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mcain 07-02-2003 11:05 AM

Counter Tops
We just redid our refrigeration, including lids. Unfortunately, this put the spotlight on our counter tops, which are heavily scratched formica. I would like some ideas on replacement or upgrade.
The biggest problem appears to be cosmetic--getting the teak molding off the old formica will be a pain--some of it is curved and if I mess it up, it will be hard to replace. Also, the lids of the refrig are flush, so I need a good way to get a nice crisp edge around the opening for refrig & freezer.
Anyone else done this kind of upgrade? Ideas, techniques, etc?
(current ideas include granite tiles--very heavy and expensive; glue on new formica--hard to get crisp edge around openings),

paulk 07-03-2003 05:08 AM

Counter Tops
Generally, formica & other plastic laminates are cut a little big, glued on, and then trimmed. This is because the glue used is a one-shot item; touch the surfaces, and they''re permanently bonded. If you''re really careful, however,you should be able to shape it exactly right, apply the glue to the two surfaces (the top of the old counter and the bottom of the new) and position the new sheet precisely over where it needs to be and drop it into place. If there''s a straight fiddle edge against which you can position the new sheet, that may work well, or you can perhaps keep the surfaces separated by a couple of metal rods. (They''re less likely to break than pencils or dowels.) You pull the rods, the new panel drops into position. Use a fine, sharp crosscut or hacksaw to cut the formica and then a file to get the exact edge you want. Your library will have a good section of how-to books - Reader''s Digest comes to mind - that would be worth consulting.
P.S. Besides being heavy (and slow) granite tiles will be very exciting to cut to fit curves, and you''ll have grout lines that will trap moisture and grow things. Ugh!

KenD 07-03-2003 09:20 AM

Counter Tops
I am in the cabinet business and have recovered old laminate surfaces with new many times the trick is to sand the surface to remove the release coat on the lam 60 grit does this very well.after sanding clean the surface with acetone,then clean it again.Make sure all motors or anything that could cause a spark is OFF. Buy some 3m spray contact sold in Hardware stores,use the spray 99 not the 77 the 77 was developed for use as a tack board material.use old blinds or small dia. dowels to position laminate pull some out to get a bond then carefully remove the rest of them, roll the surface with a J roller or a rolling pin and then trim. Clean up any over spray with m.e.k. . Hope this helps you good luck

KenD 07-03-2003 09:24 AM

Counter Tops
oops use a file to finish any edge do not use a hack saw to cut with a block plane or router is best the saw motion creates stress cracks,they staet showing up after the job is done normally when you invite someone aboard to see your handiwork.

mcain 07-13-2003 06:29 AM

Counter Tops
Ken, looks like good advice. How about cleaning up the edges with a belt sander? Would that work? Then finish the corners with a file? Thanks for the advice about the stress cracks and hacksaw.

On the 3M adhesive, we cannot find 99 on 3M''s web site, but 90 is designated as a counter top adhesive by 3M--is that what you meant? We will be spraying near varnished surfaces--would the MEK take off the varnish? (we have had some challenges with acetone taking off varnish....).

Sounds like 90 is the right spray adhesive for all permanent applications where you want to use a spray, rather than the 77, right?

KenD 07-17-2003 05:50 AM

Counter Tops
OPP''S Now if I could only type and proofread yes you are correct spray 90 is the right one to use. I would lose my nerve using a belt sander to trim back laminate use a block plane or buy a router trimer bit with a ball bearing collar if you have gotten that far why take the chance and wreck it. tape off the solid wood and spray,after the laminate is done tape off the lam from the wood and refinish yes M.E.K. will take up just about any finish be careful with it and make sure you have plenty of ventilation! good luck with your project.

mcain 07-17-2003 07:23 AM

Counter Tops
Ken, thanks for the advice. The router bit it is. I did try this once many years ago and was not real happy with the result. So where it is critical, I might try the block plane--sometimes slow is better. By the way, my router is pretty big and heavy and a little hard to get precision. Is there a special router that you recommend--something smaller and lighter, perhaps?
We have purchased the formica top and in a couple of weeks will be trying it. Our intent at this point is to remove the trim, hopefully not trashing it in the process, lay the formica, then re-apply the trim.
Wish us luck.

KenD 07-22-2003 07:00 AM

Counter Tops
Go to your local Home depot or Lowes hardware outlet and ask for a Porter Cable or makitia trim router with removeable base.If you can use a 3/8 router bit with ballbearing follower. You can realy route by hand with this setup. Prefit the lam before you glue,by the way did I mention to use 1/4" dowels to position the lam on the top and remove them a couple at a time to keep the lam in place. Just finished the counters in the head this week, the galley top is next although I think I might just use some extra solidsurface I have Good Luck with the Project My trim came off rather easily after the screws were removed a putty knife works well, don''t force it take yopur time and all will be well in the end

mcain 07-23-2003 08:54 AM

Counter Tops
Thanks Ken. I have the new lam in hand--it arrived the other day. I still have some concerns about the trim, but will give it a go. And the small router makes sense. Wish me luck.

mcain 08-18-2003 08:24 AM

Counter Tops
Final update on the counter top. In spite of my trepedation, I redid the counter top and it came out great.
I removed the trim first. Put a #8 screw into the teak plugs and screwed them out with an electric screwdriver. Then removed the screws themselves, and a putty knife did the rest. Cleaned the old top with acetone and sanded it. Rough cut the counter top. Then applied contact cement, used 1/4" dowels to hold the new top off, then removed the dowels one at a time. Rolled the lam with a special roller.
Trimmed the formica with a small lam router and roller lam trimmer blade. Cleaned it up with a special file for that purpose. Put the trim back.
It is awesome!!! Funny thing is, it is almost harder to describe than to do it. No more than a few hours all total, from a standing start to completion. Biggest time is waiting for the cement to dry to the right point. It was also all in the tools--the small router, file, special scissors to rough trim it, and roller.

Peace, and thanks a lot for the advice Ken.

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