plastic laminate problems

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Forum topic by Jeff82780 posted 04-30-2011 02:35 PM 2661 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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204 posts in 2417 days

04-30-2011 02:35 PM

1. just put together my extension table for my table saw, but for some reason its not butting up against the table completely flush. SO i was thinking of ripping it on a table saw or running it through my jointer. This is my first time using laminate so i dont dont much about it. would the laminate chip doing this.

2. Also i had a heck of a time rolling out all of the air pockets on the laminate. i used a j-roller and even a hot iron to reactivate the glue but still couldnt get them all out. I was thinking maybe i didnt use enough gule

8 replies so far

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3428 days

#1 posted 04-30-2011 02:59 PM

Jeff, as long as the laminate is facing up you should be fine ripping it. Joiner should be no problem. And yes, you need ample glue on both laminate and substrate to get a good bond. Also don’t try to stick it before it feels dry to the touch. Lacquer thinner in a squirt bottle will help you get it back apart and apply more glue in another attempt if you wanted.

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

View Loren's profile


8168 posts in 3070 days

#2 posted 04-30-2011 05:22 PM

I usually do plastic laminate with contact cement using the dowel
trick. Its still a pain to do it that way and you have to be careful,
because if a bubble gets sealed on all sides, there’s no way to
get rid of it. Laminate is non-porous so the only way for air to leave
is sideways.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2273 days

#3 posted 04-30-2011 08:44 PM

If the bubbles are too bumpy and too tall, there’s a fix: Relieve them by scoring with a carbide knife and get them flat, then lay plastic over them.

To scarify the surface, use 80 or 100 grit on a ROS or belt sander, just taking the gloss off.

Now you can lay new material over it. I recommend waterbase contact for this, but the old smelly stuff will work.

I use venetian blind slats, but wood slats will work. Remove them from the center, working outwards, using your hands as a press. When it’s all flat, then roll the dickens out of it to make total contact.

Just wanted you to know there’s a pretty easy way out.

Oh, and you can get surplus laminate from wholesale flooring outlets—they always have a roomful of misorders—or your local Habitat ReStore.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View shipwright's profile


7094 posts in 2221 days

#4 posted 05-01-2011 06:34 AM

Loren is right about the dowels but if you don’t have any room at all for error paper is even better. There’s no chance for inadvertent contact and it doesn’t raise the piece up. It works well if you have to fit two pieces exactly together. Overlap strips of masking paper and pull one at a time.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2062 days

#5 posted 05-01-2011 10:49 AM


We had a recent problem with the water based not sticking to itself well when the base substrate was 3/4” Advantech. It must have been a reaction between the Advantech and the wb contact cement, but it would not stick. We do this all the time and I decided to try the wb that time (go green when you can), but had to pull it off and go back to the gel type smelly contact cement.

Advantech and thinset do not bond well, either. Not a problem as long as hardi backer or durock covers the Advantech first. We discovered that on a granite tile countertop.

I’ll try the wb again, but not on Advantech.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View thelt's profile


657 posts in 2802 days

#6 posted 05-01-2011 02:50 PM

Not to sound stupid nor hijack this thread, but yesterday I went to Lowe’s to find plastic laminate for a project. Nobody there knew what I was talking about. The sad part is neither do I. The only think they had that came close was formica countertop laminate in 48” X 96”. Is that the same thing? I only needed enough for two 3” X 3” pieces.

-- When asked what I did to make life worthwhile in my lifetime....I can respond with a great deal of pride and satisfaction, "I served a career in the United States Navy."

View Loren's profile


8168 posts in 3070 days

#7 posted 05-01-2011 05:06 PM

Formica is a trade name for a brand of plastic laminate.

Most stores don’t sell it, or if they do, only in a few colors. You have
to go to a dealer that serves the cabinet making industry. Plywood
dealers and cabinet hardware dealers usually sell laminates.

I don’t recall seeing it sold in less than 4×8 sheets.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2273 days

#8 posted 05-01-2011 06:43 PM

Plastic laminate mfrs’ brands include Wilsonart, Pionite, Formica and Nevamar. Basic stocked sizes are 4×8 and 5×10 and some variants. This is sold to the trade through wholesalers, and there are several levels of those. They usually won’t sell over the counter to the public.

I like the masking paper idea; I’ve also heard of using a clean extension cord, snaked over the surface.

I also appreciate hearing the drawbacks of certain substrates. Helpful thread.

Thelt, I can help you; sent you a PM.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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