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Author Topic: Formica - laminating plywood workbenches  (Read 498 times)
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mick66
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« on: March 14, 2019, 04:43:04 AM »

Hello

I'm replacing the old formica laminate I put on my workbench years ago.  Its all cracked and scratched.  I think at the time I should have bought a different grade of Formica as it was only 0.7mm thick.  I like the shiny gloss white look as it bounces light off and lightens up the garage.  This time round I would prefer it to be slightly more impact resistant so was looking at maybe 1.2mm.

Its years since I did this and I didn't make a fantastic job of the edging either.  Anyone know much about doing this and can recommend the right Formica sheet (or alternative).  Whats the best glue to use as the old one started coming away after a few years.  Also, cleaning the old impact adhesive off is a real pain!

Any help appreciated.  I'm in the UK

Cheers

Mike
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Jack Plane
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2019, 05:12:59 AM »

Ghastly task trying to clean it all off.  Do you have and know how to use a hand-held scraper blade, can you ensure its all comes out flat afterwards, do you have a sander, etc?  Then you'll need even pressure when laying the new formica, for which I'd use Cascamite (powder mixed with water - instructions on the side of the container) but best to do this in a veneer press.

The much easier option would be remove the existing top to use as a template, buy a suitable piece of of melamine veneered board (MDF substrate or chipboard), cut to template dimensions etc and fix on.  Could alternatively buy a relatively thin board (12/15mm) which would be cheaper and fix this over the existing top.

If you want to seal the edges, then can just do this with PVA for a quick bodge, or use iron-on edging.
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Russ Lister
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2019, 05:15:26 AM »

I used to work in retail display and I've done a lot of laminating .... so I can confirm that removal is a pain!
Both methods commonly used by fellow trade people carry their own risks!
You have got most of it off now, so what I say is now mostly redundant. Old laminate would be heated with an iron just ahead of an advancing chisel.    Tbc
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Russ Lister
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2019, 05:21:25 AM »

I can only make short posts from my mobile!
The other method was to lift the edge and flood with cellulose thinner or acetone and then chisel free. This works best on a fairly fresh laminate application ... and not in conjunction with the heat of the iron!!
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2019, 05:27:42 AM »

Removal of the remaining glue can be done by flooding a small area at a time with a suitable thinner and then careful scraping with a chisel.
Again, not in conjunction with a heat source!
I stress this because I have seen impact adhesive ignited by a domestic iron on the next bench!
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2019, 05:35:50 AM »

I would recommend re-laminating ahead of a melamine faced board to be honest. The laminate is that much more durable. The melamine substrate is far more likely to swell if the room is ever damp or if the surface becomes wet.
Laminate is usually 0.7 to 0.8mm thick these days. There are so many laminates available, but standard Formica is still available.
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Russ Lister
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2019, 05:42:45 AM »

The modern solid surface materials like Corian, LG, Samsung etc. Would be nice ... but are very expensive!
At about 13mm thick they are stable. The material does need experience with respect to cutting and machining, so I only mention it as a "high end" option.
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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2019, 05:48:06 AM »

Another option would be to skin over the existing top with birch ply ... and then either treat with a tough varnish or laminate over again. This is similar to Jon's suggestion, but tougher and more stable ... particularly with regards to wet.
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cvasecuk
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« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2019, 06:08:11 AM »

A local kitchen installer might have a large mis-cut piece of worktop they could let you have at a sensible price and at 30mm thick would never warp. Just lightly fix it to your bench!
Ron
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SP250
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« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2019, 06:18:28 AM »

Interesting- as I have a different reason to get some melamine laminate.

I want it for making root and tip templates for hot wire cutting foam wings.
I have gone round all the DIY and kitchen worktop suppliers locally to me and no-one does sheets of the melamine any more, it all comes ready bonded to MDF or chipboard worktops.
It really is the best stuff for the templates, as aluminium cools the wire and plywood is too difficult to get a smooth surface which doesn't catch the wire etc.
So where does you buy a sheet from?

John M
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« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2019, 06:20:18 AM »

Ron,
A 30mm worktop can "dish" slightly but yes ... if the depth is less than 600mm (without a special order) and the extra height accommodated, it would ideal.
It's what I use! ... but with a building board on top
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2019, 06:22:14 AM »

I can give you some offcuts John.
I can CNC the templates too if needs be!
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mick66
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2019, 09:01:48 AM »

Hi

Thanks for the feedback.  I think I'll go with re-laminating with 1.2mm gloss white formica.  I've got most of it off with an orbital sander ... although I do have the other bench to do now.  I think I've probably got 'vibration white finger' now!  IDS in Gateshead is the place I'll get it.

