I wanted to do my counter tops in Corian or something similar but apparently you cannot buy this product (I was lucky to get the installation manual off the Dow web site before they took it down). Seems like this stuff would be easier to work with than wood if you could get it.
So I am going with Formica. I've up read some on techniques. Does anyone think this is a good idea to tackle oneself or should it be left up to a pro cabinet shop with specialized equipment. Any tips would be appreciated. Special tools? Adhesives? Things to watch out for? Thanks.
Making your own laminate countertops is very easy. I made my first one in 1994 and have ever since. I use particle board as the substrate - you can use plywood if you like - and cut it to size. Before you laminate it, fit it to the space that you will install it in. Scribe the back edge and sides to get a good fit. A cardboard template can also be useful. I screw 3-4" wide strips of particle board around the edge of the board plus anywhere that the counter will meet a cabinet - this makes the thickness 1.5". After that it's just contact cement and a flush trim router bit. You should be able to find a good book that can illustrate what I tried to describe. I hope this helped and if you have any other questions shoot. BTW-I pay ~$2.25 per sqft of laminate here.
My main concerns are:
1. Adhesive brand and type
2. Special applicators. I've seen special rollers on TV but can't find any to purchase.
3. Open time before bonding.
4. Should I use a J-roller and where can I find one.
I use any brand of contact cement. Usually DAP. I apply it with cheap paint rollers and let it dry according to the instructions - till it's tacky. I don't know what a J roller is (vinyl floor roller?). To make sure I get a good bond I get a scrap board and a mallet and work from one side to the other. No problems with adhesion or air pockets.
Here is a 12' counter I built last year(one piece).
Sorry I don't have a close-up photo. There isn't anything high tech about this-you shouldn't have any problems. Other than the contact cement fumes :D
Adhesive: Contact cement, any brand. I hear that there are some types that do not work on porous surfaces (wood products) but I have never seen them.
Applicator: Dead paint brush, paint roller, piece of wood, scrap of laminate, anything ... The idea is to get a smooth, thin, complete layer of the contact cement on BOTH surfaces - then let both surfaces dry to the touch (about 10-20 minutes). Try not to suffocate from the fumes while you are spreading/drying it.
The instant two glued surfaces touch each other they are permanently stuck so use sticks or brown kraft paper (grocery bags) to keep them apart until they are aligned. Remove the separators gradually starting at the center, so air bubbles don't form.
I have done many countertops this way, and don't have a J roller. I do pound, press etc. very hard to be sure air bubbles get out before the edges touch/seal. Be sure there is good contact over the whole area before the glue sets.
I just laminated my outfeed table and my narrow "little helper" table top. It was no where near as hard as I thought.
Only thing that I can add that might be of help is I cut the laminate a touch bigger than needed, to allow for trimming, or chipping while cutting it. I used my cordless circular saw to cut it. Any trim bit with a bearing will work in any router. Can also use a file for tight corners.
I seen the J-Rollers at Home Depot, didn't think I wanted to invest in one for what little I would be using it. I use a 1 1/2" silicon roller, so I just used that and it turned out good. Might consider a kitchen rolling pin, I'm sure that would work good also. For spacers, I used dowel rods. Round with minimal drag when started extracting them.
Fumes are bad, do it on a warm day with window's and doors open. And keep the youngins outside until the fumes are gone.
Might take a practice run with a piece of scrap to get the feel of it. Can always use it in the shop for something.
Patrick, NICE JOB!
Everyone, thanks for the tips. Your responses have confirmed my sense that this would not be all that difficult. I will probably start out by building and laminating a router extension for the old 2424.
The key here is wood dowels. Let the cement dry to a good tack, place the dowels in, lay the formica on top, then pull the dowels out one at a time, the laminate will settle nicely.
It's not hard at all.
You can use strips of cardboard work as well. [img]smile.gif[/img]