Crack Repair in a Corian Solid Surface Countertop

In this video I will show you how to quickly fix a crack in a Corian solid surface countertop. The process will perfectly match the surrounding material perfectly.

It should also be extremely strong and you will not have to worry about it cracking in the same spot in future. The epoxy used will chemically bond the insert piece to the material.



Router 3-¼ HP –
Sawstop 10” Table Saw –
250ml Adhesive Gun –
Metabo 5” VS Angle Grinder –

Router 3-¼ HP –
Jig Saw –
Betterly Cove Router –…
Sawstop 10” Table Saw –
½” Corded Drill –
⅜” Corded Drill –
4-½” Grinder –
1” Belt Sander –
Makita Electric Polisher –
Hot Melt Glue Gun –
Bosch Random Orbital Sander –
3M 6” Random Orbital Air Sander –
Makita Rotary Hammer –
Metabo 5” VS Angle Grinder –
Makita 1-1/4HP Router –
Makita Belt Sander –

Jorgensen 6-Inch Clamp –
Spring Clamp 3” Opening –
Pipe Clamp –
Vise Grip Locking Pliers –
250ml Adhesive Gun –
Solid Surface Adhesive –
1 ¼” Hole Saw –
1 ⅜” Hole Saw –
Universal Dust Shroud 5” Grinder –
Installation Clips –
Caulking Gun –
Drill Bit –
1/4″ Drill Bit Collar –
No-Drip Router Bit Profile –
Bowl Removal Router Bit –
⅜” Router Bit –
Carbide Burr Bit ½” Diameter –
Carbide Burr Bit ¼” Diameter –
Thermoforming Oven –…

CNC Router Bit (Onsrud) –
ER32 CNC Tool Holder –
ER32 Collet –

3M Wool Polishing Pad –
3M Wool Compounding Pad –
3M Perfect-It II Foam Polishing Pad Glaze – 1 qt –
3M 05954 Super Duty Rubbing Compound, 1 qt –
80 Grit – 6” Hook and Loop –
150 Grit – 6” Hook and Loop –
220 Grit – 6” Hook and Loop –
400 Grit – 6” Hook and Loop –
600 Grit – 6” Hook and Loop –
Scotch-Brite Maroon –

5️⃣ MISC
Oatey 38711 Foam Closet Flange Spacer –
PROFLO 2″ Brass No-Caulk Shower Drain Body –
Oatey 31177 Plumbers Putty, 9 oz –
Scotch 3M 355 Tape –
100% Pure Silicone –

Glass Cleaner –
Bar Keepers Friend –
Scotch-Brite Pad –
OxiClean –
Magic Countertop –
Microfiber Cleaning Cloth –

Website –
Follow on Facebook –
Follow on Instagram –…

QUESTION — Have a question about Countertops, Fabrication or Anything Else? Post in the comments section of this video!

#olivemill #coriancountertops #solidsurfacecountertops #avonite #staron #wilsonart #himacs #krion #livingstone #stonia #fabrication #dupontcorian #diycountertop #kitchencountertops

Disclaimer: Wear safety equipment at all times. At times we remove safety equipment for the sake of filming. These videos are for entertainment and as such any process you follow is done at your own risk.

135 Degree Inside Cove Corner on Corian Solid Surface

Cove inside corners are often a breeze with the correct tooling and a bit of experience. But for most fabricators, we don’t typically get the oddball corners that can stump any of us.

I have created a sample of a 135 degree inside, cove corner using solid surface material. Obviously this is not the only solution so if you have any ideas or input, please add your feedback to the comment section below.

Glue the cove build up stips in place as usual. Then use the countertop to set up and glue your backsplash pieces together. I used a piece of cellophane tape between the top of the cove strip and the splash so that it wouldn’t stick. The cove insert piece at the corner needed to be 7/8″ x 2-1/8″ set into a 1/8″ dado.

Set up a router with a 3/4″ core box bit. On the base, I have hot melted a guide block that will guage off of the back edge of the counter. It should just leave a flat surface wide enough to glue your verticle splash onto. I have marked the inside limit of the cove cut. Run the router into the corner from both sides, stopping at the lines. Start from about 8 or 9 inches from the corner. This should be far enough away that your Betterly router can get at the rest.

