Wood Edge on Laminate Countertops

Advice on how to fabricate a laminate countertop with a flush wood edge. July 3, 2008

We are about to make several table tops for a restaurant that require a 1 1/2" solid wood edge flush to the laminate top. What is the best way to get the wood edge perfectly flat with the laminate? Laminating over the wood edge after gluing it to the substrate and routing the profile into the laminate and the wood edge is not an option. Thanks for any pointers!

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor W:
Get a "lipping planer" (Betterly, Hoffman, and Veritas all make one - it's a router with an adjustable base in and out). Glue your hardwood edge slightly proud of the laminate, especially for longer tops because it becomes harder to keep your hardwood aligned.

After glue, set the guide bearing (I'm familiar with the Betterly planer) to the front edge (in and out) so that the router bit is just a hair in front of the laminate and adjust your height (up and down) so it would be flush with the lam except for the sliver that will remain. After routing you should be able to knock off this sliver with your fingers or a sharp chisel/scraper. If you back route and keep your stock removal to a minimum (depending on your wood species) this will leave a pretty smooth edge with minimal sanding.

From contributor R:
Wilsonart sells wood edge mouldings with a tongue. Set the groove to the correct height and go.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the great info! You guys also anticipated my next question. Is a pre-cat lacquer suitable for this type of use? By the way I have no choice in the use of wood on the edge. This is a chain store and they dictate what they want.

From contributor H:
Do it the right way and make the moulding yourself. You only get what you order, and we all know moulding from most of these companies looks worse than the walls we template to.

Get a 3/4x (however much you need) and rip your peices to 1 5/8. If you have a sanding disc that replaces your saw blade on your table saw use it. You can directly glue these pieces to the pre laminated substrate with strapping tape (and clamps if needed). I do it this way because I can select the straightest pieces to fill any gap and stain and poly to perfection.

From contributor J:
I usually slot both the substrate and the moulding (we mill our own) and then use a spline, usually scrap ply wood.

But you should try and talk this customer into laminate over wood. I use the same technique, but belt sand the applied wood edge, then lay the laminate. Just tell the customer that you refuse to warranty that type of wood edge since anything spilled on it will eventually find its way into the joint.