Route through laiminate, or lamininate after routing? - Router Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-11-2009, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Default Route through laiminate, or lamininate after routing?

I'm building a workbench top, comprised of two sheets of 3/4" MDF (total 1-1/2" thick). I'll mount recessed T-track into the top, and *also* around the edges of the workbench top (on all four sides). The T-track on the top will also have more than one "+" T-track junctions.

I *was* going to just cover the top with replaceable hardboard, but picked up formica laminate on sale. So, I'm now planning on laminating the whole top and around the four sides (probably not the bottom 3" overhang, right?)

Should I route for the T-track *before* I laminate, or after? Should I pay attention to the selection of router bit to cut/trim/route the laminate?

I have a router table and fixed-base hand router. I thought about purchasing the Bosch or MLCS laminate trimmer (palm router), but at present, I'll probably try to just make do with the big fixed-base router.

I'm guessing I should laminate first, then route for the recessed T-track? If I used the (replaceable) hardboard, I'd do the same, right?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-11-2009, 01:12 PM
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Laminating and then routing is probably going to be the easiest.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-11-2009, 01:16 PM
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Hi CharleyB
You were smart enough to ask the question!
I never thought of doing the laminating before routing, but I have to confess Doug has a point!
I actually routed the T track and mitre channels and fitted the track before laminating (mistake no 1).
The main mistake I made though, was to trim the laminate before the contact adhesive I used was completely dry.
As a result my router bit and guide bearing got covered in stringy half dry glue! Doh! (Luckily I had a replacement bearing handy).

All the best,
Henry

Last edited by HDS; 08-11-2009 at 01:26 PM. Reason: Added content
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-11-2009, 01:42 PM
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Hi CharlieB.
I'd definitely laminate first. Getting the depth of cut right so the t-tracks sit flush could be a problem. Route before and you are faced with hitting the cutout exactly, although I suppose you could use a flush trim bit for most of that but once you laminate the edges you are still faced with getting stuff aligned in a situation where you can't really see your target.
You are glueing the MDF layers together?
You don't wan't screw or nailheads anywhere near your router track. I built my bench from a layer of 7/16" and a layer of 3/4" OSB with a 1/4" hardboard top and carefully spaced the screws on the 7/16" first layer. I then glued the second layer and the 1/4" masonite top.
I am not planning any tracks on it now, but if I want to, I know I can go as much as 5/8" without a problem if I should want to.

John Schaben

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-11-2009, 02:13 PM
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Laminate first, and when you cut the dados make the first pass VERY light to score the laminate. Then go full depth.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-11-2009, 02:46 PM
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FWIW, I recently recently built mine and laminated it first. It worked great! I made a very shallow (~3/16") first pass then worked my way through the surface in about 6 or 8 passes, the last couple also being very shallow. I probably could have used less passes but it was my first deep cut, so I was cautious. It didn't burn the bit or wood though. The result was very nice.

A bit of mineral spirits to clean off a bit of contact adhesive from the bit and it looked like new.

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