Laminate Seaming Router Bit - Router Forums
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
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Default Laminate Seaming Router Bit

I will be making some laminate counter tops and will need to seam some of them. I will be making a laminate seaming jig which uses a bearing guided router bit to do this. I'm wondering if there is any particular bit to use for this process or will any bearing guide bit do it?
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 10:52 AM
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Jim what do you mean by seaming jig?

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Jim what do you mean by seaming jig?
When you make a laminate countertop that cannot be made out of 1 piece of laminate and requires that 1 or more pieces be used to create the top these individual pieces must be cut so that they abut each other with a nice tight joint i.e. seam. There are several techniques that can be used but the bottom line is that the pieces are butted together and cut at the same time to make mirror cut lines on the abutting pieces. After this seam cut is made the pieces can be glued to the substrate and the joint/seam will be supposedly barely noticeable. The seaming jig is used to hold the edges of the 2 pieces tightly together. The jig has a groove directly below the abutted edges. The router rests on the laminate and the bit's bearing rides along an edge of the groove to guide it and ensure that the router runs in a straight line to create mirror edges.
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Last edited by JIMMIEM; 05-21-2016 at 11:28 AM. Reason: add info
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 02:10 PM
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Okay just making sure. Use a straight bit or maybe a down spiral. You also need connectors and you'll have to mill the pockets for them to set in. I like to add boards across under the seam and screw up from both sides to keep the joint flat. Make sure you use something waterproof in the joint. I've seen where water migrated into the joint and swelled up the particle board below.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Okay just making sure. Use a straight bit or maybe a down spiral. You also need connectors and you'll have to mill the pockets for them to set in. I like to add boards across under the seam and screw up from both sides to keep the joint flat. Make sure you use something waterproof in the joint. I've seen where water migrated into the joint and swelled up the particle board below.
I bought a book on making plastic laminate countertops and the author shows and describes the seaming jig he made. I've seen several references to his jig and folks seem to like it. Is your water reference to the jig or the actual countertop? The jig will be made from MDF and I'll make sure it is kept dry. I'll probably use plywood for the counter top substrate.....no water issue and I don't really like working with MDF due to the dust and dulling affect on bits and blades. I had a kitchen dishwasher leak which landed on my MDF router table in the basement below. The router table top was protected by its polyurethane finish. The fence swelled when the water hit it and I had to rebuild it.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 04:33 PM
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The water reference was to the counter top. You could see and feel where it swelled. Be careful using plywood. It isn't necessarily the difference in cost why it isn't used commercially, it's the flatness. Plywood can also swell up when wet and at the edge is the most likely place for it to happen. Also plywood is more likely to warp than mdc or particle board and does so with more force. I've never used ply so maybe there are other members who have who can respond with their experiences.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 05:43 PM
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I have a seaming base for my DeWalt Laminate trimmer. It has a slot in the side for the laminate to be trimmed, and you guide the opposite side of the base against to laminate that you want to join to. A router bit inside the base trims off the correct amount of the laminate in the slot to fit against the already attached laminate, IF the base is adjusted correctly. DeWalt seems to have discontinued their laminate trimmers, as I can't find a listing for them. I don't use my laminate trimmer much, but I don't know what I would do without one. My kit has 4 bases, and is very versatile.

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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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The water reference was to the counter top. You could see and feel where it swelled. Be careful using plywood. It isn't necessarily the difference in cost why it isn't used commercially, it's the flatness. Plywood can also swell up when wet and at the edge is the most likely place for it to happen. Also plywood is more likely to warp than mdc or particle board and does so with more force. I've never used ply so maybe there are other members who have who can respond with their experiences.
I see different opinions on what to use for a substrate. i.e. MDF, Particle Board, Plywood. Decisions, decisions. Also, some say put the seam in the sink area as there is less of a seam.....others say absolutely don't put a seam in the sink area. Lots of different opinions.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 08:01 PM
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I have seen it all these ways and even in the center of the substrate where just the laminate butts. Done that myself many times in long office counter tops. Of course in "U" shaped counter tops the substrate and the laminate are butted together. We didn't have spiral bits in those days, so can't comment in those, but we used 1/2" diam. straight bits. As far as joining laminate at the center of the sink ,that was SOP at one time , but later it was laid all one piece. We didn't have MDF either it was all plywood A-B sanded and later particle board. That was when plywood had no voids, not like the stuff today.

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 09:50 PM
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Jim you can order laminate to 10 feet long for sure and I think maybe 12'. This can eliminate joints in most cases except where you turn 45*. One thing you should not do is try to turn a corner with a solid piece. It will crack across the turn over time. At corners like that you have to make a 45* joint. Although at the centre of the sink may be a logical point to make a join, it is also the wettest place you can make it. When I built my daughter's counter top we researched the difference in cost between using 4 x 8 and 5 x 10 and the square footage costs were close to the same. This gives you more options.
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Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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