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I’m renovating my existing countertops which are 50+ year old, standard square faced Formica tops, I’m planning to use a faux refinishing kit directly on the Formica, but I hate the current squared off front edge. Is there any way to use my router to round off or relieve that hard corner front edge? I’m tempted to attempt a complete rip out of the original Formica and just work with the original wood but I’m not sure what is the best way to get the desired result. I just know that I want to relieve that for t edge somehow. Thanks for any advice!
 

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Hi Ron, welcome to the forum !!
if you can, photos will get you the most accurate responses.
 

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Welcome to the forum. @Ronnie Ivy

I have seen counter tops with a round over cutter taking the Formica back about 1/8".....
 

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I’m renovating my existing countertops which are 50+ year old, standard square faced Formica tops, I’m planning to use a faux refinishing kit directly on the Formica, but I hate the current squared off front edge. Is there any way to use my router to round off or relieve that hard corner front edge? I’m tempted to attempt a complete rip out of the original Formica and just work with the original wood but I’m not sure what is the best way to get the desired result. I just know that I want to relieve that for t edge somehow. Thanks for any advice!
Get a small board and with a compass draw a curve on one corner then cut along the line with a jig saw and sand smooth. This "jig" is clamped beneath the edge of the bench top and with a straight bearing bit rout the corner. As for changing the Laminex, rough sand the existing Laminex, clean all dust then treat both surfaces with contact adhesive.
The second shot shows how to place the Laminex in the exact position, the dowels are removed one at a time whilst pressing the Laminex.
 

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You should be able to route the top edge with no problem to whatever profile you wish. I just built a set of kitchen counters and routed a bevel on the top edge, but I could have routed any shape I wanted.
 

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I’m renovating my existing countertops which are 50+ year old, standard square faced Formica tops, I’m planning to use a faux refinishing kit directly on the Formica, but I hate the current squared off front edge. Is there any way to use my router to round off or relieve that hard corner front edge? I’m tempted to attempt a complete rip out of the original Formica and just work with the original wood but I’m not sure what is the best way to get the desired result. I just know that I want to relieve that for t edge somehow. Thanks for any advice!
You are on a very slippery slope once you start routing the edge of a "Formica" counter top. The laminate is very thin and the substrate could be MDF, plywood, or even regular boards. If you round over the edge anymore than 1/8" you will likely expose the substrate and may find the edges are not well attached after that many years. Also the laminate tends to get brittle after that many years and may chip or crack which is very hard to fix/hide. The counter tops with the larger radius are called "post formed" which is a factory process involving heat and vacuum and cannot be replicated without special tooling.
I would suggest taking off any truly sharp edges with sandpaper and then refinish the countertops with your refinishing kit.
 

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Welcome to the forum Ronnie.
 

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You should be able to route the top edge with no problem to whatever profile you wish. I just built a set of kitchen counters and routed a bevel on the top edge, but I could have routed any shape I wanted.
When routing the corner, it doesn't matter if there is chip-out because the edge will have a strip of the new Laminex glued on and leveled with the top with a rasp, the top sheet is then glued in position with a slight overhang which is cleaned-up with the setup as shown which leaves a slight bevel. Most if not all routers come with the edge guide.
 

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I’m renovating my existing countertops which are 50+ year old, standard square faced Formica tops, I’m planning to use a faux refinishing kit directly on the Formica, but I hate the current squared off front edge. Is there any way to use my router to round off or relieve that hard corner front edge? I’m tempted to attempt a complete rip out of the original Formica and just work with the original wood but I’m not sure what is the best way to get the desired result. I just know that I want to relieve that for t edge somehow. Thanks for any advice!
I have been building countertops for 30+ years. If you are going to refinish the laminate with a liquid refinish kit, you can round over the edge. I would suggest no more than 1/4" roundover radius. That would keep you from hitting any fasteners. You would have to use a newish good quality bit and it would not chip the existing laminate. The only problem you might encounter is loose laminate. If that occurs, just reattach it with contact cement or epoxy.
Hope this helps
 