Go into the corner right up to the lines. This should leave a nice smooth corner.

Once you get to this point, I would sand the cove in the area that you can’t get to with your sander. Be careful not to sand the corner off of the cove strip. A scraper makes this fairly easy.

Make a simple jig that you can run a top bearing, flush-trim bit against. I didn’t get it lined up quite right and it left me with a bit of a shoulder.

After using the top bearing bit, turn your backsplash assembly over and use a bottom bearing flush trim bit to finish out the corner. The length of your bits will be the limit of how tall you can make the splash. This splash was 4″ including the cove.

After flush trimming, I used a scraper and hand sanding to finish sand the corner. Be careful not to sand too much at the edges or it will change how it fits on the countertop.

Before gluing the splash to the countertop I applied cellophane tape right up to the edges of the splash and the cove. This allowed me to wipe out most of the squeeze-out. When the glue had cured, I removed the tape leaving just a slight glue line to scrape and sand away.

I wouldn’t want to do 20 tops with 2 corners each. You would probably develop tendonitis in your hands. I would estimate that doing this one example took between 45 to 60 minutes (not counting glue curing time).

All Finished.

About the Author: John Christensen is a long-time solid surface fabricator, repair specialist and owner of Solid Surface Technologies in Springfield, Oregon.


No-Drip Outside Corner Fabrication Technique

Learn the steps to create a nice, contoured outside corner on a solid surface countertop. Many times the outside corner is just mitered and routed with a 3/8″ radius. However, some customers want a larger radius.

This video shows how I created a larger outside radius using a square block on the corner with the no-drip molding strips bumping up to them.

Watch the video below to get a better understanding of the process.

Lotte Staron Solid Surface Shower Surround – Video Series

Finally finished the five-part series of the Lotte Staron Shower Surround. In this video series, I show the steps involved to fabricate and install a complete shower surround.

From the prep work to the final accessory installation, these videos will give you a great starting point to start fabricating your own tub and shower surrounds.

Solid surface is the perfect material for tub and shower surrounds, it’s not just for countertops.

Please be sure to like and subscribe. Thanks for watching.

ISFA – Are You in Compliance with OSHA?

This article made possible by ISFA, International Surface Fabricators Association. To become a member CLICK HERE for more information.

Are You in Compliance with OSHA’s New Crystalline Silica Regulations?
By Shannon DeCamp

Most provisions of the Airborne Crystalline Silica standard became enforceable on June 23. During the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA offered compliance assistance for employers who made good faith efforts to comply with the new standard. However, that window is now closed and it is time to make sure that you are in compliance. Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in both naturally-occurring and manmade materials, including concrete, stone and engineered stone/quartz surfacing.

Silica in Surface Fabrication Shops

OSHA has concluded that for many surface fabrication shops, the current methods commonly used to limit silica exposure do not adequately protect worker health. Fabricating, finishing and installing concrete, natural and engineered stone countertops can release hazardous levels of tiny crystalline silica dust particles into the air that workers breathe. Workers operating powered hand tools, such as saws, grinders and high-speed polishers, have some of the highest silica dust exposures. Workers involved in manufacturing stone or concrete countertops may also be exposed to silica dust when opening bags of ground quartz, moving or mixing bulk raw materials, cleaning and scraping mixers, cleaning dust collector bag houses or changing filter bags. Both the workers doing these tasks and anyone in the area where silica dust is present may be exposed and face lifelong health consequences.

Employers must ensure that employees’ exposures to respirable crystalline silica do not exceed the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL), which is 50 µg/m³ calculated as an 8-hour TWA. This means that over the course of any 8-hour work shift, exposure can fluctuate, but the average exposure cannot exceed 50 µg/ m³. Employee exposure means the exposure to airborne, respirable crystalline silica that would occur if the employee were not wearing a respirator. The action level (25 µg/ m³ calculated as an 8-hour TWA) is the point at which employers must start to do exposure assessments and medical surveillance.

