Splinters Under Laminate

How to remove splinters that are telegraphing through freshly-applied laminate, and tips on avoiding the problem next time. November 12, 2006

What can be done to correct a problem with a laminate countertop? This being the first one, I used some pieces of veneer core plywood as strips to keep the laminate from bonding immediately, and low and behold, after removing them while laying the laminate, there were a couple of splinters left under the laminate. Is there any cure for this other than re-doing the whole countertop? I used a particle-core substrate.

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surface Forum)
From contributor S:
Smash it down with a hammer!

From contributor J:
Before you smash it down, have a block of wood between that hammer and the laminate!

From contributor D:
If the hammer effect doesn't work, then take some lacquer thinner and work a putty knife under the laminate with it. The lacquer thinner will release the bond and allow you to get the chunks out. Then re-glue it and lay it back down. After you get it started, use a liberal amount of thinner and it will release quickly. If you don't use enough, it will take forever.

From contributor O:
If you try to smash them down, you are probably going to crack the laminate. You can use lacquer thinner and a putty knife to separate the laminate from the substrate. Do not remove it completely. Separate enough to remove the offending particles and let the thinner flash off. Then spray or brush on additional glue on both surfaces. You don't have to completely cover the surfaces with new glue, because the old glue will still want to bond. When the glue is ready, simply let the laminate lay back down and roll.

From contributor R:
Here is something to try. Mark where the bump is on the bottom of the top, then set your plunge router to go through the wood, stopping it at the laminate. That will take the bump out, then just fill the hole with some hot melt or some sawdust and wood glue.

From the original questioner:
Thank you for all of your help. Sounds like the best way is with the putty knife and lacquer thinner. Both of the nibs are close to the edge, so I should be able to get at it fairly easily. Next time I won't be so stupid - I'll use metal strapping instead of wood strips before laying it down.

From contributor J:
Next time, go to Depot or Lowes and buy a length or two of 3/4" plastic water pipe, cut it into 30" or so pieces for countertops. Use that as dowels to support lam. Glue wipes off, no chips, nibs, splinters, or problems. That is what I use, way better than wood dowels.

P.S. Lacquer thinner and putty knife works well. Don't ask how I know this!

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the info. I will be sure to get some proper stuff next time. Of course, this was a rush job for a big client and whenever you're in a rush, something goes wrong.

From contributor G:
Since the pieces are close to the edge, you might try what I do - use a hacksaw blade to get under the laminate and use the teeth of the blade to draw the pieces to the edge and out. Also, I use welding rods to keep the laminate and substrate separated.

From contributor D:
Contributor J, that is a great idea with the PVC. I have been using wood dowels forever and that never dawned on me.