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Kitchen Remodel #8: My first try at Corian

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Blog entry by Karson posted 2129 days ago 6653 reads 1 time favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Cabinet building continues Part 8 of Kitchen Remodel series Part 9: The Corian installation continues. »

Well this was my first try at assembling a Corian top for the base cabinets.

I didn’t take any pictures of the actual gluing because I wasn’t sure of the amount of time I’d have as i was doing that process. Now that I have a better feel for the amount of time it takes, I’ll take some assembly pictures for the rest of the counter top.

I started with the corner cabinet that is 24” X 24” and is where we currently have a microwave and toaster.

New cabinet with the old top that We’ve been using. The drawer fronts have not been made yet, but the cabinet is in use.

The underside of the Corian top with a 1/4” gray stripe and a 1/2” Fog stripe that matches the top surface.


I’ve not put in any wooden blocks to the underside of the top as of yet. I was wanting to find out how much space that I’d have to fill. It’s 1/4 + 1/2 so a 3/4” block would fill it but the ply is under 3/4 so I’ll have to engineer what I use maybe MDF is the right size or some OSB board. I’ll use silicone to stick to the underside of the corian top and use it at the edges to allow me to screw the top down.

The top in place temporarily.



The wife didn’t want any backsplash on this cabinet, so wall repairs will be necessary. This top is also 1 1/4” thick at the edge, normally edge treatment is 1 1/2”. But we only wanted a 1/4” stripe and not a 1/2” stripe, I’m also not sure that I’d want a 1/4” strip at the bottom either. There is a seam about 3/4” in on the side of the last picture. It is not visable. The glue disolves the Corian and makes an invisable joint.

The edge was sanded with a belt sander 80 grit to make the edges of all of the surfaces even and to get the glue squeeze out off the surface. The glue squeeze out that you see on the underside pictures was also on the outside edges and it was a little rubbery, not a hard surface, but it didn’t stick to the sandpaper. The sandpaper did not load up.

I used hand sanding on the edges up to 220 grit and then went to 320 and 400 on a random orbital sander. I also did the random orbital sander on the top surface with the same grits. I used a laminate trimmer router with a 1/4” quarter round to round over the edges on the front and side.

I then went to my 6” Rigid sander that has a variable speed and I used Abralon disks for the top. I bought some 180 but didn’t use it since i already used up to 400 grit dry.

The Abralon disks are hook and look and have about 1/4” of foam rubber between the hook and loop and the sanding surface. I started with the 360 grit and worked up to 2000 grit. My wife wanted more of a Satin/ semi gloss surface so I didn’t buy the 4000 grit disks. You can see the reflection off of the top and see the wall in the reflection. But it’s not a real gloss shine.

The corian was cut on my table saw with carbide blades. I’ve got a sliding table so the sheet slide across quite well. It was 144” long X 30 ” wide when I bought it. I took a battery operated skill saw to the store and cut the sheet in two. The longest piece was 102” and it fit in my van standing on edge. So I transported them home with no problems.

10/11/10 I’ve had many people ask me where I bought it. So I went looking It’s Dupont’s salvage building at 1001 Lambsons Ln, New Castle De 19720 I don’t have there phone number, I’ve been unable to find it in my receipts.
I found the address on my GPS.
The Corian was bought at a DuPont salvage depot in Delaware. These sheets cost $80.00 each, which is a bargain. The color is Fog, which is a color made for Lowes and has since been discontinued. This color was not sold by any other vendor. The glue is color matched to the Corian, and DuPont said to use Dawn Beige. I bought the glue from a store that was recommended by the counter man at the DuPont salvage depot. I used maybe 1/3 of a tube on this assembly.(That was one of the questionable items that I had in my mind) I’ve bought 4 tubes and may need more. The price is 19.00 per tube and contains 50ml of glue. The tip is a mixing tip and the ratio of 10 to 1 comes out automatically as you press it. I bought an adaptor that allows it to fit in a regular caulking gun.

I started the glueing at 12 noon finished by 12:45, Ate some lunch with my wife and was back working on it by 1:15. I was all finished by about 3:00.

Pictures of the adapter and the mixing top will be posted in another blog.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †



24 comments so far

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

19393 posts in 2486 days


#1 posted 2129 days ago

Karson, I like the contrasts in the different wood. Great design & finish.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View lew's profile

lew

10006 posts in 2390 days


#2 posted 2129 days ago

Karson,

Thanks for the update! I never realized you could buy Corian for the DIYer.

Lew

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Richard Williams's profile

Richard Williams

162 posts in 2427 days


#3 posted 2129 days ago

HHHHmmmmmm! you’re giving me very expensive ideas buddy. You are going to get me in trouble. I hope you know that. I’m arleady looking for hard maple to try and build a clock with it. I hate to spend the money only to find out that I cannot see well enough to do the job. Scary huh? However, my Cargo Shipping Container job is finished for the University here and now I would like to get back to creating some science projects. I get into enough trouble just doing that. But the fact remains. You are the man when it comes to these projects of yours. I wish some of your expertise would rub off on this guy. Take care my friend. Great stuff you are doing.

