Step 1: Supplies, Tools, and Protective Equipment
Router and bit to trim the edges (I used my Bosch but it was a little oversized for this job.)
Circular saw with 40-80 teeth or greater
hand file approx. #40
paint brush (to spread the adhesive)
J-roller (or similar roller for pressing down hard on flat surfaces)
Pencil Compass (for curve drawing)
Straight edge/ yard stick
Compass (geometric drawing style)
Material and Consumables:
Contact Cement/Structural Adhesive (coat parts to be glued together; let it dry to touch; press together; Roller press down hard)
Foam board approx 1/2" thick (sacrificial surface for cutting the laminate with a circular saw)
Particleboard, composite wood-board or plywood
Dowels, longer than your counter is wide. I used bamboo from our gardening supplies
Sanding block or paper
Drop Cloth (Glue spills are not fun to clean off floors)
Masking Tape (great for clean caulk lines, protecting edges, stopping splintering, ball for your cat to bat around, multiple uses)
Personal Protective Equipment:
dust mask (for sanding and minor adhesive fumes)
Step 2: Cutting the Rounded Corners
If your laminate feels like it may break when you try to bend it to the curve you can: (a) heat the laminate from the backside using a heatgun or hairdryer. (b) sand the backside of the laminate SLOWLY reducing the thickness enough to to flex to the curve without breaking.
Step 3: Sides First
Adhesive is applied thin and evenly to both the Formica/laminate and the vertical sides of the counter, wait about 15- 20 minutes (in a 75 degree room) or dry to touch. Use a piece of wax paper if you don't want to stick a finger to it.
Start at the center of the strip and work your way towards the ends. This is when the clamps become useful if you don't have a helper because you can hold the strip loosely near the position, then press HARD with the roller to get rid of bubbles. You will very likely have some overhang on one side or both. This is the routers job to clean up, running along the edge using the particleboard to guide the bearing bit. (Take your time and let the tool do the work, working at a steady pace in one direction only.)
Routers are loud and messy, so take appropriate eye and ear protective measures.
Step 4: Tops and Finishing Touches
For large areas like my kitchen island, I use the dowels to keep the Formica off the the adhesive but close enough to tell if if it is positioned correctly. Working from the center, pull a dowel, press down hard with the roller, and pull the next dowel, roller, repeat... working your way out to the ends.
Router time again. The bearing guide will keep the bit from into your side laminate as long you keep it perpendicular to that surface.
For areas that are backsplashes, you can seal the seams with colored caulking. It gives it a very professional and finished appearance.
Step 5: Clean Up and Smile!
If you accidently get the adhesive on something you didn't intend, an acetone dampened cloth will remove. (Don't forget rubber/ disposable gloves!)
Thanks for checking this out. Feel free to critque and ask questions
**(Disclaimer: no Norwegian Forest cats were part in this project and any involvement was strictly in a consultation role. Mostly they laid in the middle of drop clothes and supervised. Masking tape balls were only entertaining until they were batted under a cabinet out of reach.)**