Figure 1 – Trying to make standard clamps work for repairing this damaged cooktop just wasn’t an option. So, I first maae a repair insert, then glued it and fitted it into place before tightly wrapping it with clear packing tape to partially dry.
Figure 2 – Using indicator marks on templates can make finding the centerline for sink mounting a breeze.
As we all know, in the shop there are a number of simple tricks that are picked up over time and through experience that can make the fabrication process easier. Here are a couple of those tricks that may just be able to save you a headache or two down the line.
CAN'T CLAMP IT Ö TAPE IT
Many times during the fabrication process, you will run into situations in which you canít use a clamp to glue a piece of solid surface. Sometimes the clamps that you have are either too big, or too complicated for a given application.
I recently ran into a situation where I needed to secure a repair piece of solid surface onto a cooktop opening. The problem was that I already had the edge profile cut onto the counter, which made clamping with conventional clamps much more difficult.
So, I gave it a go with simple packing tape and was met with successful results (see Figure 1).
You should start by making a repair insert that matches up with the damaged area. Then, prepare a few pieces of clear elastic packing tape to use on the project. Clear tape is probably your best bet because you will be able to see exactly how the repair insert is sitting with relation to the damage.
Next, apply adhesive to the insert piece and put it in place. You should put the tape on the bottom of the counter first, and then pull it up and around the repair piece. Pull tight until you think the tape is going to break to get the best possible seam line.
Now level the insert with a few regular clamps and wait. After the glue starts to set and you think it is nearly dry, remove the tape and wait a bit longer. The glue under the tape will not dry as quickly without being exposed to air.
It worked well in this bind, and you can certainly use this method in many different situations.
INDICATOR MARKS MAKE FOR PERFECT CENTERLINES
If you are tired of trying to find the center of a sink cutout before mounting a seamed-in sink, there is a solution. Iíve found that adding small indicator marks to the template itself makes for perfect centerlines without the headaches. These marks make it a breeze for everyone in the fabrication shop to line up the sink with the cutout, leaving you with no more twisted or off-center sinks to deal with (see Figure 2). After trimming the sink opening, the indicator marks will disappear. These marks also have another benefit of providing a perfect line for the faucet center mark.
This is very easy to do with a CNC, but if you donít have one, you can still use this trick. Just cut out some small triangles on your chop saw and super glue them on the center marks of the sink template. This way, when you cut around the template it will follow the center mark.
These marks work great for both small vanity bowls as well as larger kitchen sinks and
save time in the long run.
About the author: Andy Graves is the owner of Olive Mill, a solid surface fabrication company, and runs www.TheFabricatorNetwork.com, an online association of countertop fabricators. He has been a solid surface fabricator since 1986 and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.