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Formica router table top

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Forum topic by bbandu posted 05-07-2014 08:31 PM 975 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bbandu

79 posts in 199 days


05-07-2014 08:31 PM

Ok I have never used formica and have tried to read all that I can find on glueing it down. However I am have been unable to find really any info on routing through the formica. I want cover my router table top with the Formica and then cut out the miter slot and slots for t-track to hold router fence.

Can I just glue the Formica down and then use my router to cut through the formica and plywood, if so is there any particular router bit used for this.

Any susgestions are greatly appreciated.


26 replies so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5364 posts in 2240 days


#1 posted 05-07-2014 08:43 PM

Yes that is how it is done mostly.Glue it down with the contact cement wait till it’s tacky but does not stick to your finger around ten minutes or less depending on the warmth of your shop.Then apply carefully then tim with the router it cuts through formica really well no probs .You will find a router cutter design specially for this but a piercing cutter will do it must be pointed on the tip and also cut along it’s edge.Also use some kind of fence and don’t try it freehand for best results it is really easy look up the procedure on youtube to gain confidence first IMHO have fun my friend. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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bbandu

79 posts in 199 days


#2 posted 05-07-2014 08:47 PM

Thanks, I have already been practicing my freehand routing on scrap wood and it is something else let me tell you. So I will be defiently usinf a fence to make sure my lines are straight.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1232 days


#3 posted 05-07-2014 08:48 PM

Once the formica is down, it can be drilled, cut routed, etc. Just mind chipping.
A really shallow first pass will eliminate chipping when routing. Don’t use a spiral upcut bit.
When I routed the miter slots in my table saw outfeed table I used a plain straight bit. No chipping, but it leaves sharp edges. Have a sanding block ready to knock the edges down.

Application is easy; I use a foam brush to apply the solvent (smelly) contact cement. Quick and very even application. Wait 20 minutes or so for it to dry (IIRC, you have up to about two hours; the key is to make sure it’s not still wet), then using wood spacers between the formica and surface, lay the laminate on top of the spacers. I start from the middle and pull out a spacer and press the laminate down. I then work my way to each outside edge, smoothing the laminate with my hands as I go along.

Once it’s down, press the edges down (not a ton of pressure as the edges overhanging the substrate can crack), then flush trim it.
AFTER flush trimming it, roll it down with a j-roller. The reason I trim it before rolling is that if you roll over the edge, you can crack the overhanging edge very easily.

It makes for a very nice work surface. :-)

That said, I ‘ve never seen the need for a miter lot on a router table. Anything that can be done with a miter slot can be done with a jig or sled that rides along the fence. All a miter slot on a router table does is provide a place for chips to build up, and possibly compromise the flatness of the router table top.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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bbandu

79 posts in 199 days


#4 posted 05-07-2014 08:58 PM

Ok so there is really no need for a miter slot in a router table, which is fine as it just saves me some money. I do however want to cut slots for t-track to hold my router fence which will be done the same way.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1232 days


#5 posted 05-07-2014 09:21 PM

There’s no need for those either. :-)

You can see at the ends of the fence the simple clamping mechanism used.
It has never once slipped on me.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3362 posts in 1468 days


#6 posted 05-07-2014 09:36 PM

Here is yet another option for a fence. I used Kreg knobs and T-nuts on this one. I cut a dado on the underside to keep the T-nut from spinning. T-tracks would work too.

The biggest lesson I learned is to make the opening for your router plate slightly oversized. I built a wooden template to guide a router for the recessed plate. If you make the recessed opening slightly larger than the baseplate, the Formica won’t chip when you remove or reinstall the baseplate.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/44902

As far as the miter slot (or T-track) in the router table, I find it useful for featherboards.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View kiefer's profile

kiefer

3076 posts in 1322 days


#7 posted 05-07-2014 10:00 PM

You say you will cover the top with Formica .
Please cover the bottom also to balance it and keep it from warping .
To trim the edges you could use you table saw by using a trimming fence set up, a simple L shape where the Formica is under and over the fence .
If you are adding a hardwood edge it cold be attached before gluing on the laminate and then the edge can be routed with a bevel bit or beveled with the table saw .
Get yourself a good router plate and build a good fence and a mitre slot is a good idea also .
Dust collection is another must for a router table and is easy to make .

-- Kiefer 松

View woodchuckerNJ's profile

woodchuckerNJ

878 posts in 289 days


#8 posted 05-07-2014 11:25 PM

What Kiefer said..
Pinto, I was blinded by the top… you need to warn us to put on our sunglasses next time :-p

-- Jeff NJ

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1232 days


#9 posted 05-08-2014 12:21 AM

Bracing the table from underneath will prevent warping.
Bracing the table should be done regardless of thickness, or it will warp.
Mine has been dead flat for over a year in a detached, uninsulated garage shop.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Kickback's profile

Kickback

127 posts in 1290 days


#10 posted 05-08-2014 12:53 AM

Trim with a flush trim bit after gluing. Use a template to cut the router plate opening. You are using a router lift aren’t you? You don’t need a lift but it makes router table work so much easier and faster. I used two layers of MDF because it is very flat and covered it with Wilsonart laminate. It came out awesome. You will love the laminate top when you are done.

-- "I work so I can fish"!

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woodchuckerNJ

878 posts in 289 days


#11 posted 05-08-2014 04:01 AM

Nitewalker is wrong, you don’t need that kind of bracing to prevent warping.
What you need is like Kiefer said, you need to equalize the forces on both sides, and that involves putting formica on both sides.

You did not say what you were putting the formica over.

That’s important. MDF doubled up to 1.5 inches is a good foundation. Particle board doubled to 1.5 is another good solution.

-- Jeff NJ

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1232 days


#12 posted 05-08-2014 12:15 PM

Jeff, a router table top that doesn’t have bracing or support underneath WILL warp/sag over time.

And as I said, even without formica on the bottom of my router table top, for a year+ in my uninuslated, unheated shop in NY, there has been no change whatsoever in the flatness.

As for the foundation, it doesn’t matter much as long as it’s flat.
I used MDF for one of my table tops, the one pictured is made of a columbia purebond maple plywood scrap.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View bbandu's profile

bbandu

79 posts in 199 days


#13 posted 05-08-2014 03:28 PM

Ok everyone thanks for all the replys, let me try and clear up some things….
First let me say that this router table will be attached to my table saw.
I had intended to build the router table out of 3/4 red oak plywood. 3/4 plywood frame wrapped around 3/4 plywood with plywood bracing. The frame will be attached to the table saw using the existing 10 different bolts holes for the wing and spreader bar on three sides of the frame.

I was then going to cover the whole top with formica.

As far as the slots for t-track to hold my router fence I am unable the fence with a simple clamping mechanism because of the rails on the table saw.

I will be using a router lift to attach the router to the table top.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2710 posts in 1232 days


#14 posted 05-08-2014 05:11 PM

Gotcha.
Your plan will work fine.
Routing the slots will be easy, just be sure to keep the router against whatever guide you use to rout them.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View bbandu's profile

bbandu

79 posts in 199 days


#15 posted 05-09-2014 06:06 PM

Well I started my hunt for the formic to put on top of my router table. I did not want to purchase a full sheet becuase I was only going to need less then a 1/4 sheet for this project.

After a couple of days searching local ships and store I found a counter top shop that had formica remnants and they just gave me 2 pieces big enough to complete this project.

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