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Thread: Kitchen counter or formica type laminate tops and adhesive ..HELP...

  1. #1
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    Kitchen counter or formica type laminate tops and adhesive ..HELP...

    So two nights ago i got asked to help out a friend finishing a second hand kitchen in his basement. He had installed plywood top on these old cupboards and had laminate type of formica ready cut to go down.

    I ended up making up some oak strips of wood and gluing and nailing them to the edges to provide a decent straight edge and surface to apply laminate.

    At the store where he got the laminate he was given a 3M adhesive spray to apply the laminate to the plywood. This set of alarm bells in me because i had only known this adhesive type for craft projects and marketing type booth material.

    There was no "desire" on his part to wait till i checked in with all of you and got some real world knowledge so i was somewhat forced into going with the flow.

    I was amazed but still apprehensive as to how well this stuff made the laminate adhere to the wood. But there were a few things that i was not happy with. Anyhow we got to the point where the oak edges are on one set of the cabinets and the laminate adhered to the face of the edge and trimmed top and bottom by me using a combo of router and zip tool with laminate bit.

    Then he had already cut the top so i sprayed it and the surface it was to be applied to and we stuck it down. No issues so far and i had done a test piece first before we even started because my knowledge of this stuff said you need to use contact adhesive.

    But here is the thing. When i came to trim the pieces i had cut to stick on the front face of the edge strip the overhang had this adhesive on it and when i trimmed it up with the router this adhesive seemed to adhere to the bearing on the router bit and cause it to roll off center depending on the glue stuck to it. This made me switch to the zip tool with a bit that has a smooth tip for a bout 1/4 inch and well i made it through finishing the top and bottom edge.

    But i refused to go further once the top was glued down until i checked on both the adhesive and how to do this.

    He wanted this top down to be able to cut it out for a sink and get on with the rest of the job. So its currently in a state where the counter top is adhered and a overhang exists.

    Still have a complete other side to do but i aint going to be party to it until i know something about what i am doing. Its all fine and dandy helping people but when it goes wrong even though they insist it is done using what they have then you still the guy in the firing line and this is not being done for income just helping out.

    Can any of you tell me if you have used any of the 3M adhesives sprays to adhere laminate to plywood. If so which one. My research so far does not show up a red tin that is design for this purpose.

    Does this glue ever dry?

    How do you route these edges given glue build up. I am hoping this glue drys and that the finish rout of the top overhang will not have the same glue build up issue if it is dry.

    Is there a special router bit for these purposes other than a normal bearing type straight trim bit.

    Do i trim to the edge and then use a 45 chamfer bearing bit to give it a final finish?

    This is textured typed laminate to boot so its not smooth. How will a bearing run on this stuff. My experience on the edges was not a great one. I got it done but boy I was under duress and ended up using the zip tool with its bit. A bit i have since found out is a tracing bit. Fortunately for me where it rubbed it was the top and bottom of the oak egde i installed but that was more by luck than design.

    So before i return to finish the edge i would like to up my knowledge on what to do so as to do it properly.

    I am worried this spray adhesive will not hold. I must say it was amazing on the test piece but i just dont know for the long term what the situ will be.

    Any help advice or criticism would be greatly appreciated.

    My eagerness to help out has got me into a bind on this one.
    cheers

  2. #2
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    I would recommend using a solvent base contact cement that comes in quarts and gallons. For gluing the wood edge, use a yellow glue and clamps. A flush trim router bit with the bearing on the end is your best choice. A 1/2" bit with 1/4" shank, 3 flute carbide tipped, is a very common bit.

    If you want the top of the wood flush with the laminate, laminate first, trim the edge flush to the substrate. Use a block sander along the edge to get it clean. Glue the wood on close to flush, leaving a small amount to be routed off (bearing riding on the laminate). If the laminate is heavily impressioned with a pattern, you might luck out gluing the wood where you want it.





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  3. #3
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    From what I have read and the number of bits designed with "glue wells" and special square plastic bearings I would say that the glue build-up is a known problem. As to 3M spray adhesive; it comes in several flavors (strengths) but, I doubt we will find any of our pros on here using it in Mrs. Smiths kitchen install. I do use it for scroll work ond sometimes template routing as a temporary fixative (#77) and it may be fine for a second-hand occasional use kitchen; I guess your friend will find out for us ;-)
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
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    It isnt uncommon to get glue build up on your bearings when trimming. Just the heat from the cutters will cause the adhesive to melt and stick.
    What I have done is use the next size up bearing when the laminate is textured then file it down flush. That way you eliminate any chatter or over cutting. As far as the adhesive build up you may have to just trim till it builds then clean it off with solvent and continue.

