Building a worktop desk with laminate top.


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Old 02-14-15, 10:02 PM
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Cool Building a worktop desk with laminate top.

Good evening,

I am planning on building a desk for my small home studio. It will be for the placement of the mixing boards, etc. What type of wood would be best to make something good and solid? And want to also add laminate too just like the kind on the kitchen counters. This I will be doing myself and want to get in the right direction. My thought was MDF wood, but not for sure.



Thank you,
MrCarl
 
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Old 02-15-15, 02:48 AM
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Hey, I'm not a laminate expert at all but most if not all factory laminate kitchen counter tops are over that presswood factory stuff. I don't know enough to comment about diy laminate work but I have a couple alternative ideas.

1: You might find a top at a local store that you can cut to size.

2: I built the desk I'm at now and used left over 1/4" thick 12x12" solid oak parquet flooring. Coated it in 3 coats of poly. Makes one tough nice looking desk top. You would only need to design the desk so that you have a plan that covers the edges.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 03:23 AM
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Particle board is used under laminate on countertops because it's super flat. Plywood and MDF aren't always flat enough for the laminate to glue down correctly. On my office table I just stained and poly'd plywood with an oak banding hiding the edge. In my shop's tool room I have an old set of kitchen cabinets that have recyled heart pine flooring for the top. Tile might also be an option.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 04:03 AM
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I'll have to jump in with the others. Laminate is difficult to get "right" without experience. MDF, IMO will absorb the contact cement to quickly and may not give a good substrate for the laminate to adhere to. Using prefinished hardwood flooring and trimming the edges makes a great deal of sense to me. It has a strong finish, and you won't be abusing it once your equipment is on it. One thing to consider too, is how long is your table? Some laminates may not be sized right and will require seams. We have one on our mixing board table at our church and it is in a very poor place, wanting to separate with the weight of our mixing board. I had to build a cabinet to go under the seam, as the wall brackets were just not sufficient.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 04:16 AM
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The problem with using prefinished flooring is the beveled edge between boards. IMO that would be a deal breaker. Even with parquet you may have some 'loose' joints that need to be filled in order to get a smooth seamless top.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 05:18 AM
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MDF will accept laminate just fine. It does have a tendency to sag if unsupported. What are you plans for support?
 
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Old 02-15-15, 05:39 AM
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While I've never worked with MDF panels, I've painted a bunch of them and I've seen places where there were 'bumps' in the panels. Don't know how common that is but I've seen it multiple times.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 06:46 AM
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What kind of bumps? I don't think I have seen this.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 06:50 AM
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Yeah, I have had to sand boogers off MDF. Not often, but you need to make sure it is flat
 
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Old 02-15-15, 11:45 AM
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Ya, the boogers aren't always noticeable until you go to sand the primer. I don't know if there are better grades of MDF but I've run into quite a bit when prepping built ins for paint.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 12:27 PM
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Lets not forget doors. In this case a solid core birch door slab. Get the width you need and for this purpose get one with a particle board core and it can be cut to length and the cut end capped with a wood.
 
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Old 02-15-15, 12:47 PM
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Couple of things to consider.
- Laminate is hard to come by, many suppliers that carry it sell to contractors only
- Laminate requires a few specialized tools, some of which you might never use again

I would consider plywood with built up edges, or a door like Ray said. Finish with a bar top poly or glass top. The glass can be expensive, but permanent and easy to clean.

A note: MDF is the perfect substrate for laminate. All laminate counters have an MDF base. All RTF (Rigid Thermofoil) Doors have an MDF base. It's stable and machines well.

This is High Density 3/4" MDF and not the cheap stuff.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 08:55 PM
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Hey, I like the idea about solid door blanks. I am not trying to make anything world class, but wanted to try to make something that would be very nice. Enough for a couple of mid sized mixing boards, 2 monitor speakers, a place to lay down papers and write on. Maybe could even find an odd counter top somewhere. I just came up with the laminate because I have seen it on so many desks around and thought it would look nice with the edge banding. I also saw the MDF used a lot because I worked for a while with an affiliate of Herman Miller and they did the doors, desks, cabinets etc and used MDF and laminate. That's where my original idea came from. Now you all have given me something to look into. I just wanted to make sure it would be smooth and long lasting. Glass top...hmmmmmmmm

Thank you all so much. When and if I do this I'll get back and let you know and maybe even get a pic for you to see. This is one really cool site.

mrcarl
 
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Old 02-18-15, 04:11 AM
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I have worked with Laminate which up until now was a regular stock item at Big Orange and now is a special order item. 4x8 sheets were readily available. I have also worked with wood veneers that I have ordered off the internet. I found both to be similar to work with if you have proper procedures. 3/4" cabinet grade plywood would probably be your flattest and strongest surface to work with. You can find laminate trimmer bits mixed in with the router bits at the local box store. Contact cement or a Laminate Specific contact cement is rolled onto both surfaces and allowed to dry. Then lay dowels across the work to keep the surfaces apart. Remove dowels one a a time starting at the center and working toward one end. Smoothing out the laminate as you go. Then complete the other end. Use your laminate cutting router blade to trim the edges. It really is more intimidating than it actually is. Edging on laminate is a little more challenging. However, if you start with using the factory edge of the 4x8 sheet you can install that edge facing up and use the trimmer to shave the bottom. Score (or double score) and snap the laminate to cut to size.
 
 

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