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Forum topic by DBordello posted 07-23-2015 10:49 PM 1106 views 1 time favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DBordello

132 posts in 692 days


07-23-2015 10:49 PM

I have built the Down to Earth Woodworks SawStop outfeed table / assembly table. Besides the goal of an outfeed table, I want a great reference surface.

It currently consists of a 3/4” MDF top of a torsion box. Although I did my best to start perfectly flat, I am currently using my 48” level to sand it flat. It is pretty close, but needs a bit of work.

Starting with a (mostly) flat MDF surface, what would be the ideal assembly table work surface? Goals: dead flat & resistant to glue.

A couple of ideas I am kicking around:

1. Few coats of shellac + few coats of poly
2. Laminate. I just saw this idea referenced, and am intrigued by it.

Others?

For reference, it is 63”x42”


24 replies so far

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#1 posted 07-24-2015 12:19 AM

Formica (laminate)

I covered my workbench with a full 4×8 sheet of white Formica and love it. The white makes it easier for me to find small parts, I can write/draw on it with pencil and it wipes right off, and dried glue pops right off leaving no trace.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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DBordello

132 posts in 692 days


#2 posted 07-24-2015 12:23 AM


Formica (laminate)

I covered my workbench with a full 4×8 sheet of white Formica and love it. The white makes it easier for me to find small parts, I can write/draw on it with pencil and it wipes right off, and dried glue pops right off leaving no trace.

- gfadvm

This is a great idea. Where did you buy the Formica? Easy to work with?

How thick is it?

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#3 posted 07-24-2015 12:33 AM

Lowes or Home Depot has it for ~$50 for a 4×8 sheet. Glue it down with contact cement. You will need a couple of people to make it go easier as once you lay it down, YOU CANNOT ADJUST IT’S POSITION! If you have never done laminate, get some basic instruction on You Tube or ask a cabinet guy for help. It is really easy but you only get one shot at it.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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DBordello

132 posts in 692 days


#4 posted 07-24-2015 12:44 AM



Lowes or Home Depot has it for ~$50 for a 4×8 sheet. Glue it down with contact cement. You will need a couple of people to make it go easier as once you lay it down, YOU CANNOT ADJUST IT S POSITION! If you have never done laminate, get some basic instruction on You Tube or ask a cabinet guy for help. It is really easy but you only get one shot at it.

- gfadvm

Something such as this? http://www.homedepot.com/p/Wilsonart-48-in-x-96-in-Laminate-Sheet-in-Frosty-White-Matte-1573603504896/203592650

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#5 posted 07-24-2015 01:15 AM

Yep, that looks like what I call Formica (which is probably a trade name for another brand).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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DBordello

132 posts in 692 days


#6 posted 07-24-2015 01:15 AM

Great.

Superior to MDF + Poly?

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Daruc

459 posts in 598 days


#7 posted 07-24-2015 01:49 AM

Gloss if your going to use laminate, IMO
No Miss Method:
I place 3/8×3/8 sticks on the surface (about 5 or 6 inches apart) then lay the laminate over the sticks.
This way you can line up the laminate where you want it, stick it down along one edge, lift the laminate, pull out all the sticks and roll it on flat.

wilsonart
formica
lamin-art
arborite
nevamar
pionite
abet laminati
lab designs
Just to mention a few off the top of my head….. Probably 20 more at that. :)

-- -

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#8 posted 07-24-2015 02:32 AM

Woodust, I agree totally and appreciate the concise tutorial on application. Not sure why I start in the center pulling dowels and rolling.

Yes, it is better than Poly: more scratch resistant, can write/erase on it, and the white really helps me see things better.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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FirehouseWoodworking

689 posts in 2739 days


#9 posted 07-24-2015 02:41 AM

If you have an old venitian blind or mini-blind, take it apart and use the slats as spacers. You can often find them for free on Craigslist.

