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Curlly Formica, how to flatten it?
Curlly Formica, how to flatten it?
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Old 1st July 2018, 05:04 PM   #21
Cal Weldon is offline Cal Weldon  Canada
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Curlly Formica, how to flatten it?
Contact cement must be dry to the touch before joining the pieces, so the newspaper will not stick to it. A more common method is small sticks of wood like dowels or scrap rippings to support the formica above the bottom surface but not everyone has a whole bunch of them laying around.
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Old 1st July 2018, 11:36 PM   #22
puppet is offline puppet  United States
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Use rods of some sort. Don't lay down paper, unless you're looking for trouble. Biggest concern with laminating is making sure every surface is absolutely clean before you apply the adhesive. If not, you will see every little speck underneath.

Last edited by puppet; 1st July 2018 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 2nd July 2018, 01:42 AM   #23
PRR is offline PRR  United States
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Counter is done.

It helps to have the right glue. In winter I experimented with a small can of WeldWood contact goo. The temp may not have been good either. Now it IS "over 65F", and I am using WilsonArt 600 made for the job. The tack-point is much clearer and the grip seems better.

I've always seen rods so I made sure I had some. (Around here they recycle as plant markers.) Curl was non-issue. I suspect that if my woodshed roll from 1980s flattened, any new laminate that "curls like chips" is made bad and should be returned. (Ah, but shipping is a killer.)

YES!! I had not appreciated how much of the job is Dust Control! Fabbing the boards, but especially routing the edge, buried in bits and dust.
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Old 3rd July 2018, 01:13 AM   #24
PRR is offline PRR  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal Weldon View Post
...I am hoping formica is the same as.we.call.arborite.
Long tangled history.

The base product was Formica, 1912, as an electrical insulator. ("For-Mica", replaces costly mica in motor insulation.) Phenolic resin bulked-up with other cruft: asbestos, linen, cotton, sawdust, etc. Used for other products: 1930s was a standard material for engine timing-gears. Ugly brown.

1927, Formica patented an opaque barrier layer which allowed rotogravure printing of decorative patterns, woodgrain or marble.

Much of the history of Formica is tied-in with competing phenolic and melamine producers; also with not allowing the "Formica" brandname to become generic.

Meanwhile in Canada, C. Howard Smith was a hotshot wood products salesman and innovator. Developed the recovery boiler which is key to paper-making profits. (Here in Maine, one of the last papermills' boiler exploded, and it was not deemed worth keeping the mill open.) Smith felt he could make a sustainable useful product from lignin. This was Arborite, 'the "only all-Canadian" laminate'. 1960s they expanded into the UK market.

Later Ralph Wilson retired to Texas. Although there were 16(!) companies in the decorative laminate business, he started RWP, later WilsonArt. Wilson seems to have been a design bug; his house is a show-piece. WilsonArt strives for faster delivery than Formica; I observe WilsonArt often has the nicer patterns.

All these companies went through many mergers and spin-outs.

But here's the thing. Arborite, the former All-Canadian laminate player, is now a division of WilsonArt (Texas). I dunno if the products come off the same mills, if the current stuff is phenolic or melamine or lignin based, or if we care. I assume the basic flat product is "all the same" to the countertop laminator, whatever it is made from.
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Old 3rd July 2018, 03:34 PM   #25
puppet is offline puppet  United States
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nice post PRR.
The Italians make some beautiful laminates. Not cheap per sq. ft. but stunning to look at.
Probably be real nice on a DIY speaker project.
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Old 3rd July 2018, 03:58 PM   #26
Cal Weldon is offline Cal Weldon  Canada
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Curlly Formica, how to flatten it?
Thanks for that PRR.

Glad you got it done.

puppet, newspaper was the norm when I was taught. It wasn't until later did I see wood strips being used. Strange huh?
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Old 3rd July 2018, 05:43 PM   #27
puppet is offline puppet  United States
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I remember those days Cal. The oldtimers tried about everything to see what worked best. Back then this was all new tech. No training just "here ya go boys".
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Old 4th July 2018, 01:07 AM   #28
PRR is offline PRR  United States
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Yes, the Italian laminates were mentioned in a blog as a deluxe product.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PRR View Post
....if the current stuff is phenolic or melamine or lignin based...
Apparently the earliest stuff didn't even come in sheets, just tubes and angles. A bunch of guys broke-away to do Formica sheet, later developing the decorative stuff.

For countertop laminate the bulk strength is kraft (brown-bag) paper in phenolic resin. Ugly brown. The real advance was melamine resin and a tissue top-sheet. Of course the "woodgrain" etc is a print, like Hot-Rod or PlayBoy magazine done big. (The big players are, like books, moving to Print On Demand, so they can sell less-popular designs without being buried in idle printing plates and unsold paper/laminate.) So melamined tissue and magazine print over layers of phenolic-soaked kraft. I dunno if Arborite clings to the lignin process; it save a step over converting pulp to kraft.... I think not.

Anyway- several days of snorting MDF dust and laminate crumbs later--- done and looks good.
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Old 4th July 2018, 02:20 AM   #29
ol mcdonald is offline ol mcdonald
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The paper will stick...Murphy will come to visit sure as hell. There will be a spot...or two and at the least opportune moment you are holding laminate up with one hand and picking paper from glue with the other. Eliminate that risk entirely by using PVC pipe as a separator, position the material and remove tubing. I start at one end. A J roller (no, not that kind) is used to apply pressure uniformly by rolling over entire area in a crosshatch pattern to compete the bond (careful not to roll past edges, laminate will crack).
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Old 4th July 2018, 04:12 AM   #30
chrisb is offline chrisb
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PRR - thanks for saving me from posting the history lesson - you’ve pretty much covered the basics. It’s probably safe to say that until very recently - say 10 years or so, there wasn’t a whole helluva lot technically different among the numerous USA and European brands of High Pressure plastic laminates, but there has been a lot of new processes and even material compositions developed in that approximate recent decade or so. For example Colo(u)r -Core / ThruColo(u)r materials with no phenolic saturated kraft paper backing - more expensive and even more fragile than the phenolic backed products, new “Nano” surfaces that claim far more wear resistance and “ healing” properties, and some pretty damned gorgeous highly embossed woodgrain or simulated stone textures.
Architects and designers who can gleefully ignore minimum quantity order requirements to ensure die lot consistency on high density/primary colours, or the practical matters of available sheet sizes and fabricating with the highly textured products absolutely love these new offerings. Actually building with them is a whole ‘nother story. If I cared enough about who might be offended, I’d avoid saying it, but since I don’t, and have over 25 yrs experience in the trade upon which to base it - I’d suggest that a prerequisite for designers and architects should be a minimum of one year apprenticing on the shop floor building - and in the field installing - before receiving accreditation to draw anything - it’s a whole truck of a lot easier to make a pretty picture on paper than to make it real and installable.
Sorry, did that last part sound peevish?

edit - ol mcdonald couldn’t be more right - we happen to use 1/2” doweling or rips of 1/4” MDF for those separators - and only laid down after the sprayed on contact cement has tack dried for between 10-15 minutes (depending on ambient temp). We use WA 950 red contact cement as it’s far easier to see if you’ve got adequate coverage on both surfaces, and easier to see the inevitable overspray that’ll need to be cleaned up. Don’t use lacquer thinners for that, but a purpose designed contact cement cleaner such as WilsonArt121.
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Last edited by chrisb; 4th July 2018 at 04:24 AM.
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