Keeping a plastic laminated plywood table top flat

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Forum topic by GregD posted 05-11-2010 03:58 PM 4336 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3341 days

05-11-2010 03:58 PM

I’m making an outfeed table for my table saw. I’m planning to use plastic laminate on 3/4” plywood for the top. What do I need to do to keep it flat? Overall dimensions will be about 5’ long running along the back edge of the table saw and extending back about 27”.

I am sure it would be helpful to seal the back side of the top. Will a couple of coats of waterbase poly work well enough or do I really need to put laminate on the back side as well?

I was going to start with an apron made from 3” strips of 3/4” plywood with the same outside dimensions as the laminated top. I was also going to have cross pieces positioned under the slots for the miter gauge. After the top is laminated and pocket holed to the frame I’m likely to add a layer of 3/4” hardwood around the perimeter flush with the top surface and covering all the plywood. That would make the overall thickness 3-3/4”; can I go narrower on the strips making up the frame?

Finally, I intend to attach the table to the rear fence rail and run 2 supports from near the cabinet bottom up/out to the back edge of the table. I move my saw occasionally and don’t want to fuss with re-leveling the table.

Comments or suggestions?

-- Greg D.

5 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8547 posts in 3854 days

#1 posted 05-11-2010 04:03 PM

since this is an outfeed table, and does not support the lumber near the blade it shouldn’t have to be ubber flat. actually – most outfeed tables are about 1/8” lower than the TS table since it only needs to support the lumber from dropping down too much, but not affect the lumber by being too hight so that it interferes with the cut.

to cut it short – I wouldn’t worry TOO much about it staying perfectly flat.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View mhawkins2's profile


51 posts in 3773 days

#2 posted 05-11-2010 04:05 PM

Yes you do have to seal the put laminate on the back; it’s Houston after all. the humidity will get to it. The torsion box will help to keep it flat, but even that will not be permanent. My torsion box bench top has some slight bowing, but it stretches a much longer span and takes much more weight than you are going to apply to your out feed table.

-- mhawkins2 - why does my wife keep parking her car in my shop :)?

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4211 days

#3 posted 05-11-2010 04:08 PM

If the apron support system you fasten the top to is stout and flat enough, theres no need to laminate both sides. Laminate on one side can bow plywd in a free floating situation, but is no match for a hefty wood base. Which is why you rarely see counter tops laminated on two sides.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3210 days

#4 posted 05-11-2010 04:15 PM

Laminate or seal the back side of the ply panel to make it stay flatter. Otherwise sounds good.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View Bradford's profile


1434 posts in 4028 days

#5 posted 05-11-2010 04:24 PM

I plan on building this in a couple of weeks. Maybe this is something to help your decide design features.

-- so much wood, so little time. Bradford. Wood-a-holics unanimous president

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