Making a seam in a laminate top

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  #1  
Old 02-18-04, 02:34 AM
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Making a seam in a laminate top

If any of you would like to know how to make a seam in a laminate top, because your piece is longer than 12ft. Let me know and I'll take some pics of how to do it.

You can buy laminate up to 5'x12'
 
  #2  
Old 02-19-04, 08:55 PM
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Yes... I need help in this department.

I try to keep the two edges as flat and square as possible and pull together from below. Works fairly well but... but I can tell it's not done by a pro (my wife is pleased though, which is what counts)

As you indicated the larger laminate helps to elimante seems, but I run into my of seems when I go around a corner. How do you do the miter without a really huge radial arem saw? I avoid the miter by butting the faces together.


Any suggestions will be appreciated.

BTW..... I always trim out the edge with a wood face, if that matters.
 
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Old 02-19-04, 09:30 PM
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BTW..... I always trim out the edge with a wood face, if that matters.

Do you put the wood edge before or after you laminate the top?

if you do it after it becomes a dust collector.

How do you tighten the miters or tops together? do you just push them snug and then screw a board to the bottom of both?

As far as joining them in a 45deg angle.

Well, tell me how you do it first. I'm curious to see what you've been doing and to see why it hasnt worked. Then Ill tell you what youve been doing wrong and why.
 
  #4  
Old 02-19-04, 09:32 PM
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I was mainly talking about seaming just the formica together, which you can do in a 45 deg also, but it's just a bit harder.

You can build your whole countertop i.e. that you can still get it into the room with it has big as it has to go. then seam just the laminate. Makes it easier and a nicer seam if you can do it this way instead of doing field seams.
 
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Old 02-19-04, 10:43 PM
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I biscuit join the wood to the particle board base and then glue the laminate on the top.... (followed by routing, etc. as you described in one of your other post)

The seams really aren't that bad... but in places you can see gaps of a 1/32 (maybe a little more).

I got a bit lazy joining the tops together. I pulled them together tight with clamps, and then screwed flat metal plates on the bottom. I know it's probably better to route an "I" shaped groove in the base and use the counter top bolts... but I saved that detail to the end and didn't want to "roll" the finished tops around too much...

To be honest I think the gaps come mostly from the edges not being totally flat, i.e. they're tight in some places along the seam, but not others. I'm thinking the base is less than perfect.

To make the base I use a clamped straight edge to guide my circular saw on the short sides and use the table saw to rip the widths. Even if I did have a less than perfect cut with the circular saw, wouldn't a small "ripple" be flattened by the wood trim?

Anyway criticism/suggestions/hints are always welcome.




To be honest seaming the laminate on the base didn't cross my mind... probably would have helped me on some jobs. I am sitting here at the ~7'x12' formica topped desk I made (a wrap around in the shape of the letter "C" ) and see that I could have probably done it in two pieces, instead of the four.
 
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Old 02-19-04, 10:59 PM
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Part of your problem is the way you went about cutting the top. I would highly suggest you stay away from a circular saw

About 9 years ago, I made the base cabinets in my kitchen using a jig saw, a straight edge and a flush trim bit, and a framing square. I roughed out the depth with a table saw. My saw at that time only went out to 24".


When doing mitered corners, have a sharp pencil, jig saw, straight edge, flush trim bit and obviously a router that is at least 1-1/2 hp.

If you have a chop saw, depending upon what size you have, cut the largest piece you can on a 45 deg angle in one cut. Take that piece of wood and transfer it onto your countertop. Take a straight edge to follow the line all the way through. Screw your straight edge up to the line. put a few screws in it. One about every 12" so the peice of 3/4" ply doesnt flex. Jig saw upto about 1/4" away from the line, flip the countertop over and route it with the flush trim bearing bit. If you notice that you're still off a bit, you can follow it up with a block sander.

When you trim your mica, do you use a belt sander to make it flush with the raw edge of the particle board?
 
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Old 02-19-04, 11:20 PM
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I trimed it with the flush trim bearing bit and at that point it "seamed" to be almost there.... I just buffed it with a sanding block.

Thanks for the tip on using the straight edge/flush trim bit... It's probably a little more set up time, but if it gives a straighter cut, it will be worth the trouble.
 
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Old 02-19-04, 11:23 PM
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I'll take a pic of a jig I use for making seams with just the mica when the top is already built. You can use this for field seams too. It works a lot better than trying to flush off the mica and get it to line up. It's a bit tricky to get the jist of, but when you learn it, you'll use it every time. Brb Let me go take a pic
 
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Old 02-19-04, 11:36 PM
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http://f2.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/cre...bum?.dir=/8e39

The first pic shows that I laminated the each edge of the jig that the router bit will ride on.

The second pic shows how I took 3/4" blocks and screwed the two vertical pieces together with a 3/4" space inbetween.