Exposure Assessment

The employer can choose from two options for assessing exposures: the performance option; or the scheduled monitoring option. The performance option gives employers the flexibility to determine the 8-hour TWA exposure for each employee based on any combination of air monitoring data or objective data that can accurately characterize employee exposures to respirable crystalline silica.

Objective data is information that demonstrates employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica associated with a particular product, material, process, task or activity. The data must reflect workplace conditions that closely resemble, or could result in higher exposures than, the conditions in the employer’s current operations. Examples of objective data are information such as air monitoring data from industry-wide surveys, calculations based on the composition of a substance, and historical air monitoring data collected by the employer.

The scheduled monitoring option defines when and how often employers must perform monitoring to measure employee exposures. When following the scheduled monitoring options, employers must make sure that the results represent the employee’s TWA exposure to respirable crystalline silica over an 8-hour workday and that samples are collected from the employee’s breathing zone outside of respirators, so they represent the exposure that would occur without the use of a respirator. Employers using the scheduled monitoring option must conduct initial monitoring as soon as work begins so that they are aware of exposure levels and where control measures are needed. How often monitoring must be done depends on the results of initial monitoring.

■ If exposures are below the action level, no further monitoring is required.

■ If exposures are at or above the action level, but at or below the PEL, monitoring must be repeated within six months.

■ If exposures are above the PEL, the employer must repeat monitoring within three months.

■ When two non-initial monitoring results taken consecutively, at least seven days apart but within six months of each other, are below the action level, monitoring may be discontinued as long as no changes occur that could affect exposure levels.

■ If there is any change in process, materials, personnel, control equipment or work practices that could reasonably be expected to result in new or additional exposures at or above the action level, the employer must reassess. Employers must notify each affected employee of the results of the exposure assessment within 15 working days of completing it. Each employee must be notified in writing, or the results may be posted in a location that all affected employees can access. When an assessment reveals exposures above the PEL, the notification must also describe the corrective action the employer is taking to reduce employee exposures to or below the PEL.

Regulated Areas

Employers must establish regulated areas where airborne concentrations of respirable crystalline silica can be reasonably expected to exceed the PEL. These areas must be marked off from the rest of the workplace and a sign must be posted at each entrance. Employers must limit access to these areas only to authorized employees.

Engineering and Work Practice Controls

Employers must use engineering and work practice controls to reduce employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica at or below the PEL unless the employer can demonstrate that such controls are not feasible. If these engineering controls and work practices are not able to reduce employee exposures at or below the PEL, employers must still use feasible controls to reduce exposures to the lowest possible level and then use respiratory protection along with these controls.

The main engineering controls for silica are the use of wet methods and local exhaust ventilation. Wet methods apply water or foam at the point of dust generation to keep dust from getting into the air. Local exhaust ventilation removes dust by capturing it where it is created. Another engineering control separates employees from the dust source by containing the dust or isolating employees in a control booth.

Work practice controls involve doing a task in a way that reduces the likelihood or levels of exposure. Employees must know the appropriate work practices for maximizing the effectiveness of controls and minimizing exposures.

Respiratory protection

Engineering and work practice controls are the preferred methods for minimizing exposure as they actually reduce the level of crystalline silica in the air. When all feasible measures are still not enough, respirators must be used. If respirators are required, you will need a complete respiratory protection program that complies with OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).

Written Exposure Control Plan

All employers covered by the standard must develop and implement a written exposure control plan. This plan must describe all workplace exposures and ways to reduce those exposures, such as engineering controls, work practices and housekeeping methods. This plan must be reviewed at least once a year and updated as necessary. Affected employees have the right to view or copy this plan.


All employers covered by the Respirable Crystalline Silica standard must avoid certain housekeeping practices. When cleaning up dust that could contribute to employee exposure, employers must prohibit dry brushing and sweeping, unless methods such as wet sweeping and HEPA-filtered vacuuming are not feasible. Employers must also prohibit cleaning surfaces or clothing with compressed air, unless it is used together with a ventilation system that effectively captures the dust cloud or no other cleaning method is feasible.

Medical surveillance

Medical surveillance is intended to:

■ Identify respirable crystalline silicarelated diseases so that employees with those diseases can take action to protect their health;

■ Determine if an employee has any condition, such as a lung disease, that might make him or her more sensitive to respirable crystalline silica exposure; and

■ Determine the employee’s fitness to use respirators.

