Questions on laminate...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Clay Autery, Jul 17, 2002.

  1. Clay Autery

    Clay Autery Stunt Coordinator

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    I've just about decided to go for a flat black laminate (or a close as you get in that stuff) to finish my 6-shelf compnent flexi-rack. I got all the shelves cut and the holes drilled for the rods today, and I'm thinking that I just don't want to deal with lacquer undercoat and fighting the dust for several top coats... better to go with a glued-on laminate...

    Here are my questions:

    1) Should you a) laminate the edges first, trim with a flush bit, then laminate the flats, then trim with a flush bit or... b)laminate the flats, trim, laminate the edges, trim.

    It boils down to where you want that thin trimmed edge showing I guess right (looking from the side, or loking down on the shelf).

    2) Using 3/4" MDF, would it be a reasonable idea to relieve all of the edges just a bit (like 1/32" with sandpaper) before laminating? Just a thought...

    3) I'm going to go look up the application process for laminates, but I was wondering what the best way is to insure that the glue in applied thinly and evenly enough to avoid bumps or bubbles AND with a working time long enough to position and roll the laminate for proper bonding?

    Any other tips or tricks would be helpful... I've still got to build the wood "housings" to cover the rods on the bottom and provide a mounting place for the transfers, but I'll want to hit Home Depot (or other) soon thereafter.

    Thanks,
     
  2. Darren_T

    Darren_T Second Unit

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    1) Laminate the edge first then the top, that way if you drag something off the edge it won't snag on the edge and rip part of it off.

    2) I wouldn't relieve the edge, you could introduce a poor situation where the edge could pull up, the stuff is flexible but in a short span a 1/32" difference could very well cause it to delaminate over time. Just use a piece of 220 and hit the sharp edges with it just a hair to remove any lip.

    3) Use an adhesive roller cover...they are made of a nylon type mesh with a very short napp. If you can't find an adhesive roller use the smallest tightest napp roller you can find. I've used non-adhesive rollers many times with great success. Roll the MDF with a good even coat first, then hit the formica, then come back and hit the MDF one more time. The MDF will absorb much of the first coat and the second coat will ensure a good bonding surface. Don't worry about bubbles, they will pop and even if they leave a small ring they won't transfer to the formica.

    I've built many many kitchen counters and remodeled a tavern with formica counters so I've done quite a bit of work with this stuff. Let me know if you have any more questions, feel free to email me.

    Tip # 1 - Don't cut the formica with anything other than a router even when cutting smaller pieces out of a larger sheet to make handling easier. A straight bit in a router and a straight edge clamped to the edge makes the best cut with no chipping or shattering. A jig saw will usually shatter the piece if it catches.

    Tip # 2 - Use a file to lightly knock down the edge of the formica after using the trim bit to flush it up. This will remove the deadly sharp edge off of the laminate.

    Tip # 3 - Don't wait for the contact cement to dry completely. It should be just a hair tacky to the touch to ensure a good bond. Lay a very clean dowel every 1' on the MDF surface after the glue is ready and lay the laminate over the piece and ensure clearance all the way around. Then remove the middle dowel and use a "J" roller to adhere the center well, then work your way to each side rolling it out as you go. This will ensure you don't get into a jam.

    Tip # 4 - Make darn sure there is no sawdust or chips of wood anywhere on the surface to be laminated. A small piece of sawdust will cause a raised bump on the formica surface that will be visible when light hits it just right.

    Tip # 5 - Consider a hardwood edge by gluing a 3/4" X 3/4" strip of hardwood to the front edge of the shelf, then sand the top to ensure the strip is perfectly even with the MDF and lay the laminate over both surfaces. Use a flush trim bit to trim the laminate flush then switch to a 15 degree or 45 degree or round over bit and put a reveal on the edge exposing a small bit of the top of the oak, stain or seal and you have a nice contrast. Or use a 3/4" by 2" strip to beef up the appearance of the face while improving shelf rigidity using the same technique.

    Darren
     
  3. Pete Mazz

    Pete Mazz Supporting Actor

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    It's better to apply the edges first, as they won't be as susceptible to getting pulled off.

    The easiest way, especially if you have common sized pieces, is to stack them so all the edges are flush. Clamp them together and roll or spray on the contact cement. After the contact dries a little, take them apart and have at it. The easiest way to apply cement to the laminate strips is to tape them side by side to a scrap piece of whatever, then roll or spray.

    Lots of routing. Try leaving the laminate strips overhanging top and bottom as little as possible. Basically a real pain in the ass.

    Pete
     
  4. Clay Autery

    Clay Autery Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks guys... I think I can do this. Sounds like a job fitting for an anal retentive such as myself... [​IMG]
     
  5. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I've seen what professional contractors do.

    What I do is use factory pre-laminate which is pretty cheap and perfectly flat and glued already. No need for spray on adhesive or worry about rollers.

    Then I use edge tape after the product is finished. The edge tape already has glue on the back that melts when touched with an iron. So all that is needed to be done is roll the edge tape on the edge and use an iron to apply it.

    They use a sharp blade or chisel to help cut and trim away the excess edge tape.

    After that, use a teflon block to press down on the edges while heating the edges up with an iron. This makes sure the edges are glued.

    I just think it will be a lot easier and less messy if you could get your hands on factory laminated sheets and pre-glued edge tape.
     
  6. Clay Autery

    Clay Autery Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll look into this as an option Chris. Thanks.
     
  7. Pete Mazz

    Pete Mazz Supporting Actor

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    Well, you'll need a scoring saw setup to cut the pre-lam panels. As for the pre-glued edges, they're available in solid colors and some patterns (made from polyester). They're also available in real wood veneer and can make a very nice contrasting edge.

    Pete
     

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