Question about plywood and formica...

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Forum topic by MT_Stringer posted 07-29-2012 07:20 AM 4707 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3160 posts in 3200 days

07-29-2012 07:20 AM

I have a lead on some free 3/4 inch plywood that was previously used for shipping container for machinery. So I am thinking about taking a look at it since it is only about 6 miles from my house.

My question is have any of you covered regular 3/4 plywood (probably c/d stuff) with Formica or any other veneer to make a useable work surface?

I am curious if the undulations would carry through. I already have some Formica left over from my work bench build and free plywood would help make a table top or two for upcoming mobile carts (flip top versions, I hope).

What say you?

Another thought – how can I make one side fairly smooth. Will drywall mud work or would I have to use auto body filler (which I don’t have any experience with) to get a smooth surface to glue the Formica to the plywood.

Thinking hard and heavy about taking a ride in the morning to check out this free wood. :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

9 replies so far

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3019 days

#1 posted 07-29-2012 08:32 AM

MT, You bet undulations and defects will telegraf right through. Your best choice for a work surface is mdf choke, GASP, WHEEZE, SNORK*. iT CAN BE REALLY SMOOTH FOR CHEAP yOU CAN USE THE FREE PLY FOr SOMEthing a lot less critical; say a cabinet. I once ran into shipping contai
—-ners that were 3’ x 43” by 60” with tops and bo0ttorm They do look knice, but at $10 they were a good deal. Look them over and see what you want to do with them. YOu can go wrong, it seems.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View bondogaposis's profile


4688 posts in 2320 days

#2 posted 07-29-2012 01:32 PM

If the question is, can you put formica on plywood? The answer is yes, absolutely. You should fill any voids in the surface and sand down any lumps. I’m not sure what you mean by undulations, if the plywood is de-laminating then it is pretty much junk and not useable. I don’t think drywall compound would make a good filler. I would get a wood filler for that.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3546 days

#3 posted 07-29-2012 01:36 PM

The work and price difference are not worth it , just by some good ply or MDF.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View DIYaholic's profile


19597 posts in 2644 days

#4 posted 07-29-2012 01:37 PM

Ditto what fussy said.
FREE is FREE, just put it into the right project, utilitarian shop fixtures. I woodn’t use any filler under the formica. If it needs to look that good, get good materials. Just my $0.02!

BTW: I luv FREE!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Don W's profile

Don W

18686 posts in 2536 days

#5 posted 07-29-2012 01:53 PM

I’d never turn down free 3/4”cdx. If your making tables for flip top utility benches to hold your tools, cd plywood will work just fine as is.

I agree I wouldn’t put formica over it, but adding a layer of mdf on top will will work.

You can also finish it with a good filler varnish for a utility work top.

My first shop had 4 – 4’x 8’ benches made from cdx plywood. One was an outfeed to the TS, one was a glueup bench and 2 were normal work benches. I used them for close to 15 years. If I had room, and could get back into that old shop, I’d use them still.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View HerbC's profile


1744 posts in 2828 days

#6 posted 07-29-2012 03:31 PM

Instead of drywall mud use a product called “Water Putty” it will adhere better than the drywall mud and is hard but will work well.

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View waho6o9's profile


8168 posts in 2545 days

#7 posted 07-29-2012 03:50 PM

May be run the free plywood through the planer and get it flat, dowel and or join together, and
then formica the top.

If the planer trick works and your substrate is flat, your tops will be good to go.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3037 days

#8 posted 07-29-2012 04:38 PM

Run recycled plywood that had been used to ship machinery thru a planer!?? Good luck with that. Your planer, maybe, but not mine. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3160 posts in 3200 days

#9 posted 07-29-2012 05:13 PM

Well, I was too late. Everything was gone except the trampled grass where something had been laying.

“Run recycled plywood that had been used to ship machinery thru a planer!?? Good luck with that. Your planer, maybe, but not mine. – lol”

I don’t understand that comment. Certainly you have seen trucks going down the highway with stuff crated up completely. That is what the add was saying. There was enough to build a shed but illness and the fact the homeowner moved left them no choice but to get rid of it.

Note: I have a metal detector that I use to check every board that goes through the planer.

Regardless, it is a non event! :-)

Thanks to all who have chimed in with your advice. Maybe this will help others who have similar situations. In fact, I have a couple of pieces of 1/2 inch c/d ply that I might just go ahead and laminate and use as a temporary work table for the saw horses when I set them out in the driveway. My single car garage is pretty cramped.

Onward and upward.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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