-- Rich, Nevada,

View fredf's profile

fredf

495 posts in 2344 days


#4 posted 2129 days ago

I have the same question as Lew, I asked a while back and was told they woudn’t sell to a dyi, tho was a wholesale outfit, was picking up Formica ordered through a lumberyard. will have to ask at lumberyard I guess,

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3035 days


#5 posted 2129 days ago

The Corian is being sold by DuPont, who makes the stuff, and it’s salvage. It used to be that it was only sold to licensed installers who had passed Corian certification. The reason being that DuPont warranted it for serviceability and if it cracked they repaired it. Since the patent has expired (I think) they don’t have the requirement but you might still not be able to buy it.

One of LumberJock advertisers, Solid Surfaces, sell it I believe and they ship.

Lee Jesberger tells the story that he got a contract for 30 kitchens and he called about Corian. They told him that he couldn’t buy it. He told them that it was 30 kitchens.

They were at his shop at 7:00 AM the next morning stating that they would work something out.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

2639 posts in 2347 days


#6 posted 2129 days ago

Karson,
This is great information. How soon will you be able to come and do my kitchen?!

I’m looking forward to your next installment.

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8775 posts in 2734 days


#7 posted 2128 days ago

One mistake that many contractors make when handling this material is wiping it off with solvents like paint thinner or lacquer thinner. Be sure to use denatured alcohol instead. The other solvents will start breaking down the thermoplastic. Denatured alcohol can be used to wipe off pen/pencil marks and excess caulk.

You may know this, but I am sort of thinking out loud for the others. Using solvents for wiping tops down is a very common practice and a mistake for solid surface materials.

The work looks great!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3035 days


#8 posted 2128 days ago

Thanks for the tip Todd. I guess that I should state that I used lacquar thinner to clean off the surface prior to glueing. So I guess I better leave enough material back so I can make another one if necessary.

I’ll go with alcohol next time.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8775 posts in 2734 days


#9 posted 2128 days ago

Karson,

I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. If it does anything it takes a long time. The plastic may slightly turn yellowed and get alligator cracks or crazing in it. There is a big difference between wiping the surface with a dampened rag and flooding the surface too. I have seen the latter and it just makes me pull my crew-cut hair out.

The other point you make about using silicone is a good one. Construction adhesive will eat the plastic over time too. I have personally seen that one.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3035 days


#10 posted 2128 days ago

Todd: I only used a small amount and on the back where the add-on pieces were glued on. I didn’t use it on the top surface. So maybe I’ll be ok. But then again I’ll have a lot left over, because I had to go back and purchase a third sheet because i cut the others 5” too short in my parking lot cutting.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3035 days


#11 posted 2128 days ago

Talked to my wife and suggested that this might be an opportunity to make changes if she wants. She now wants a different profile on the edge So this will be a practice piece which I considered when I started it.

I knew that it was the smallest piece and so it’s a great size to try first.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8775 posts in 2734 days


#12 posted 2128 days ago

I applaud your work and willingness to try this product. I think it makes nice tops.

I have to say that the big thing is to wear a dust mask when milling. This stuff is wicked. I don’t particularly miss handling it at all.

When I sub it out, I don’t even handle it for liability reasons. It is like glass and can snap if not handled or supported properly. That is in bigger tops, not like the one you have there.

My last bathroom had a solid surface top with built-in sink and it is gorgeous.

Another thing that you cannot use is plumber’s putty. The petroleum base in plumbers putty will break the plastic down over time too. That is a common mistake that I have seen many times. The plastic turns orange and brown around the drain. It becomes brittle and fractures spider web out from the drain.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3035 days


#13 posted 2128 days ago

Any other tips that you are aware of are appreciated. I might not have thought about the plumbers putty. I’m putting in a Corian undermount sink also, and putty could have been something that i would have used.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8775 posts in 2734 days


#14 posted 2128 days ago

Lots of clamps are always in order for the glue ups.

Use denatured alcohol for the wiping down in any situation.

Wear a dust mask.

Working time is limited for glue-ups.

For bigger pieces you have to get the substrate under it or you stand a chance of cracking it.

Handle it like a sheet of glass, the same principles apply.

The cabinets have to be completely in plane with one another or you stand a good chance of it snapping once it is set into place. I have been witness to this a couple of times and fortunately it was not my fault or my job.

Relax while working with it. Don’t let these things freak you out.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2597 days


#15 posted 2127 days ago

Thanks guys for a lot of great info. I can get Corian or a similar product from McKillican American and had no idea how to handle or work with it. You two probably just saved me a bunch of headaches.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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