Formica

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Formica

Postby JohnF » Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:29 pm

I have been working pretty steadily on my Cubby and have much of the cabinet framing done. I am thinking of using Formica for the "counter top" surfaces, but have never worked with it or purchased it. Can it be had in any size, or do you have to buy a big roll or something?

Also, if there is some other inexpensive counter top meterial that you might recommend I'd appreciate being educated.

Thanks....John at Salida, CO
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Postby madjack » Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:39 pm

John, have you considerd using left over aluminum...the box stores usually have 4'x8' sheets in a few standard colors/patterns...anything else will have to be ordered, I find Lowes to be pretty good about discounting damaged sheets...cracked corner or such. Working with formica can be tricky as it tends to chip easily, it should, if possible be cut oversized, glued down and trimmed with a router, the next best is clamp it down securely and using a guide cut it to size with a router...the best adhesive is contact cement...it can be tricky to use also but I don't want you to think I am a know it all so I will now shut up
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Postby john » Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:26 pm

I find that the prefab counter tops sold at Lowes are cheaper by nearly half than buying the materials needed to build the same counter top. (aprox 2' deep and 4' long $35 i think, 8' lond approx $70) Pre fab tops will likely be too big for your needs but cuting them to size with a circular saw works well, just go slow or cut with the counter upside down to avoid chipping. No ply, no cement, just a little cuting needed.

I have a preference for the Ebony Star pattern that H.D. sellsl here in NC. It is textured and never looks dirty. Works great in rental property.

MadJack is right about the left over aluminium if you like the look and have any. I liked the look, but had no leftovers.

I ended up making my counter with some clearence hard wood flooring. I don't remember the tree, although the one box they had was all I needed for the counter and a few other places in the tear.


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Postby toypusher » Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:26 pm

Home Depot here sells it in 2x4 foot sheets as well as the 4x8 sheets.

I used it for the counter and part of the sidewalls in the galley area. You can now get contact cement in a spray can also. This makes gluing it down very, very simple. That's what I used on mine.
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Postby john » Wed Nov 02, 2005 6:57 pm

I haven't seen the spray stuff. Next time I'll use that and save money on throw away rollers.

thanks
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Postby TomS » Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:23 pm

I used Formica for my galley counter.

Formica is easy to work with. You can cut it with a circular saw or your table saw. The only really tricky part about working with Formica, is the adhesive used to apply it. It bonds instantly and PERMANENTLY on contact. Once it stuck, its there forever. So you need to make sure you have it aligned it precisely before allowing the laminate to touch the substrate.

Image

This photo shows how I used small strips of wood to keep the laminate and substrate apart while I aligning the laminate. Then I pulled the strips out one at a time working from the center to the outside.

ImageImage

If you want a really precise fit, laminate it first. Then, cut it flush with router and a flush trim bit. This is the technique I used when laminating Formica to rough side of the ACX plywood galley walls on my Cubby.
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Postby exminnesotaboy » Wed Nov 02, 2005 7:53 pm

I looked into buying some formica to put down for the countertop as well - but after seeing the price of a 4' ready-to-go counter top with a backsplash for only 35$ at Lowe's and Home Depot(like John said above), my choice was easy. But, I ended up finding a lightly chipped one at a builders surplus store for 10$ - and the chipped part I was able to trim off when fitting it in:

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Postby toypusher » Wed Nov 02, 2005 8:00 pm

TomS wrote: .............If you want a really precise fit, laminate it first. Then, cut it flush with router and a flush trim bit.


If at all possible, this is the best way to do this. I have done quite a few tabletops and counter tops for custom fits and applying it on oversized and using a router to trim it down is by far the best way for me.
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Postby halfdome, Danny » Sat Nov 05, 2005 1:06 pm

After trimming plam ( plastic laminate, Formica, Wilsonart, Nevamar etc. ) with a straight bit you can use a no-file bit & file the edge perfectly flush or use a cabinet scraper to clean up the edge. Cleaning up the slight overhang with a cabinet scraper is much safer and does a cleaner job than a file. After the glue has cured for a week or so you can go back and clean up the edge again where it has grown. To save money forget the no-file bit and just scrape the edge. For those who want to trim plam with a wood edge, again, the cabinet scraper can flush the wood to the plam. You can buy a cabinet scraper for under $10 and it will last a lifetime. I've been a Cabinetmaker for 38 years. :D
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Postby Chris C » Sat Nov 05, 2005 1:18 pm

Halfdome, I sure need to know where you get your scrapers! :shock: I go through 2 or 3 a year.

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Postby cracker39 » Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:39 pm

I haven't looked at the ready made counter tops much. Arent they pretty heavy? Or am I thinking of older technology? Joining two surfaces with contact cement...fist, make sure the contact cement has dried enough tow ork with. Put sheets of waxed paper (NOT plastic wrap) on the stationary prepared surface to cover it completely, and lay the top cement side down on the waxed paper. You can then line them up good . When they are aligned, if you can, clamp one end lightly to hold the alignment and lift the other end end slightly and pull out as much of the waxed paper as you can, being careful not to tear off any between the two surfaces. Put that end down carefully, then unclamp and lift the other end enough to pull out the rest of the waxed paper, then put it back down.
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Postby madjack » Sat Nov 05, 2005 7:43 pm

Dale that works really good but I am lazy so just usually use the bunch of sticks method...especially if I am gonna trim it afterward
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Postby halfdome, Danny » Sat Nov 05, 2005 8:24 pm

I've used the same 3/8" x 36"dowels for years ( stick method ) it makes it easy to shift the laminate especially when seaming two pieces at right angles. :thumbsup:
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Postby Chris C » Sun Nov 06, 2005 12:20 am

Hey Halfdome, aren't you going to tell me where I can buy those lifetime scrapers? I need some. :lol:
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Postby halfdome, Danny » Sun Nov 06, 2005 1:01 am

I bought about 5 of them over 25 years ago at San Diego Hardware. They are either German or Swedish steel. Too bad yours didn't last as long.:crazy:
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