The standard specifies which employees must be offered medical surveillance, when and how often the examinations must be offered, and the tests that make up medical examinations. The standard also specifies the information the employer must give to the physician or licensed healthcare professional (PLHCP) who conducts the examinations and the information that the employer must ensure the PLCHP provides to the employee and employer.

Employee Training

Employers must train and inform employees covered by the silica standard about respirable crystalline silica hazards and the method the employer uses to limit their exposures. The employer must ensure that employees trained under the silica standard can demonstrate knowledge and understanding of at least:

1. Health hazards associated with respirable crystalline silica exposure.

2. Specific workplace tasks that could expose employees to respirable crystalline silica.

3. Specific measures the employer is implementing to protect employees from respirable crystalline silica exposure, including engineering controls, work practices and respirators to be used. This should include recognizing signs that the controls may not be working effectively.

4. The contents of the Respirable Crystalline Silica standard, including the standard’s requirements.

5. The purpose and description of the medical surveillance program required by the standard.

Employees must be trained at the time they are assigned to a position involving exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Additional training must be provided as often as necessary to ensure that employees know and understand respirable crystalline silica hazards and the protections available in their workplace.


Employers must make and keep the following records:

■ An accurate record of all air monitoring performed to comply with the standard;

■ An accurate record of any objective data used to comply with the standard; and

■ An accurate record for each employee provided medical surveillance under the standard.

Construction Tasks

Installation and fabrication done at jobsites is covered under OSHA Construction standards. The new construction standard for silica provides a table of specified controls employers can follow. If employers follow these specifications, they can be sure that they are providing their workers with the required level of protection. Employers may provide alternative methods of protection as long as they can prove that their methods effectively reduce their workers’ exposure to silica dust.

It is important to keep in mind that, as with all new regulations, Silica will be a focus area for OSHA. It is best to get a head start on compliance immediately, not only to protect your business, but, most importantly, to protect your most important asset – your employees.

About the Author

Shannon DeCamp is Client Services Manager for TechneTrain, Inc. TechneTrain has a full line of safety training programs and reference manuals specifically designed for the surface fabrication industry, including a turnkey employee training program for the new airborne crystalline silica regulations. These products are available from ISFA at discounted prices. For further information regarding OSHA Compliance requirements for the surface fabrication industry, visit, or contact TechneTrain, Inc. at (800) 852-8314.

Samsung Staron Table Fabrication – Time Lapse

Watch the entire fabrication process through this time lapse video. This unique table showcases complete CAD and CNC work, a solid surface inlay of the Samsung logo, full bullnose and finishing.

Custom Solid Surface Sink Fabrication

Last week I worked with a lady that wanted a nontraditional vanity sink. Using her ideas I provided her with a concept of what I thought she wanted. Once she approved I began building.

Pencil sketch for approval.

Detail drawing for confirming measurements.

Form for thermoforming the bottom of the basin.

Material clamped in form

After the bottom cooled I routed the rabbet for the cove build up strip.

This shows better the slope of the bottom and the rabbet. The bottom is slightly over sized and will be trimmed after the sides are attached.

Cove build-ups are glued into rabbets in the side pieces and then pre coved. The front and back of the basin are rabbeted to accept the pre-assembled and coved end panel. Here they are set up for dry fitting.

I used a bridge router set up to trip the top of the sink to a flat plane.

Tile backsplash with a full-width mirror will be installed by the contractor.

The really weird thing was that the contractor said that the inspector was going to insist on an overflow. I told him that this was a custom sink and that he should make a case for not having an overflow since most vessel sinks are not designed with one. Dupont now offers a line of their vanity sinks without overflows. Kitchen sinks seldom (almost never) have an overflow. All that combined with the fact that this sink holds so much water that the chance of it ever being filled up is slim to none.

It has been a week and I have not gotten a call back yet.

