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How to Roll Brush or Spray Cabinet Contact Glue

January 14th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

If you are wondering how to apply contact adhesive on cabinets, let me share a few of the things I’ve learned through twenty five plus years of fabricating cupboards. You will roll it on with a special applicator, use a paint brush or spray the cement onto the cabinetry parts.

Rolling Contact Glue
Basically there is not a lot of difference here from applying paint with a roller to a wall. There are special roller pads that are used for putting the adhesive on smoothly. The correct pads can be purchased from Home Depot (usually with the fiberglass products) or your local cabinet supply company. You will need a paint roller pan, a roller and the pad. I always just throw the pad away once I am done. You can clean them with lacquer thinner. It’s a messy sticky job though.

A) Pour the glue into the pan
B) Dip the roll on tool into the adhesive
C) Roll it on quickly before the glue starts to dry

Brushing on the Cabinet or Countertop Adhesive Cement

I always purchase cheap throw away brushes for this application method. I also buy two empty paint cans from the hardware store. One is used for the glue to be put into and the other one I fill about half way with lacquer thinner. I will place the used paintbrush into the gallon pale with the thinner in it, after it has been used for applying the contact adhesive. The glue does not harden on the brush when done this way. This way the same brush can be used over and over again for putting contact adhesive onto cabinet parts.

1) Dip the brush into the glue
2) Brush the adhesive onto the cabinet parts, work fast.
3) Once the glue has cured you may need to apply a second coat. Plastic laminate and wood are absorbent to the point of making it so the glue is not thick enough.
4) If the glue is drying too fast, try applying a little lacquer thinner to the brush right before dipping it into the glue.

Read this article to learn more about working with contact adhesive.

Spraying Cabinet Contact Cement

There are special systems designed for spraying contact glue. They are quit expensive. If you have a compressor, you can purchase a spray gun from a hardware store (Home Depot) and apply the glue with it. I usually just find one that costs in the neighborhood of fifty dollars and use it.

If you will be using the spray gun over several days for gluing the cabinet laminate or veneer, you can just leave the glue in the gun and clean it once when you are completely finished with the project. In our cabinet shop, we use the spray guns everyday and only have to clean them about once per month. When the guns get to the point of having too much glue on them, we pitch them and get a new one. This is only necessary about one time per year.

A) Pour the contact glue into the spray gun
B) Adjust the air and amount of glue so that it sprays a nice smooth coat, not too thick and not to thin.
C) Spray the adhesive onto the surface with long, even motions. Your pass from left to right should be about a full three foot span before going back in the opposite direction. DO NOT SPRAY WITH SHORT BACK AND FORTH MOVEMENTS.

Which ever method you choose to use, roll, brush or spray gun, for applying the contact cement to the cabinet parts, you will always clean things with lacquer thinner. Whichever you choose, always put the contact glue on in a moderate way. The application of too much adhesive will dry too slowly and may not bond well. If not enough cement is rolled on, brushed or sprayed on the cabinet plastic laminate, veneer, cabinet wood or countertop parts, this will result in having a poor bond. There’s a middle of the road consistency that will work perfectly every time. Find this application through practicing on throw away pieces.

Categories: Cabinet Making
  1. Dan
    July 16th, 2010 at 21:37 | #1

    I like this post. I’ve been re-laminating cabinets for many years. Working with contact adhesive can be tricky depending on the climate that you are working in.

    When the weather is cold the glue is rather easy to spread. If it is hot and dry in the air, like summer in South Fl., then the glue is harder to brush and roll on.

  2. admin
    July 17th, 2010 at 07:16 | #2

    Hey Dan, you are correct in everything you’ve shared! It gets rather frustrating trying to work with contact glue in really cold temperatures.

    It seems like there’s a small window of opportunity to stick the laminate at just the right time.

    During spring and summer temperatures, sticking Formica or real wood veneer with contact is almost effortless.

    If you are using a NON-flammable product cold weather is noit an option.

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