I’ve been using the same old blind for years to make laminate counter tops. If the slats are not long enough for the width of your table, just stagger the slats.

Just make sure the ends of the slats overhang the outside edge of your table so that you can pull them out one by one as you make contact between the laminate and the substrate.

Start at one end of the table and pull each slat as you go, one at a time and roll the laminate with a laminate roller. This will prevent any air bubbles to develop under the laminate.

Once the laminate is all secured, use a laminate trimmer or a router to trim up the edge. You can use a laminate trimmer bit or a profile bit to dress up the edge. I like to put a 30- or 45-degree bevel on the edge. This helps to prevent future delamination (or separation) of the laminate from the substrate.

I like to shoot lacquer over the wood edge banding to dress it up. You can clean up any over spray that gets on the laminate with a lacquer thinner-soaked clean rag.

Take your time and you will be very pleased with the end result.

Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

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Daruc

459 posts in 598 days


#10 posted 07-24-2015 03:42 AM



Woodust, I agree totally and appreciate the concise tutorial on application. Not sure why I start in the center pulling dowels and rolling.

Yes, it is better than Poly: more scratch resistant, can write/erase on it, and the white really helps me see things better.

- gfadvm

Andy, Starting in the middle works just fine.

I just did a receptionist desk top. I draw bolt the whole top together then laminate it. I am just use to starting at the edges so that I can seam the pcs together and get good tight seams as I go.

Good idea with the blinds Dave.

-- -

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ElChe

630 posts in 802 days


#11 posted 07-24-2015 04:09 AM

Formica and contact cement as gfadvm suggested is the way to go. I got some free cutoffs and made a drill press table and it was nice. I used mdf and sandwiched it in Formica. Yummy.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

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rwe2156

2198 posts in 946 days


#12 posted 07-24-2015 11:59 AM

I used several coats of boiled linseed oil/turpentine.
Glue comes off pretty easy, but in scraping off the glue, sometimes the surface gets gouged.
It also stains. That might bother some people but to me its just “character”.
I lay down kraft paper when gluing up panels.

I think long term, laminate will hold up much better and the glue drips just pop off.

But, the work can slide around a bit more than, so factor this into your decision.
I’m planning to redo my chop saw table and fence with laminate because I want it a bit more slick.

There is a product call Panolam I think saves you some time and money.
The laminate thickness is about like vertical laminate, but it has held up good for >10yrs as TS outfeed table.

As an aside, unless space prohibits, its best to have a stand alone assembly table.
I have found using an outfeed table as an assembly table will often prove to be a PITA in the flow of a project.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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SirIrb

1239 posts in 696 days


#13 posted 07-24-2015 12:12 PM

+1 for plastic lam. Get a high gloss finish rather than a textured. Let glue dry and use a block of wood and a hammer to gently knock it off when dry. Done this tons of times. And you can coat it with paste wax. great for outfeed too.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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HokieKen

1787 posts in 604 days


#14 posted 07-24-2015 12:50 PM

Ditto on the laminate. I’ve used it for my router table and my DP table. Rather than try to cut it to fit and line it up just right, I like to cut it 1/2” oversize in both directions then run the router around the edge with a flush trim bit. That way you get a perfect fit without the headache of cutting it precisely and positioning it perfectly.

I would also add that when putting it over MDF, I put contact cement on both surfaces. The MDF will absorb it so putting it on both surfaces “preps” the MDF. If you only put the CC on the MDF, it’s hard to get a uniform tacky surface over the whole area.

Finally, Lowe’s and HD have 1/8” hardboard with a glossy white laminate on one side that people use for dry erase boards. I’ve read several places where people use it instead of formica and like it. I’ve never used it myself but it’s only $15 a sheet so it would save a good chunk of change.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2156 days


#15 posted 07-24-2015 01:42 PM

Kenny, I used that dry erase board on my router table. It looked nice but the finish wears off quickly exposing the MDF.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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