Monday, December 25, 2017

makeshift work space

A longer shot of my counter top in the sewing room. The hole for the sink has been cut out and the new sink is the white thing on the floor. Back in the corner are the Wilsonart boxes the laminate came in. They are almost as tall as I am.

I didn't intend to be working on this project over the winter. I have been researching how-tos and collecting laminate samples for more than a year and planned to start the project next spring. It was hard to find a pattern I liked. I finally settled on a geometric retro pattern called Betty, an off-white ground with patches of aqua and pale orange. When Wilsonart announced they would be discontinuing the pattern December 1 I was forced to take action an buy the laminate in November. I had to special order the long piece for this counter.  I was told I got the last large piece of laminate they had; that it was already out of production.

I knew I wouldn't be able to store the laminate for long. It's not very thick and tends to expand & contract with changes in temperature & humidity. I started building the countertops, so I could get the laminate glued down and not have to worry about it getting bent out of shape. Wilsonart recommends particleboard as the substrate for the counter. I don't like particleboard, but its expansion-contraction rate is more similar to laminate than plywood is, so that's what I used.

I'm sealing the particleboard around the sink area with oil-based fast-drying polyurethane in the hope it will prevent damage in case there is a water leak in the future. All the cabinets in my house were made of particleboard and and the area under my kitchen sink has already been subjected to water over the last 30 years. It's no longer flat and parts of the surface have disintegrated. The same goes for the area under the bathroom sink. I hope to have some polyurethane left over to seal those areas, and then I may try to cover them with leftover laminate. I tested the poly on some scrap particleboard and it does seem to repel water, at least in the short run. I apply it with a foam brush, wait a few hours and apply another coat. The underside is done and I'm working on the top side now. I may be unboxing the laminate in a few days.

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