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Old 02-04-2019, 09:48 PM   #1
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1/2" Plywood / Formica Counter Top Okay?

I'm replacing the warped countertop in my 75 Overlander. It was made from 3/4" plywood originally.

But I wonder why? There is not much weight loading on a galley countertop. Why can't a guy use 1/2" sanded flat plywood instead? I will apply a formica covering to the plywood. There are many anchor points all the way around the countertop, so it is well supported and ought to stay flat for many many years.

Your thoughts welcome.

David
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
I'm replacing the warped countertop in my 75 Overlander. It was made from 3/4" plywood originally.

But I wonder why? There is not much weight loading on a galley countertop. Why can't a guy use 1/2" sanded flat plywood instead? I will apply a formica covering to the plywood. There are many anchor points all the way around the countertop, so it is well supported and ought to stay flat for many many years.

Your thoughts welcome.

David
It might work, especially if you use a higher grade plywood, but consider the weight of the oven and a sink full of dishes and water. You might be able to add some reinforcement in key places, but it wouldn't be much less weight than using the 3/4" .
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:03 PM   #3
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I considered using 1/2” plywood countertops. Mine will overhang 3/8” to match the drawers and cabinet door fronts. I was going to glue/nail a 3/8” x 3/8” wood strip under the outer edge to receive the 7/8” aluminum edge trim. In that short of span I think 1/2” is plenty. Good luck
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:03 PM   #4
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The main thing I'd worry about is warping (your original problem). I'm sure someone will suggest a base that will remain flat in all environments.
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Old 02-04-2019, 10:33 PM   #5
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3/4" is the industry standard for countertops, and most plumbing faucets/sinks/etc. will assume you have that much thickness IMO. Hot/cold temperature/humidity cycles will affect 1/2" ply much more IMO. The wieght savings for that small of an area is minimal.

Easy to overthink this.



If it ain't broken don't fix it IMO.

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Old 02-04-2019, 11:35 PM   #6
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Hi, I used 1/2" plywood for my new credenza that I built for my living room remodel. I used two vertical boards and 1"X 2" Oak horizontally to keep it light and straight.
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:02 AM   #7
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I recommend using 1/2 inch "Baltic Birch" plywood. It is preferable because of it's all-birch veneer laminated core that is cross-banded and bonded with exterior grade glue that makes a superior, stable sheet material.

The cross-banded layers of 1.5 mm thick birch veneer makes the sheets balanced, which promises a flatter product that standard grade plywood, and is less subject to warping. Because the core layers of Baltic birch are actually solid veneers of birch (rather than a softer, secondary wood) and form a void-free core, screws bite and hold with 100% of their threads.

Since you are planning to add a laminate final layer, ask your local supplier for either BB/CP or CP/CP grade. Pricing is tied to exposed surface blemishes and these lower grades will have visual color and/or patch blemishes, but are structurally sound for your application. You don't need B/BB which is exposed grain cabinet grade, but 4x8 sheets are typically available from your local big box store for ~$45.
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:08 AM   #8
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+1 on the above post. I used Baltic Birch plywood on my countertop. 5/8" Baltic Birch is actually 9/16", FYI.

I also used a solid core white Formica, so no black lines, can be sanded if scratched and thicker.

http://www.formica.com/en-gb/product...re#swatchesTab

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Old 02-05-2019, 10:56 AM   #9
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A lot of these suggestions require custom orders (special plywood), which may be difficult depending on your location and access to resources. If you just want to walk into your local big box store and get the work done, you may want to consider MDF. It's heavier than plywood, but it's more stable and is the preferred substrate for laminate, just make sure it's properly supported underneath (a good frame).
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Old 02-05-2019, 12:14 PM   #10
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I've been a cabinet maker for more years than I care to recall. I've always done 3/4" sub-straight material, if you want to go to 1/2" make sure it's Baltic Birch. What your looking for more than the strength is warping. No one wants to set spill water on the counter and have it run on the floor or wherever.
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:10 PM   #11
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1/2" baltic birch will work but all wood warps sooner or later if conditions are right (or should I say wrong) and don't forget to think about the weight of a sink full of dishes and water 10 years from now. I'd go 3/4" if it was mine.
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:18 PM   #12
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3/4" is fine

I had a new custom countertop made for my Overlander. Went back with 3/4" and white formica for several reasons:
1. More stable
2. Thickness matched edge molding I wanted to use
3. Height covered up blemishes on walls

I did make it slightly wider so that I could go with radiused corners instead of square and curved molding instead of mitered. Plywood was cut on a CNC machine.
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:45 PM   #13
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I wound up doing a lot of what you're suggesting in my rebuild. All of my drawers are 1/4" Eurolite ply, with hardwood bracing around the edges. Basically, anything that doesn't support full human weight, like seat tops and floors. I would suggest using hardwood spacers around the edges and over any internal uprights. You can get all sorts of cool retro metal edge banding, and as I remember, comes in like 7/8" wide or so.

A detail that I figured out was my "over-undermount" sink. An undermount sink is dropped into a routered cutout from the top, flush to the surface. The laminate (with the sink hole already cut) is attached on top of everything. Very cool looking, easy to clean.
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Old 02-05-2019, 03:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzyHomemakr View Post
I wound up doing a lot of what you're suggesting in my rebuild. All of my drawers are 1/4" Eurolite ply, with hardwood bracing around the edges. Basically, anything that doesn't support full human weight, like seat tops and floors. I would suggest using hardwood spacers around the edges and over any internal uprights. You can get all sorts of cool retro metal edge banding, and as I remember, comes in like 7/8" wide or so.

A detail that I figured out was my "over-undermount" sink. An undermount sink is dropped into a routered cutout from the top, flush to the surface. The laminate (with the sink hole already cut) is attached on top of everything. Very cool looking, easy to clean.
Of the sink:-)
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