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Fiberglass coated router table top questions

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Forum topic by ColonelTravis posted 357 days ago 681 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ColonelTravis

566 posts in 499 days


357 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: router table fiberglass

For the past few months I’ve been looking (very off and on) for something cheap to make a router table top. By “cheap” I mean what I pay for it, not the material – something more smooth and durable than MDF and melamine. Haven’t been able to find anything, which has been frustrating – until I stumbled on a guy selling sheets of fiberglass coated plywood for pretty cheap. The sheets are either 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch thick, and I’d put that on top of some 3/4 inch birch plywood I have sitting around. So:

1.) Is this a good choice for a router table top?
2.) Haven’t seen the finish, not sure how smooth it is. Would you need to coat it with anything after sanding, or just sand it?
3.) When I cut the hole for the plate, or round off the sides, is this stuff easy to chip?
3a.) How do you avoid chipping?

Thanks


11 replies so far

View ChrisK's profile

ChrisK

1041 posts in 1686 days


#1 posted 357 days ago

MDF with a high pressure laminate is probably the flattest least costly way to go. The fiberglass will be a durable surface and you can sand it smooth, until you sand through to the glass. Cutting the hole wont be fun. The glass fibers can be hard on steel blades. Making it flat could also be a real chore.

My 2 cents? 3/4 MDF with laminate scrap from a big box store over the birch ply with a nice hard wood trim band.

I have been using laminate over MDF for almost 10 years on my router table. (Used Poplar trim coated in BLO, it was what I had on hand.)

-- Chris K

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2448 posts in 956 days


#2 posted 356 days ago

Formica is the way to go, easy to work with and easy to get. Fiberglass while durable, is a bear to work with and you absolutely need a dust mask for grinding, sanding or sawing it. Fiberglass should be painted as well as it should be protected from UV rays.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View GNP's profile

GNP

12 posts in 1107 days


#3 posted 356 days ago

I have to agree on the MDF with laminate. I picked up a laminate scrap from a local cabinet shop for free. Used it on the fence too. Good luck with your router table.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3353 posts in 2565 days


#4 posted 356 days ago

Don’t know what size top you’re lookin’ for, but I picked up a couple laminate (Formica) sink cut-outs for free, glued ‘em back to back, edge banded them. Total cost? ZIP, nada, nothing. Been usin’ that top for 10 years w/o a single prob.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15671 posts in 2823 days


#5 posted 356 days ago

I guess my questions would be: 1) How smooth is the fiberglass? and 2) How cheap is the guy selling it?

If it’s quite smooth, and you can get it cheaper than you can buy plywood and Formica, I don’t see a problem. But I’m guessing that’s not going to be the case.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1396 posts in 966 days


#6 posted 356 days ago

Dumb idea.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View crank49's profile

crank49

3343 posts in 1576 days


#7 posted 356 days ago

Bill makes a very good point about gluing two panels back to back.
That’s the key. Someone else on here recently posted a comment about having some of that material (single sided laminate counter top) laying around for over a year before they went to use it and it had cupped.
Gluing two sheets back to back avoids that problem. Sealing the edge with a trim of solid wood is just extra protection. Best way to go in my opinion.

Come to think of it, do you suppose the guy selling “fiberglass coated” plywood really is selling phenolic coated plywood and just doesn’t know what he has? I ask that because I never heard of the former, but the latter is fairly common and really good stuff; but expensive.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View ColonelTravis's profile

ColonelTravis

566 posts in 499 days


#8 posted 356 days ago

Alrighty – no go on that board. Thanks very much for the input.

What I really want is the free counter formica but haven’t been able to find it. I live next door to a contractor and asked him about picking up an old counter when they do a remodel. He said nope. Couldn’t believe it. He’s not a jerk, either.

I live in DFW Texas – there’s gotta be a billion contractors who have something to throw away, I just need to find out how to find one of them. Do I just call remodeling companies up cold?

View crank49's profile

crank49

3343 posts in 1576 days


#9 posted 356 days ago

You could go to a Home Depot or Lowes, or similar, and get the names of people who install sinks and or kitchen counters, etc. Then contact these people to see if you could obtain any sink cut-outs.

For that matter, HD or Lowes might have a damaged section of counter top they would give you, or sell real cheap.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3353 posts in 2565 days


#10 posted 356 days ago

There’s gotta be a cab or countertop fabricator in your area. The sink cuts are trash to them. Check out the yellow pages or your cab contractor.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Earlextech's profile (online now)

Earlextech

914 posts in 1295 days


#11 posted 356 days ago

Clint – a man of few words. LOL

I’ve had an MDF/laminate covered router table top for almost thirty years. Still as flat as the day I made it.

I’ll bet you could go by a cabinet shop and pick something up for free or really cheap.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

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