    Regarding the 3m adhesive. What does it say on the can. It should say it is suitable for laminate work, if not, dont use it. If your buddy insists after your advice.... well..... then its his problem if it doesnt work and make sure to remind him if it fails and he comes to you that you told him not to use it....


    I have never trusted skippy the hardware clerk for advice. he will usually just sell you what he has on the shelf and parrot what he has heard. Definitely not comforting when doing a countertop. laminate isnt cheap.

  5. #5
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    Don't know if you are doing it or not Rob but I was always taught to glue the edges on first then the top.

    3m makes some good stuff. spray 77 is commonly used for smaller pieces of laminate. Not because it doesn't work on large pieces it just that spreading the glue will be more uniform than spraying from a can. I've been taught to spray both sides, let them dry, them stick them together. I haven't done a ton of it but what little I have don has come out well.

    Regarding the laminate bits. Rich is the expert.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Soby View Post
    It isnt uncommon to get glue build up on your bearings when trimming. Just the heat from the cutters will cause the adhesive to melt and stick.
    What I have done is use the next size up bearing when the laminate is textured then file it down flush. That way you eliminate any chatter or over cutting. As far as the adhesive build up you may have to just trim till it builds then clean it off with solvent and continue.

    Regarding the 3m adhesive. What does it say on the can. It should say it is suitable for laminate work, if not, dont use it. If your buddy insists after your advice.... well..... then its his problem if it doesnt work and make sure to remind him if it fails and he comes to you that you told him not to use it....
    Glue buildup on the bearing can happen just from a dry bearing picking up glue and it gathers fast from there. A drop of air tool oil on the bearing helps keep it clean.

    The 3M spray can contact cements are a low solids adhesive. That permits it to be dispensed through a small orifice. I would not use it for laminate work at all. A solvent base contact cement (in quarts and gallons) can be applied with a brush, or a short nap roller (HD & Lowes carries roller covers for a 9" roller specifically for adhesives). The glue can be spread with a spreader, or wide putty knife. The cement that the home centers carry is a brush grade formula (it's a retarded version of a spray grade). It can be sprayed using a siphon cup spray gun, thinned about 5%-10% with lacquer thinner. Apply to both surfaces and allow to flash dry...20-30 minutes





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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike marvel View Post
    Glue buildup on the bearing can happen just from a dry bearing picking up glue and it gathers fast from there. A drop of air tool oil on the bearing helps keep it clean.
    Never thought of that! thanks for the tip Mike. (all that time spent cleaning the dumb thing off every few feet.....)

    I don't do any formica work if I can help it anymore just because I dont like doing it. (never really enjoyed it but it helped pay the bills back in the day...)

    But I always used regular contact cement and a roller as well. My only point with the 3m stuff was Rob's buddy insisting on using it and if the can said it would work for the application then the onus is on 3m and Rob's buddy at that point.

  8. #8
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    Thank you all very much for your replies. Fortunately or unfortunately you all confirmed what i thought i knew in the first place.

    Well this 3m stuff was used and it was quiet amazing to me. I applied it both sides and waited for it to set up it foams a little. It held quiet tight.

    Bob thats exactly how i tackled it. I did the sides first and trimmed them both top and bottom to the edge oak that i had put in place with glue and nail gun. Then applied the top but refused to do the edge trimming until i had consulted all of you. We definitely used the wrong bit to trip the side edges but given it was running on the oak it did not cause an issue. Actually it left quiet a good edge it was a pattern bit for the zip routers really meant for cutting out the boxes in drywall. Had i given it some thought i actually knew that but had a real senior moment when i saw it and could not place it. Oh to help people and then under pressure of not able to do your own research and material takes away a great deal of the pleasure.

    I will collect the 3M name so i can look up the actual one we used.

    I never knew of the filing aspect i thought one always passed over that sharp edge with a beveled router bit.

    But i have a file and will do the thing with it.


    Cannot begin to tell you how grateful i am to have access to all of you and get some real pro help.

    Oh and just for the record I dont even talk to skippy at the hardware store. It usually ends up in me teaching him and i usually want to get out.

    Thanks all again.
    cheers

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