Johnny C

For more information about Johnny’s Company, please visit –

Corian Cove Shower Surround Fabrication

Well, I have started into my basement shower remodel. I would like to maintain as much shower space as possible. One wall is a concrete wall. No sign of moisture migration. I am going to apply a latex vapor barrier material as a precaution. I was planning to fasten furring strips to the cement and then screw my moisture-resistant S/R to the stips, but I would prefer to adhere my moisture-resistant sheetrock directly to the cement wall.

I decided to use the furring strips, partly because it will allow easier installation of the shower head plumbing. I won’t have to make a notch in the concrete wall for the piping. I will be using a product called Dryloc on the concrete wall, just as a precaution. When I tore out the old tile shower the mud scratch coat was applied directly to the cement. I saw no evidence of moisture but I just want to be sure.

I certainly appreciate the hydroban, cement board, mesh tape in thinset and more hydroban, especially if I were doing ceramic tile again where moisture could still get through the grout lines. In this case, the walls will be seamless solid surface. I just need a surface to attach the panels to.

The existing shower was cultured marble that installed 24 years ago. I got tired of having to strip out the silicone and re-caulk every couple of years. It was 34″ x 42″.

Under the cultured marble was ceramic tile with mud and metal lath. No shower pan liner. I guess the figured they didn’t need it since they were on concrete in the basement. Cast-iron drain stack from the upstairs bathroom. Notice the cleanout facing the shower. That is why the shower was only 34″.

Last December the water heater developed a leak. It was located where the trash can is now. It was very difficult to gain access to and service so I moved it far to the right (out of this photo) under a stairwell.

The old drain was about 3″ from the existing tile wall. I wanted it moved more toward the center of the shower. Also at the far right of the photo, you can see a cast iron vent pipe that is right in the middle of the floor space of what could be nice storage area under an existing stairwell…bummer. That vent is going to move.

Now that I have dug down to the old piping I can see what needs to be done to get what I want.

I capped off the vent pipe and ran a new one so that it would be inside of the wall. New drain and P-trap near the center of the shower area. Now I am happy. The vent pipe under the stairs has annoyed me since we bought the house 24 years ago.

I didn’t get a photo but I also replaced the cast iron drain stack and installed a new cleanout 90 deg. left so that I could push the shower right up against the stack for more room. It’s finished size will be 42-1/2″ x 53″.

This is the form for thermoforming the floor. It has a 5/16″ pitch slope to the drain. The outside perimeter of the form is spaced away from the floor so that I can make the solid surface pieces slightly oversized. The perimeter pieces of the mold 1/2″ higher than the floor of the mold so when I apply the vacuum blanket it would curl down the edges.

After thermoforming and trimming the floor to the exact size I cut a piece of particle board so that it was 1″ smaller than the finished floor. Then a 1″ collet and a 3/4″ bit is used to go around the edge to make a 1/8″ x 7/8″ rabbet for the cove build up strip.

The pan is pre-coved before adding the apron around the sides. A 3/4″ core box bit is used with a fence attached to the base. I actually have a bonafide router fence but it takes longer to set up than just hot melting a temporary fence directly to the base. Set the router to that is just a sliver above the surface of the sloped floor and run the router around with the fence to the outside of the pan.

I pre-made the corner seat. The outside corners are V grooved beveled on the table saw. It is not done yet in this photo but I also pre coved the seat before assembly.

OK, I am busted. I have a bit of a mess going on around the work area. Here I am attaching the corner seat and the pre-made curb (front top and inside face). The top of the curb has about a 1/4″ slope on a 4″ width.

I added an apron around the sides and also on top of the corner seat so that when I glue the wall panels in place I won’t have to deal with the cove area. Oh, I forgot to mention that when this shower is finished it will be totally coved. The only place that will have a caulk line is at the ceiling.

The last part of the pan assembly was adding reinforcement at the cove transition area and the joint where the walls would seam to the pan. I didn’t get a photo of that but this cross-section drawing will give you the idea.

The cove detail was done with the single rabbet technique. I thought that it would be advisable to add reinforcement there.

Because the wall sections would be too large to handle, I set the lower section of the walls in place, prior to fabrication of the whole wall, leaving a 3/8″ gap. This was to allow me to do a mirror cut on the entire seam including the step up to the seat. I secured them into position with spanners using hot melt. The spanners have a relief cut in them for the router bit to pass.

