Issues with laminate - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 11-26-2011, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Issues with laminate

Hi, I'm laying laminate for the first time and I'm having trouble.

I'm trying to apply laminate to a 4x8' sheet of cheap plywood. We dusted off each surface, spread out a quart of contact cement total, and waited 20 min. The cement felt just slightly tacky, just enough to even notice, so we lined up the sheets, pulled out the dowels, went over it all with a rolling pin, and waited an hour. We discovered the corners peeled up afterwards, so we pulled it apart, put on another quart of cement, waited an hour, and did the whole thing again. Which seemed to work fine. The next day we leaned the board up against the wall to make some space, and 6 hours later I discovered I could lift up the corners again. For what it's worth, the work was done in the garage at night, and it has been chilly lately. Anyway, I was hoping to get some suggestions for smarter ways to do things.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 17 Old 11-26-2011, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wimbley View Post
Hi, I'm laying laminate for the first time and I'm having trouble.

I'm trying to apply laminate to a 4x8' sheet of cheap plywood. We dusted off each surface, spread out a quart of contact cement total, and waited 20 min. The cement felt just slightly tacky, just enough to even notice, so we lined up the sheets, pulled out the dowels, went over it all with a rolling pin, and waited an hour. We discovered the corners peeled up afterwards, so we pulled it apart, put on another quart of cement, waited an hour, and did the whole thing again. Which seemed to work fine. The next day we leaned the board up against the wall to make some space, and 6 hours later I discovered I could lift up the corners again. For what it's worth, the work was done in the garage at night, and it has been chilly lately. Anyway, I was hoping to get some suggestions for smarter ways to do things.

Thanks.



Is the cement solvent base or water base? Did you apply a thin coating on both the plywood and the back of the laminate? Did you give it at least 20-30 minutes to flash dry (for solvent base), longer for water base.

If the ambient temperature is below 65 degrees, including the parts and the cement, the parts won't stick.









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post #3 of 17 Old 11-26-2011, 08:18 PM
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I've never has any luck with the green can (water base) contact cement. The comment "so we pulled it apart" tells me that you waited too long on the water base stuff. When contact cement works, nothing will "Pull Apart".

I had a similar problem and DAP told me to just go over the WB with solvent base and there shouldn't be a problem. They said that if you wait too long between coats the non adhering problem exists.

My suggestion is to get the red can (solvent based) and rub off all of the water based stuff. I used a wire brush to remove the old and dried glue. I only had 4 square feet to remove but it was a lesson well learned. Since then I only use the solvent based contact cement.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-26-2011, 09:47 PM
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Apply two coats to both the back of the laminate and the substrate. Paint rollers work well for even distribution and control of the glue. Cheap plywood may come back to haunt you, it will curl up with LP on one face only. Timing on contact cement is a matter of feel, not necessarily time. Do the finger tack test by touching a finger and seeing if the glue sticks to your finger and pulls up in strings. As soon as you don't get strings, it's time. If you wait too long on either solvent or WB contact it won't work. Contact adhesive works by pressure. A rolling pin isn't going to do it, you need a smaller contact area to exert the proper pressure. Use a smaller J roller and press hard. Don't have the LP overhang the substrate by much more than 1/4". When you are rolling you may run off the edge and break off a larger overhang. Less is better for trimming later, too. Give it another roll down after trimming. If you have it right, you aren't going to pull it up.
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post #5 of 17 Old 11-27-2011, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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We used solvent based cement. It was definitely dry enough not to pull up in strings, so it sounds like we may have waited too long. I'll try again as soon as it warms up, and pick up a J roller before I do.
Thanks for all the help.
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-27-2011, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wimbley View Post
We used solvent based cement. It was definitely dry enough not to pull up in strings, so it sounds like we may have waited too long. I'll try again as soon as it warms up, and pick up a J roller before I do.
Thanks for all the help.
Your non sticking problem is most likely due to it being too cold. Solvent based glue will work on contact with a long wait time. I've forgotten about parts on occasion, and a few hours went by and they stick. The warmer the ambient temperature, which includes the parts and the glue has a lot to do with flash dry times.

Some plywoods may need two applications, depending on how you apply. The back of the laminate doesn't need more than one. Ideally you want the glue thickness totally as thin as possible as it will provide a "closer" contact.

For pressing down, "J" rollers work good, and so does the corner of a section of wood (the 90 degree edge). It provides a small defined line of pressure. Or, just lay it flat and pound down the laminate with a hammer on a flat piece of 3/4" plywood. Use a piece large enough so you don't smack your hand. An elongated rectangle works good, as it gives you a place for your hand, and a place to pound. Just make sure you hit the plywood every time.

Paint rollers will work, but even the thin nap ones can be a problem. They can stick to the glue and create heavy areas and thin areas. Some short nap roller covers work better than others. Some rollers will separate due to the solvent in the glue. If you use a roller, buy the roller covers that are listed for "adhesives". The home centers carry them.

