How To Laminate Wood: A Thorough Guide

If you are in search of a guide on how to laminate wood and haven’t found anything that covers all common types of laminating procedure, you’ve come to the right place.

Wood laminating comes in a number of varieties and it might sound too much to begin with. But, with the right steps, you can achieve the thickness and surface you desire.

However are you sure you understand the term laminated wood right? And what to do with panels, plywood, and edge laminating? This article will give you a thorough guide on the techniques of wood laminating. I also added an FAQ section where I answer from my own experience.

How to laminate wood: an easy guide to follow

What does laminated wood mean?
how-to-laminate-wood

Wood laminating means more than just flooring

This section might sound redundant considering you should have known what wood laminating means before clicking at this article.

I have met many people who associate this term only to flooring but this cannot be further from the truth.

Here is what the pros say:

Laminating can be literally explained as the method of sticking things together. When it comes to wood laminating, pieces of plastics or another layer of wood are laminated to composites, wood, or plywood. It also covers veneer laminating.

I’ve got a lot of questions on laminating wood techniques and I notice a number of folks are interested in how to laminate plywood sheets. However, if you’ve decided to dive into the techniques of laminating, plywood is not the only thing you should master.

Panels

We will start our guide on how to laminate wood with panels.

First:

Use a jointer or a table saw to shape pieces of lumber of the same length with straight and square edges. Then, take each newly cut panel and hold it at upright position on one edge.

Feel free to use whatever you like to support the panels. I usually place two sawhorses parallel to each other and put the panels on top.

Next:

Put glue on one side of the piece. To spread the glue, you can use a rubber roller, a brush or a flexible card. Press each piece against another and distribute bar clamps evenly to hold the pieces in place.

Finally:

Tighten the clamps until you see glue seeps out. Wait for one hour then remove the clamps.

Please note that you should also pay attention to how long for wood glue to dry as different types will require a different amount of time.

Tip: place adjacent piles so that their grains are at right angles to each other to increase strength.

Thickness Laminating

Again:

Use two sawhorses to support your lumber. Spread a generous amount of glue on the facing up side of the blank.

You don’t have to do it evenly at this step, just make sure you put on enough glue. Then smear glue all over the board.

Next:

You put another board on the glued side of the first one and repeat spreading glue on the second one.

Keep building up boards until you achieve your desired thickness. To hold the pieces together, distribute clamps about 6 inches apart from one another and let the stack rest for one hour.

Finally:

Trim the edges with a jointer or a table saw and shape it as you wish.

Tip: Don’t do more than 4 inches in thickness. If you do, you will unable to cut through the laminated wood with a saw.

Plywood

Plywood is usually ¾ inches thick and even though I laminate plywood regularly, I rarely pile up more than two layers. However, depending on your projects; plywood can be laminated up to four layers at a time.

laminate-plywood

Plywood can be laminated up to four layers at a time. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0ipjo0CJug

Plywood doesn’t require any special techniques; they actually stick together more easily. So stand the piece upright on two sawhorses, spread the glue evenly, and place another layer on top.

Use spring clamps or hand clamps to hold the pieces together. If your plywood exceeds 24 x 24 inches, you might want to add some more pressure by clamping a 2-by-4 brace at both ends.

Tip: To avoid warping, don’t mix the glue with water unless the instruction indicates otherwise. Put glue on both opposite surfaces instead of one.

>>> Read more: How to unwarp wood effectively

Edge Laminating
Edge-Laminating

An example of edge laminating. Source: kellygoffstudio.com

Edge laminating is a technique that most woodworkers find extremely useful. It is to hide raw edges on plywood after cutting with pieces of veneer.

Spread glue evenly on a newly cut plywood edge and put a strip of veneer on top. The strip is usually 1/16-inch thick.

Since veneer doesn’t require as much pressure as a panel or a wood board, masking tape is enough to hold it in place. Stretch pieces of tape every 2 inches and wait for the glue to completely dry.

Tip: Veneer is quite common at any home improvement store but it is usually known as wood tape.

FAQ

Does laminating wood make it stronger?

According to my experience, not all laminated wood is stronger but most of them are.

Wood can expand differently at different axes so when you cut the timber into uniform pieces and glue them together, the unwanted shift can be minimized. More skilled woodworkers can even control the shifts and make them into their desired fashion.

Wood has the tendency to warp or cup along the grain lines so lamination can provide an opposite force form other grain lines to balance out the whole piece.

What is the best glue for laminating wood?

The term “laminating wood” can be used to refer to three different procedures and the one that is good for one operation isn’t necessarily suitable for others.

You might want to read a separate article on types of glue for laminating and choose the best glue for each procedure.

Can you put laminate sheets over laminate countertops?

Depend on whether the countertop in question is pre-formed or post-formed. Pre-formed top needs replacing while the latter can be overlaid with a new layer.

I hope that this article gives you some insight into how to laminate wood correctly. Should there any question or experience that you’d like to share, feel free the leave me a comment down below.