Applying wood edges to lam tops
Best methods for applying wood edges to laminate countertops. June 24, 2001
What is the best technique to use when applying wood edges to laminate countertops?
The best technique I have found is to oversize your top (about 1/4"), then deck it, quickly trim the laminate, put a 2" piece of masking tape around the border where you are to apply your wood edge, then cut top to size. Now you have a nice clean taped edge. Biscuit your edge on, leaving it flush to the tape. When it's dry, you can sand and stain right on top of the tape without hitting the laminate. This will leave your edge up just a hair, but with practice you can sand or scrape so that it is so minimal you can't even tell.
This technique may not be what you're after, but it is a simple and effective way of combining wood with plastic laminate. First, we edge our substrate with a 3/4" x 3/4" (maybe slightly bigger) piece of wood. Then we apply our build-up strips, usually about 2"-3" wide, flush with front of wood edge. Then the whole countertop is laminated, top and front edge and ends if applicable. Once the countertop is laminated, it will appear as though it is a simple square-edged counter. Then we take a chamfer bit, set to the width of chamfer we like, and rout the corner to expose the wood under the laminate. A few coats of stain and polyurethane and we're done.
The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).
Comment from contributor A:
First we build up the countertop to the same thickness as a normal top (1 1/2"). Then we add the 3/4" x 1 1/2" wood edge (your choice), via plastic resin glue (waterproof glue). After that, we apply the top laminate color, rout to the edge with a square bit. Finally, on the exposed edges, we take a simple step-round bit (either 3/8" or 1/4"), set the bit to where it will leave an upper step-down of about a 1/16" or so and the final round-over of the chosen radius (aforementioned). Try it, it really looks good and lasts for years. Polyurethane or a conversion varnish is recommended for sealing.
Comment from contributor M:
I pocket the edge of the top where it is getting a wood edge, then I screw a piece of 3/4 x 11/2 wood to the edges to be finished. Next, I laminate the top surface and flush trim. After that, I apply the buildup and then rout the trimmed finished edges with my choice of profile as long as where it cuts the laminate, it is 90 degrees, so the phonelic back is kept as small as possible.