I've got 2x10'x30" benches to do.  

Cheers

Mike
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« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2019, 09:16:23 AM »

Used IDS a lot in the past (Leicester) ... ideal!  Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2019, 09:54:36 AM »

 I like the shiny gloss white look as it bounces light off and lightens up the garage.  

Good am Mike.
This shiny gloss white (lacquer) look has a flip side to it as it can be annoyingly reflective when you are trying to focus on something (small) you are tasking away at. Just saying. Just be sure to recheck that the framing is solid and flat so the top doesn't "cup"! my old workbench could hold two gallons!
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« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2019, 10:25:03 AM »

I like to cover workbenches where models are being made with HDPE. It's a great surface for cutting fabrics and paper with a rotary cutter, it cleans up well, and you can resurface it when it gets tired or scarred up too much. If you want a really nice install, go with a thicker sheet, round the corners with a router and counter sink the bolts holding it to the table. I usually just layed out a bunch of that grippy shelf liner material between the bench and surface and it was plenty solid for my needs.
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« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2019, 10:29:08 AM »

Mike,

Is the existing table top removable? What about removing top, flipping it over, and using what was the bottom as a base for new laminate top? That might save a lot of scraping & sanding.

Louis



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mick66
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« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2019, 12:02:09 PM »

Hello

yeah ... I thought of flipping it over ... but its pretty dirty under there for some reason, boots prints and scuff marks from 25 years ago when I moved in and built the benches with my dad.  So I figured I'd need to sand it anyway ... although not quite so much.

The second top isn't so bad so nearly there.  It was the finishing off with a router that was worrying me ... haven't got one and never used one.  Don't want to buy one just for this job ... so might have to borrow!  In the past I just jigsawed and sanded it but it wasn't great and am hoping to do a better job this time.  That was 12 or so years ago! 

The second bench was actually covered in yellow Sundela which was a nice surface but was a bit of a dust generator.  Build on building boards anyway so don't need a soft surface per se. 

My recent foray in 2K spraying gloss finish on RC pattern models (yes ... I know ... I'm not proud) has left mw with a real hate for dust!
Plus in my late 40s ... I'm sure I'm getting very sesnsitive to fine balsa dust.  Luckily, I can still handle raw diesel fuel and lick dope brushes without a reaction!

Cheers

Mike











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danberry
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« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2019, 07:09:08 PM »

Use an old steam iron to apply heat. Wear leather gloves. Use a 1" putty knife to finagle it. Mostly, use the iron to heat and thus soften the old glue.
Don't try anything else. This is the way to do it.
Then, chase the old glue with a belt sander and glue down some new stuff.
You want 'horizontal' grade thickness.

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mick66
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« Reply #19 on: March 15, 2019, 08:24:31 AM »

Hi

Got it all off and cleaned up the benches ok.  I'm going for 1.2mm ARPlus white Formica.  At 10'x4"x1.2mm ... I'm thinking I'll need to roll it up to fit in the back of my 4WD.  Obviously a big diameter roll ... but anyone know if this is even practical with 1.2mm Formica without cracking it.

Otherwise 50quid delivery from iDS to my house ... grrr ... this is taking on arms and legs this little revamp.

Cheers

Mike
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« Reply #20 on: March 15, 2019, 08:49:49 AM »

It should roll to about 600mm dia with care. Needs taping well though.
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mick66
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« Reply #21 on: March 15, 2019, 09:16:11 AM »

Hello

I'll measure the back of the Volvo when wifey gets back.  

Lol .. it's taking on a 'fish hospital' dimension but that's another story altogether!

Cheers

Mike
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Russ Lister
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« Reply #22 on: March 15, 2019, 11:08:54 AM »

A Volvo should be fine ... I've got a full sheet of 0.8mm in a Citroen C1!
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mick66
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« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2019, 04:56:15 PM »

Haha ... managed to get it in the motor no bother.  The guys in the back of IDS had rolled and taped it already!

Saved £50 on delivery then.  Next question ... what's the best glue to stick it with.  Used Evostik years ago but there seems to be multiple products now.  It's 1.2mm going on 18mm ply table tops.

Any advice appreciated. 
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« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2019, 07:21:30 PM »

I use Evostik type adhesive still. There is the 'candy floss'-like spray adhesive but I'm not keen.
Last I bought was Everbuild Stick2 contact adhesive from Toolstation.
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