
|| topping, how do I get the laminate "as smooth as possible"? Of
|| course, I'll also laminate the bottom, but that's just to keep the
|| moisture out of the MDF.
|| People talk about getting their table 0.01" smooth ... but it
|| seems to me that the glue could easily vary by more than that.
|| Is there some technique to smooth it out? I haven't found
|| anything in my books about this.
| If people are getting their router table to within .01 they may be
| AR. Are you AR? LOL
I hope not. I machined my router table to within 0.0015 - but didn't
install any laminate. If I were AR I'd probably have tried for within
I did think about surfacing the table with 0.75" UHMWPE and routing it
flat - but decided that /would/ be AR :-)
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Leon (in pFQPe.4216$u firstname.lastname@example.org) said:
|| I hope not. I machined my router table to within 0.0015 - but
|| didn't install any laminate. If I were AR I'd probably have tried
|| for within 0.0005
|| I did think about surfacing the table with 0.75" UHMWPE and
|| routing it flat - but decided that /would/ be AR :-)
| LOL........ ROTHLMAO....... I think that HPL has more than .01
| deviation... You are a different case though.. You can probably
| justify the need.
Probably - since I do a weird flavor of woodworking. Lately I've been
hankering for a 52"x100"x1" slab of aluminum to mill mini T-tracks
into for my router table. So far the price tag has held me back - but
it sure would make life easier.
Current project requires scarfing two 4x8x3/4" sheets of Extira
(waterproof MDF, 90+ lb/sheet) end-to-end for a sign, so I'm building
a monster clamp (using six LV veneer press screws and a pair of /long/
pipe clamps) to hold the joint together while the glue dries. Once the
glue-up is done, I'll slide the panels onto the router table (which is
only 8' long!) and carve the lettering. If I can get enough of the
clamp together tomorrow, I'll shoot some pix and post to ABPW. Not
sure if I'll ever use the clamp after this project, but someone may be
able to use the design.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Got just what you need:
I use the smaller ones:
Do a trumatch edge and use the clamps. On MDF it makes for very strong
joint (I toss in a few cookies just be anal.)
Robatoy (in email@example.com) said:
|| Current project requires scarfing two 4x8x3/4" sheets of Extira
|| (waterproof MDF, 90+ lb/sheet) end-to-end for a sign, so I'm
|| building a monster clamp
| Got just what you need:
| I use the smaller ones:
| Do a trumatch edge and use the clamps. On MDF it makes for very
| strong joint (I toss in a few cookies just be anal.)
Those are neat! Thanks for the link. For this project, though, I'm
going to pass on the butt joint in favor of a 6" stepped joint
(two-inch "treads", 1/4" "risers", and a generous application of
I don't dare to use any kind of embedded support because, once the
glue dries, I'll be routing text right across the joint. The sign will
be exposed to wind and weather about sixteen inches above the ground
(meaning that it'll be in contact with snow and ice through the
Had visitors (customers!) in the shop all day today so didn't get much
done on the clamp (not even a photo). Will try to do better on Monday.
I should have gotten one picture tho - one of my visitors brought in
and demonstrated a stirling cycle engine built of plastic tubing. He's
replaced all of the usual mechanical components with tubing and water.
He'd like me to build a high-temperature solar collector and intends
to use a larger version to run a generator. Crazy thing is that I
can't see any reason for it not to work. Some days are definitely more
interesting than others!
I didn't really need the clamp /today/ anyhow. :-)
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Morris Dovey (in xV6Qe.24$ firstname.lastname@example.org) said:
| I didn't really need the clamp /today/ anyhow. :-)
Posted a picture of the just-assembled monster for clamping 49"-wide
joints to ABPW. 'Taint beautiful, but it works.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Robatoy (in email@example.com)
| Can one be AR AND Type-A?
Not recommended for anyone except extreme introverts.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
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