The next one is a face view which is what goes up and the laminate sits on that.

You take your two pieces of laminate and butt them together. you want the one piece of laminate to overhang into the groove about 1/4" and the other butts up to it. Take your flush trim bit. Use the smaller ones that are only about 1/4" in diameter. Should say laminate flush trim bit.

Clamp the two pieces down using wood screw clamps to hold it tight. then while making sure the bearing is staying flat against the one edge the whole way, route the two at the same time. It creates a mirror image so they go back the same way.. Make sure that bearing doesn't leave the side rail or you'll have to do it again.

If you're not quite sure of the set up, let me know and I'll take more pics in depth.
 
  #10  
Old 02-24-04, 03:03 PM
jjjedlic
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First Laminate Project w/ seams

I'm making my first attempt at laminating a counter top with seams (I've done a couple without seams so have a little bit of experience with laminate). I am redoing an existing surface so can't do the seams with the MDF seams underneath. I was gong to try to overlap the two pieces and try to make the 45 degree mirrored angle cuts at the same time...... I don't know if this will work, but haven't come up with a better idea. I'm interested in the pictures and process you mention: talk slowly because like I said I haven't done this before. Thanks
 
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Old 02-24-04, 03:05 PM
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I am redoing an existing surface so can't do the seams with the MDF seams underneath.

Im sorry, but I don't quite understand what you mean by that. Could you be a bit more detailed as to what you're talking about? You can laminate over existing tops.
 
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Old 02-24-04, 03:08 PM
jjjedlic
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Ignore the MDF stuff...... just saying I'm doing an existing surface. I'm just worried about getting good tight seams with the laminate. Details about your jig and how you use it would hopefully help out.
 
  #13  
Old 02-24-04, 03:10 PM
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I have a meeting with a client a little later tonight. When I get back later, I'll take some pics of how to place your laminate on the jig and how it works. Look late tonight or tomm for pics.
 
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Old 02-24-04, 03:11 PM
jjjedlic
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Will Do. I really appreciate it.
 
  #15  
Old 02-24-04, 03:13 PM
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No big deal. Just another day of work for me.
 
  #16  
Old 03-03-04, 12:21 PM
jjjedlic
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Hi Mike. I know you must be very busy, but any chance you can send me more details / pics on how to use your jig. I know you get an awful lot of inquiries so this probably just slipped your mind. I really appreciate it
 
  #17  
Old 03-03-04, 01:42 PM
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Sorry it took so long. It's hard to solve everyones delimas.

Here is the link of the additional pics

http://f2.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/cre...@sbcglobal.net


You laminate both edges of the jig, even though you're only using one side. I guess it's really not necessary to laminate both edges, I just did.

You take the one piece of laminate so it hangs over into the middle by about 1/8" then take the other and butt it up to it, leaving about a 1/16" gap between the two. I wouldn't recommend you use spring clamps when doing larger pieces. I would use wood screw clamps to hold it down better.

You then take a smaller flush laminate trim bit with a bearing and route the two at the same time by keeping the bearing against the laminated fence at all times.

Flip the laminate over and lightly sand off the debree left over from routing it. Sand it parallel with the back side of the laminate. Then when you take the two pieces together on a bench to check it, they should be right on. Make sure you route it slowly. If the router moves off of that fence even just the slightest bit, you'll have to re route it again.

Mark a square line off of the front edge of your top with a pencil so you have a reference line in which to go off of when laying the laminate down.

Lay your one piece down by lining it right up with the line you drew. Make sure you use at least 1/4" dowel rods to hold the laminate off of the top.

Put the dowel rods about every 12"

Once you have that piece layed down you bend your second piece down so it butts up to the piece that is already layed.

Press that down into the top so it sticks. With your next dowel that sits about 12" away, move that dowel so it's about 6-8" away from the seam. Leave that dowel in and take the rest of them out. So essentially that dowel is creating a bubble. Once you press down the rest of that side, you will slowly take that dowel out and press the bubble out in the direction of the seam.

If you need more detailed pics, I'll take them.
 
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Old 03-03-04, 03:21 PM
jjjedlic
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Thanks. I'll study this and hopefully "get it." Seems there would be a gap the width of the router bit to account for.....
 
  #19  
Old 03-03-04, 04:12 PM
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The router bit will take off about 1/4" plus the gap you leave. You need to make sure you leave enough extra in the length to do this. I would say an extra 2" just incase you have to re-route it again.
 
  #20  
Old 05-03-04, 10:12 AM
jjjedlic
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Thumbs up Finished - Thank You

I have completely finished my first major laminate counter top with seams. It looks great. Your help was instrumental in getting it done right. I made your jig and added two extra pieces of MDF the same length as the jip to clamp on top of the jig and laminate to "sandwich" the laminate to make it extra stable. Anyway, your patience and guidance are very much appreciated. THANK YOU.
 
 

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