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Old 29th November 2010, 06:12 AM   #31
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbro View Post
Thanks for the heads-up guys.

Unfortunately I don't have the time or equipment to do a piano grade lacquer finish. In terms of tricky, are you referring to handling, application, and "not scratching it" factor, or is there some inherent quality that makes it difficult to work worth (ie. something similar to hard woods woods being difficult due to fluctuations in moisture). I considered that the surfaces should be nearly perfectly flat to avoid funhouse style reflections, but other than that, I can't see it being too much trouble.

With regards to keeping it clean, that's a price I'm willing to pay. I have other furniture topped with black glass, and although I have to give it a wipe down every couple days, it's totally worth the look for me.
keeping it clean is actually the easy part - getting a flawless application is the trick

I'm not trying to discourage you, but if you've never worked with it previously, be aware that:

Gloss black laminate will telegraph (if not amplify) any imperfection in either the substrate / carcase ( i.e. your MDF box), or in uneven pattern of the applied adhesive . This will generally be a contact cement, but of course cold press or vacuum bagging with white glue works also, however is a lot more work and requires even more time/special equipment, and doesn't eliminate the following risks.

You'll likely be rough trimming with flush bit on laminate trim router ( the bearings of which can easily score the gloss finish) While you can reduce the chances of that by applying masking tape to the bearing contact path, that will result in an even larger overhang margin that is generally taken care of by hand with a fine single-cut file while softening the edge for safe handling (exposed edges of plastic laminate can be as sharp as your Olfa box cutter). This is where the real risk of scratching the gloss finish occurs.

Buy extra material and practice on test boxes 'til you think you've got it aced, 'cause otherwise you'll need to strip the damaged laminate off and start all over.

BTDT

Personally, I'd rather spend a little extra time applying veneer - it needs to be sanded in prep for the finishing process, and I simply prefer the look of wood to plastic or paint.
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Old 29th November 2010, 11:46 PM   #32
cbro is offline cbro  Canada
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Hamilton, ON
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
keeping it clean is actually the easy part - getting a flawless application is the trick

I'm not trying to discourage you, but if you've never worked with it previously, be aware that:

Gloss black laminate will telegraph (if not amplify) any imperfection in either the substrate / carcase ( i.e. your MDF box), or in uneven pattern of the applied adhesive . This will generally be a contact cement, but of course cold press or vacuum bagging with white glue works also, however is a lot more work and requires even more time/special equipment, and doesn't eliminate the following risks.

You'll likely be rough trimming with flush bit on laminate trim router ( the bearings of which can easily score the gloss finish) While you can reduce the chances of that by applying masking tape to the bearing contact path, that will result in an even larger overhang margin that is generally taken care of by hand with a fine single-cut file while softening the edge for safe handling (exposed edges of plastic laminate can be as sharp as your Olfa box cutter). This is where the real risk of scratching the gloss finish occurs.

Buy extra material and practice on test boxes 'til you think you've got it aced, 'cause otherwise you'll need to strip the damaged laminate off and start all over.

BTDT

Personally, I'd rather spend a little extra time applying veneer - it needs to be sanded in prep for the finishing process, and I simply prefer the look of wood to plastic or paint.
Thanks for the excellent info. Exactly the kind of specific details I was looking for.

I've always used contact cement and a rubber roller for my veneer projects. The one time I tried to be adventurous with wood glue, my veneer started peeling/bubbling after a year or two. Never again.

With regards to the edges, my original plan - for a more forgiving application and now it seems for safety - was to put something like a 1/16" chamfer on all the edges. My hope is that will reduce or eliminate the non-bearing trimming scratches. Some relatives have a very similar design on their entertainment center, and the results are visually pleasing as well as functional. I realize the edges will be bare, so it would take some scrap experimentation with sealing/painting the open edges to see if the result is acceptable.

In the absolute worst case I can settle for gloss on the fronts with a dark stain/veneer on the sides and back.

Nonetheless, I thank you for the input. I'd only consider your comments discouraging if I wasn't outright asking for the pitfalls and perils associated with gloss finishing... and even then, though discouraging, they'd surely save me some time and money.
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Old 1st January 2011, 05:25 PM   #33
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So how did it all turn out and what finish did you decide to do? How have the speakers been doing with more burn in time? I'm considering doing the exact same setup as yours for my L/C/R ...
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