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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-16-2014, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Default Router Table Top Glue

Hi all,

I'm new to routers and am going to build a cabinet style router table. For the top I intend to use 2 laminated sheets of 3/4 MDF with laminate on top and bottom and hardwood edge banding. I've been thinking I'd seal the insert plate cutout with paste wax.

My question is in regards to the glue to use.
1) MDF to MDF

I've read conflicting reports of using standard "yellow" wood glue vs. a non water based wood glue (polyurethane?). What are the group's thoughts here. I'm concerned about swelling or deformation of the MDF during glue up.

2) Laminate to MDF

Non water based contact adhesive seems to be the consensus. Any other thoughts?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-16-2014, 10:45 PM
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Hi Matt, welcome to the forum. A lot of people think you need 2 sheets of mdf and laminate both sides. I'm not one of them. Consider that a kitchen counter top is only one layer thick and laminated on one side and they stay flat for decades. It's because they are attached to a good framework.

The swelling you are worried about is on the opposite side from the one you will use. The polyurethane glues is still a good choice. I also like Melamine glue when I'm gluing up mdf or particle board.

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 #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 08:11 AM
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There is a rather large file on this subject and the answers range all over the place but from someone that has built a few - keep it simple.

Coat all surfaces of the MDF with Shellac until it quits soaking it up - removes issue of moisture, swelling buckling, white or yellow glue

let dry and then get a spray can of contact adhesive and spray the mating MDF sides, let dry and carefully mate. Do the same for the top coat (Formica if applicable), aluminum, steel sheet or etc. non-water based, fast dry, no open cans of Toluene and Acetone fumigating the place

make your cuts and when proper coat MDF, including the insert area, with more shellac. Forget about the wax

Do the rest as you require and good luck - Baker

Last edited by rwbaker; 04-17-2014 at 08:15 AM.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 12:12 PM
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On the router table I am building now, I used wood glue for the two layers of MDF and then spray contact adhesive for the Formica. I only put the Formica on the top, and didn't do any treatments with shellac. From my experience on similar past projects, I have not had an issue with movement. I know others who have had issues with movement, so it may have to do with location and placement as well.

However, if I did do anything suc as the shellac coating, I would probably do it after all the glue-ups are complete. Since shellac is a finish that builds it will actually work against your glue, resulting in a bond that is not as strong.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 03:38 PM
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I have to agree with Mike. I have never had a problem with swelling during gluing MDF, with regular wood glue. I use Titebond II almost exclusively. When we glue up 2 or more layers of MDF we use what my son calls "Steve clamps". He calls the cement blocks that Steve Ramsey uses in his videos 'Steve clamps' with a chuckle. Our main work bench is 3 layers of 3/4 MDF and is just as flat today as it was 2 years ago, and that's dead flat.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwbaker View Post
There is a rather large file on this subject and the answers range all over the place but from someone that has built a few - keep it simple.

Coat all surfaces of the MDF with Shellac until it quits soaking it up - removes issue of moisture, swelling buckling, white or yellow glue

let dry and then get a spray can of contact adhesive and spray the mating MDF sides, let dry and carefully mate. Do the same for the top coat (Formica if applicable), aluminum, steel sheet or etc. non-water based, fast dry, no open cans of Toluene and Acetone fumigating the place

make your cuts and when proper coat MDF, including the insert area, with more shellac. Forget about the wax

Do the rest as you require and good luck - Baker

Baker,

Any concern with the glue/contact adhesive not bonding as well due to the shellac? I have no experience with shellac and glue joints.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 05:46 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by NiceG316 View Post
On the router table I am building now, I used wood glue for the two layers of MDF and then spray contact adhesive for the Formica. I only put the Formica on the top, and didn't do any treatments with shellac. From my experience on similar past projects, I have not had an issue with movement. I know others who have had issues with movement, so it may have to do with location and placement as well.

However, if I did do anything suc as the shellac coating, I would probably do it after all the glue-ups are complete. Since shellac is a finish that builds it will actually work against your glue, resulting in a bond that is not as strong.
Mike,

Speaking about location. I'm in a detached garage with winter heating and year round dehumidification in the Great Lakes region of the Midwest. Temperature swings and humidity are a fact of life. Just concerned about these factors. It's not like I'm in a temperature and humidity controlled basement. This is a working albeit heated garage.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry for the third post!

Any thoughts on screws between layers in addition to the glue? Obviously keep them out of the way of any cutouts, slots, and holes but other than that?
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 05:57 PM
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Single layer of MDF slobbered with watco (any kind) and waxed has served me well.
Maybe bracing underneath. MDF is cheap, easily obtained and replaced. No plate. I think Pat Warner is onto something.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2014, 08:02 PM
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My last table was built as a throwaway out of a single layer of 5/8" melamine coated particle board. On top of being that thin I cut dadoes for the t-track for my fence which only left 1/4" of wood in those spots. But I attached it to a sturdy frame with cross members close to the router insert. I attached it with biscuits. After 3 years it is still dead flat even though it stays outside in a shed that goes from +45C in the summer to -45C in the winter. I prefer having an insert plate in the table. Popping the router out of the rabbet and laying it on its side to change bits is WAY easier than trying to reach under the table and hold the lock with one hand and wrenching on the collet nut with the other.

If you want to glue the sheets together that should be good enough. That is a lot of glue surface. I would rough the surfaces up a little with sandpaper first. The easiest way to attach the top to a frame is with cleats, same as a kitchen counter top. I use 3/4" squares in a situation like that with 2 or 3 screws sideways into the frame and 2 or 3 up into the top.

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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