Radius Corners on HPL Counters

      Applying laminate strip without pull-away problems. May 19, 2004

Question
I'm looking for suggestions on applying the front strip of laminate on the face counter, which has a radiused corner. Radius is roughly 2.75". I usually heat the piece up with an iron, hold it against the radius before gluing, let it cool off, then glue it on. Inevitably, it pulls off somewhat at the ends of the radius, and I end up putting a clamp on it for awhile. There's got to be a better way to do this. I use a template to rout the radius on the substrate.

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surface Forum)
Try belt sanding the back side of the laminate where the round corner will be. That is the way I do it.



I have also done what is recommended above when belt sanding the back of the laminate on tight radiuses, or on 2" or less radiuses use vertical grade laminate if it is available. I have done 2" radiuses with general purpose laminate by belt sanding the back, working the sander 8-12" on each side of where it hits the radius, and also using a heat gun on low heat to get a tight bend. It also helps to sand or file the edges of the piece you will be bending with a slight radius on each edge so it doesn't start to crack or craze when bending the tight radius. Make sure you get a good double coat of glue on the edges also. I have done many 3" radiuses with the heat gun only, heating the laminate while it is partially applied, then pulling it tight around the radius. You need to keep rolling over it with a J-roller until it cools down some. I also template route the radius on the countertops as you indicated.


All of our tops have a 1 1/2" or 2" radius at the outside corners. We spray both pieces and apply the longest part first. Next we form the laminate around the corner with an electric iron. Start with the iron just slightly past parallel with the stuck edge, and the loose strip making full contact with the bottom of the iron to preheat it. Slowly force the p-lam around the corner, applying tension on the loose end.

It is important to note that different brands of laminate require more or less time to form. Try practicing with an "air" bend to get the time down. Some brands will pop or blister on the surface if heated too long.



I have found that sanding the back of lam to form a tight radius is only needed for <1" radii. Try this - glue both pieces as usual and apply your strip to the longest edge first, then roll. At the bend, file the top and bottom edges of the strip perpendicular to the face for an inch or two on both sides of the radius. This will get rid of the micro-fractures (caused by sawing or slitting the lam).Use a heat gun on the inside of the strip at the radius for a few seconds, then transfer the heat to the outside. While heating, bend the lam around the corner - you can feel when you have enough pliancy. The critical part of this process is the filing, which only takes 5 or 6 seconds per edge. I recently used this method to form 180 1" bends with only two cracked edges - the ones I forgot to file. This filing method is used before bending sheet metal. One more tip - make sure your routing template produces a radius with no bump. If it does, rework the jig to make a smooth radius.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Laminates & Solid Surfacing: Fabrication Techniques

  • KnowledgeBase: Laminates & Solid Surfacing: Equipment

  • KnowledgeBase: Woodworking Miscellaneous

  • KnowledgeBase: Woodworking Miscellaneous: Woodworking


    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2017 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article