Other than using a brush, roller, or spreader, a spray gun and cup can be used to apply contact cement. You can use a cheap $20 siphon gun. The brush grade contact cement is similar to spray grade, except a bit thicker, and has a retarder in it. If you can only get brush grade cement, thin very slightly with lacquer thinner. When spraying, you don't want to atomize the mix. Spray it so there is a very fine spitting. The down side is cleaning the gun, but lacquer thinner does a pretty good job with that.

You'll need to have drop cloths, as the spray will get around. Spraying is the smoothest way to get coverage. It's the best way, IMO, to apply gloss laminates to eliminate any bumpy appearance.






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Last edited by cabinetman; 11-27-2011 at 06:16 AM.
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-27-2011, 07:07 AM
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I'm making another post instead of adding more editing to the last one. At times its difficult to know the exact additions if it was read before the edit.

When laminating sheets, before gluing up, check both the back of the laminate (and edges) and the substrate (whatever it is...plywood, etc.), for any debris. Before laying it up, check both areas again for anything that could have landed on the glued surface.

I like to use 1/2" wood dowels. They are pretty cheap at the home centers, and come in 4' lengths. Lay the dowels on the substrate 8-10" apart. If they are too far apart, the laminate can "belly" down and make contact. You don't want that. The dowels should be able to side OK on the glued surface...which is another indicator that the glue has flashed and ready to do its thing.

When you go to remove the dowels, start in the middle of the sheet, try sliding the dowel out without having it get "grabby", which could create the glue to stick up. Slide it out slowly. Press the center of the sheet down. This pretty much will position the sheet to keep it moving when removing the rest of the dowels.

Work your way out to the edges by sliding out the dowels one at a time and pressing out to the edges. This helps in getting the air out. If it's possible to get the dowels out without sliding, that would minimize the possibility of the dowel creating a rough area. You may have to lift the sheet a bit to remove the other dowels one at a time. If you don't feel secure with that, just slide them out.

Likewise, when rolling or pounding down the laminate, work from the center out. You should have some overhang on all the edges. Before trimming with a bit with a bearing, check the edges for glue globs, or any debris that could cause the bearing to "bounce".

Also check the edges (especially with plywood), for any voids or dips, that could affect the bearing to ride smoothly. This matters if you have some type of edging that you want the top laminate to follow a smooth line.








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post #8 of 17 Old 11-27-2011, 11:29 AM
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I've had problems before with laminate not sticking because of cold temperature. I used a heat gun to warm up the surface. This helped the contact cement make a permanent bond without having to pull it apart & start over.

James
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-09-2011, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Well I tried going over it with a heat gun. But it still wasn't a permanent bond. I have higher grade wood and a smaller roller, but weather isn't exactly getting warmer. I'd like to finish this job and send it out soon, are there any other adhesives that can work? What does one usually do in the winter? I'm scratching my head for options right now.
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-09-2011, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wimbley View Post
Well I tried going over it with a heat gun. But it still wasn't a permanent bond. I have higher grade wood and a smaller roller, but weather isn't exactly getting warmer. I'd like to finish this job and send it out soon, are there any other adhesives that can work? What does one usually do in the winter? I'm scratching my head for options right now.
"Going over it with a heat gun" won't do it. Usually the product recommendations are not to apply below 65 degrees. Ambient temperature, the substrate, laminate, and glue should be temperature maintained for 24 hours before application.

In the winter time, I have to laminate in the spray booth that's been heated, and the glue supply in 55 gallon drums, or 5 gallon pails have to be heated with belt heaters. There's no other way or other adhesive that I know of to laminate in cold weather.








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post #11 of 17 Old 12-09-2011, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Alright. That sounds like the only option; I'll start hunting for spray booths. Thanks.
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post #12 of 17 Old 12-09-2011, 04:59 PM
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Alright. That sounds like the only option; I'll start hunting for spray booths. Thanks.
You don't really need a spray booth, just an area that you can heat, and is ventilated. Solvent base contact cement emits noxious fumes.








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post #13 of 17 Old 12-09-2011, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Ventilation I can handle. What kind of heat source is safe to use around combustible fumes?
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post #14 of 17 Old 12-09-2011, 05:28 PM
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Ventilation I can handle. What kind of heat source is safe to use around combustible fumes?
I've always just used electric. Nothing with a flame. The ventilation part of the area should minimize the potential for combustion in the area.








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post #15 of 17 Old 12-09-2011, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Alright. Thanks for all the advice. I'll give it a shot.
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post #16 of 17 Old 01-23-2012, 07:54 AM
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ever heard of AralDite?
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post #17 of 17 Old 01-26-2012, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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I have not. Has it worked on large laminate jobs before?
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