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I’m renovating my existing countertops which are 50+ year old, standard square faced Formica tops, I’m planning to use a faux refinishing kit directly on the Formica, but I hate the current squared off front edge. Is there any way to use my router to round off or relieve that hard corner front edge? I’m tempted to attempt a complete rip out of the original Formica and just work with the original wood but I’m not sure what is the best way to get the desired result. I just know that I want to relieve that for t edge somehow. Thanks for any advice!
I used one of the faux refinishing kits on a Formica bathroom vanity. It looked nice for about a year, and then started wearing through. Next time, if I were keeping the top, I would just stand it well with 80 grit and apply another sheet of Formica. You can soften the sharp corners with a file quite easily. If you have to have a rounded over edge, cut a small rabbet into the edge and glue in a strip of hardwood. Or add a strip of hardwood to cover the entire edge. Use a flush trimming bit to make it flush with the Formica, and then a roundover bit to get a rounded edge.
 

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I have been building countertops for 30+ years. If you are going to refinish the laminate with a liquid refinish kit, you can round over the edge. I would suggest no more than 1/4" roundover radius. That would keep you from hitting any fasteners. You would have to use a newish good quality bit and it would not chip the existing laminate. The only problem you might encounter is loose laminate. If that occurs, just reattach it with contact cement or epoxy.
Hope this helps
Would't there be a risk of breaking the new laminate strip with such a sharp radius? In the past I've used more like a 2.5" radius
 

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Would't there be a risk of breaking the new laminate strip with such a sharp radius? In the past I've used more like a 2.5" radius
He is using a coating to refinish his tops, not laminate. If he were using laminate it would be too small without using a post form press.
 

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He is using a coating to refinish his tops, not laminate. If he were using laminate it would be too small without using a post form press.
He did in fact consider changing the laminate, and because over the years I've done that the way that I described I made the posts that I did to show him how easy it was to put new laminate over the top of the old. I used my table saw to cut the laminate with no chip out and slightly larger than required then trimmed.

" I’m tempted to attempt a complete rip out of the original Formica"
 

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My first post disappeared. I agree with Harry. I've seen laminate patch and it is ugly. I'd be inclined to fill in and or sand down irregularities nice and flat, then apply new laminate. If it was just too ugly, I'd use ply to make a new base for the top, then apply the laminate. I'd then apply an edge treatment as Rebel suggested. I would not put laminate on the edge. It is just too ugly to suit me, but to each his own. Definitely use an edge trimmer to reduce the chance of edge chipout.
 

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My first post disappeared. I agree with Harry. I've seen laminate patch and it is ugly. I'd be inclined to fill in and or sand down irregularities nice and flat, then apply new laminate. If it was just too ugly, I'd use ply to make a new base for the top, then apply the laminate. I'd then apply an edge treatment as Rebel suggested. I would not put laminate on the edge. It is just too ugly to suit me, but to each his own. Definitely use an edge trimmer to reduce the chance of edge chipout.
Another method that I've used is to remove the old laminate using a hot air gun, heat the whole area then extra heat at the edge and using a paint scraper lift the edge and and work along the top putting dowels underneath as you go along to prevent the laminate from re-sticking. I was surprised at how easy it was.
 

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I would’ve gotten rid of the Formica altogether and replace it with either a butcher block or an epoxy countertop (which os exactly what I’m going to do in my kitchen as well, once I’m done with more pressing matters). Trying to pretty up a Formica countertop is like putting lipstick on a pig.


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I've got laminate counter tops. This is the second time. I simple upgraded the second set of tops. Upgraded the tops, upgraded the trim, upgraded with tile.

There is a lot you can upgrade without a major change.

To remove laminate from a PB countertop top core we use lacquer thinner... Put LT in a glue bottle or similiar and squirting between....
 
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