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Woodworking Project: Laminate A Multi-Function Work Table

I love laminate. It’s a low cost and extremely durable choice for work surfaces in woodworking shops. Once you learn a few basic techniques with regard to how to size, glue and trim laminate, most woodworkers will find many practical uses for it.

Plastic laminate is the ideal surface for table saw extensions as well as shop made router table tops. The low friction surface works great for in/out feed tables because work pieces slide easily with minimal resistance.

The low price per square foot of Wilsonart laminate or Formica laminate makes it an affordable option that is impossible to beat. And when you pair all of the features above with the fact it’s easy to work using basic tools, woodworkers of any skill level will enjoy working with and using laminate in the workshop. In one short video I show how to cut laminate using a wide variety of tools.

Mobile laminated shop made festool mft for vacuum station.

While I love the bright colors of Wilsonart laminate, I prefer white or lighter colors for my shop because you can sketch and make quick calculations in pencil that are easily erased. You can wipe away pencil marks and even use a razor blade to scrape off glue, finish, paint etc…

Easy to clean and great for calculations.

The Ultimate Multi-Function Work Table

I am a big fan of the Festool system of woodworking tools. When I bought the Festool MFT (multi-function table) and TS55 EQ saw to quickly and accurately cut panels, I really did not grasp the power of the perforated top until I bought the horizontal clamping fixtures (488030) to hold panels in place while cutting. The Festool multi-function table is the ideal tool to dedicate to panel sawing, but I find it much too fragile and small to act as my day in, day out work table. I need a table in my shop that is stout and strong.

I took a 60″ x 60″ sheet of 3/4″ (18mm) Baltic birch plywood, drilled a perforated 20mm hole pattern, and set it on super stout saw horses with lateral steel connectors and voila, my quest for the perfect shop table was realized. I made my own version of the Festool MFT

And after I adhered a piece of Wilsonart laminate to it I knew I had the ultimate low cost versatile woodworking work table.

My table takes a beating 8 days a week and is not anywhere close to needing replacement. And another great feature of laminated top, when you’re ready for a fresh surface, all you have to do is lay the new laminate directly over the old and retrim.

In the videos below I laminate the top of the Mobile Vacuum Work Station that houses my Festool vacuum. In this short series I cut laminate using many different tools. I also show how to apply the contact cement, roll out, file the edges and trim the laminate to the pre-dilled holes in order to make your own laminate Festool mft work table. My first Festool MFT 3 revolutionized my shop, and now I have fabricated all the table tops in my shop to be multi-function styled. Thank you Festool!

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3 Responses to Woodworking Project: Laminate A Multi-Function Work Table

  1. Denis Rosembert October 16, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    Could you help. I have some tables that I want to laminate, the tables are restaurant tables, the laminate must be heat resistant, can you help?

  2. AskWoodMan October 17, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Hi Denis, Laminate is really tough and is generally ok to put hot things on. I am from Texas and about an hour north of Austin is Temple Texas the home of Wilsonart. They have 50% of the world laminate market. I am not a material engineer, but I know for a fact that Wilsonart has data on every aspect of their products. Check their website and create a contact with a product specialist. I went on a tour of their sprawling factory and the people could not have been nicer and more open, and I am just a small shop but they treated me like I was their most important customer. They have a specially department where any hi res jpeg can be printed and bonded into the laminate process. The process is just resin impregnated paper heated and pressed until it bonds into sheets. Write me at askwoodman@gmail.com if you want to chat more. Allan

  3. Avinash Lall November 22, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    How can I cut faster round cutting in partical board about 3 ft?

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