This is the backside of the wall. Straight edges above the seat and to the left of the vertical seam were set up so a 1/2″ bit through starting at the far right and stopping at the bottom corner. Then a straight edge was added below the bottom seam and stopped the router at the right corner. With care, you can get the stopping points to be very close. The inside corners needed to be hand fit with a sanding block to fit the radius of the cut made by the router bit at the outside corners.

Once all the bottom sections of the walls had been fit to the pan I completed fabricating the walls. The space for the walls was templated so that the walls, when finished, would match in size and squareness to the space they were to be installed. I needed to have a vertical site seam on each wall. I made each section 1/2″ wider than needed and then ran a 1/2″ bit through the seam location to cut the panels and create the perfect seam.

I didn’t want any of my site seams to be at the coved corners. I made all the wall seams at least 6″ from the corners.

The first piece is dry-fit to the pan. All wall seams have a seam strap. The coves on the walls were done with the double rabbet technique. That was in order to have overlapping joints in the cove detail. I believe this will be enough reinforcement at the verticle wall coves. In this photo, the pan does not have the reinforcement pieces added yet.

This is the second piece in the dry fit.

All the walls are now dry fit. I wanted to dry-fit the walls before adding the reinforcement to the pan just to be sure that they would sit flush or even slightly less than flush at the apron around the pan. If the walls were even the slightest bit larger it would be impossible to install them after the reinforcement was in place.

Now to really add the WOW factor to the shower I added two integral soap/shampoo caddy’. His and hers, ya know? Hers was W12-3/4″ x H17″. Mine was W8″ x H17-3/4″.

A 1/2″ core box bit was used and a slotted jig that was cut as a ramp to rout the tapered grooves. I was surprised that it really didn’t leave much of a line in the center of the grooves.

I dry fit and clamped all the parts together, aligning all the coves as flush as possible. After sanding the back of the parts completely flush, I used 1/8″ wide pieces of SS to make small overlapping alignment fingers. These were super glued on opposing sides of the joints to assist with aligning all the parts while gluing. 1/8″ pieces were used so that they would break off easily after gluing. These pieces act just like the alignment fingers on an expandable dining table.

You may have noticed in the first photo what appeared to be cellophane tape. I applied this at all the seams and trimmed it flush prior to gluing together. Once all the parts were glued together Using a gloved finger I thinned down the glue squeeze out to just a thin film. When it was soft cured I peeled the tape off. The result was a minimal glue line to finish off.

The minimal glue line and any parts that weren’t quite perfectly flush was easy to scrape down with a scraper. (Standard cabinet scraper cut in half at an angle and rounded on the corners).

I did as much finish sanding as possible before gluing to the wall panel. It was much easier to sand when I could hold it on the table and spin it around as needed as opposed to sanding it after it was installed in the center of a panel.

The small caddy was simply glued to the back of the wall panel. Because the sides of the caddy are angled, I could run it through the tablesaw (backside down) to create a narrow ledge. I used clamping blocks hot melted to the back of the panel and wedges to gain pressure against the narrow ledge.

After the adhesive was set I used a velvet guide trim bit to trim it out on the front side. this wouldn’t make it flush of course because of all the angles. I did some experimenting and finally used a 3/8″ standard flush trim bit in my laminate router. I used it freehand so that I could visually match the angle of the sides and the grooves. It worked pretty darn good and left minimal sanding.

For the large caddy (hers).I decided to try mounting it like a bevel plug or a bevel mounted sink. For the future, I can use this and make a glacier white (or other colors) caddy and insert it into a contrasting color panel leaving a 1″ border around the caddy. I could also install a caddy after the fact in a pre-existing shower wall.

I made these hold down clamps that are hot melted to the wall panel. This help makes sure that the bevel seam is tight everywhere.

Sand it flush and move on to finish sanding.

Shower pan and concrete backer board going in:

Notice the cleanout on the 4″ standpipe. that was part of the reason for the corner seat. The cleanout encroached into the shower area. I really didn’t want to dig up that much more concrete so I added a new cleanout 90 deg left just above the old cleanout. (After this photo was taken).

I moved the drain near the center of the floor. Leveled new concrete and installed two new shower valves and heads.

The pan was heavy and I used a makeshift block and tackle system for lowering it into place. The pan needed to be placed before all the concrete backer board was installed.

Backer board installed and mudded.

I finished up by installing the walls and sanding everything smooth. A glass shower door was added and the project is now complete.

The most challenging aspect of this remodel was incorporating the seat and pan with the seamless design of the shower walls. Without the integral seat it would have been much easier. But the seat was necessary to avoid an existing plumbing cleanout. Besides, I embraced the challenge.

Author, Fabricator, and Installer – Johnny Cristensen at Solid Surface Technologies


Adhesive Shelf Life

Most fabricators have a shelf (or shelves) of partially used glue tubes of various vintages. How do you know what is safe to use and what you should just dispose of and replace?

While there is some variation from manufacturer to manufacturer, old solid surface adhesive should always be tested before use if you suspect it is near or past its shelf life.

With Seam-it adhesives, you can expect a shelf life of 12 months from the date of production. We’d like to give longer than a 1-year shelf life but having no control over storage conditions limits us. If stored properly (room temperature or below) our adhesive will perform within reasonable cure speeds for 18 months – 2 years.

The main thing to consider if you have dated solid surface adhesives is that they do not just stop working one day. The catalyst component gets weaker over time and high-temperature storage accelerates the process. Therefore, a solid surface adhesive that is one month old stored at 72 degrees will cure at say 30 minutes. The same cartridge 12 months later, may take 38 minutes- 18 months, 43 minutes etc, etc. At some point, the catalyst becomes too weak to fully cure. If you were to store the same glue at 100 degrees the degradation of the catalyst would occur faster (might take 45 minutes at 6 months). Worst case scenario, a couple of hours on the dash of the install truck in Florida during the summer will render it useless.

If you have old solid surface glue, run some beads and time the cure. For Seam-it, we recommend a rock hard cure be achieved within 30-45 minutes for the adhesive to be considered within spec.

Finally, to dispose of outdated adhesives properly, purge the cartridges into a container, mix in a ventilated area or out of doors, and leave to harden. Caution, a large mass of adhesive will generate a great deal of heat when curing.

For more information about countertop surfacing adhesive, visit

About the Author: Chad Thomas has been in the adhesive industry for nearly 10 years, previously working for a major manufacturer and now as a partner at Gluewarehouse. Expertise includes color matching, bonding theory and glue applications in the surfacing industry. Contact chad at or call 877-595-4583

How to Add Graphite to a Beltsander

Graphite impregnated sanding shoes will prolong belt life and improve the performance of both the sander and the belt. Easily change out the stock, steel shoe with this flexible, self-lubricating shoe to keep belts cooler for longer life. It will also make sanding solid surface material much easier.

They can be purchased directly from your Porter Cable supplier or find them on the internet. I was able to find some on Amazon and many tool suppliers ranging in price from $8 – $13.

Although you can purchase precut, I find it a bit cheaper to just buy a roll of graphite from my local cabinet supply and install them as needed. The following is a step by step to make and install your own graphite sanding shoe.

Tools Required: Razor Knife, Screwdriver, Graphite Roll

Step 1: Flip the sander on its side to gain access to the belt removal lever. Remove the belt. Remove three screws. Remove steel shoe.

Step 2: Place steel shoe over graphite roll and cut to exact size.

Step 3: Mark and punch holes through the graphite for the screws using the steel shoe as a guide.

Step 4: Keep the existing steel shoe, place graphite over steel, place steel bar with holes over graphite and insert three screws.

Step 5: Screw shoe assembly to the beltsander base.

Step 6: Reinstall the sandpaper belt making sure the graphite is between the steel and sanding belt.

Alternative: Purchase and install a factory, Porter-Cable graphite shoe. No need to cut from a roll, just remove and replace.

That’s it. The difference will amaze you. A graphite pad will create less friction and a much evener sanding surface. Give it a try and hope it helps.

About the Author: Andy Graves is the owner and operator of Olive Mill Manufacturing Inc. in Anaheim California. Olive Mill specialized in residential and commercial countertop fabrication/installation. Graves can be reached at Visit his website: