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Old 07-18-2013, 10:55 AM
moriah moriah is offline
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: NJ, USA ♂
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How to put a smooth seal/coating on a bumpy plastic table top

So, you know those lightweight plastic tables that has replaced the heavier laminated pressed-sawdust tables? They're great in being very lightweight and resistant to chipping. But the problem with them is they are not laminated with a smooth surface. Indeed, they have a very rough and grainy surface difficult to write smoothly on and great for capturing spilled food and drink in the little nooks and crannies, and thus, difficult to clean.

So, let's say I wanted to apply an epoxy like finish to these tables, one that is strong (resists chipping), non toxic (you can place food on it and pick it up and eat it), non flammable (a missed ashtray won't cause it to burst into flames), and would stick to the table top and not peel up. What would I use?

I don't need anything so thick as to embed coins and stuff in it like one sees at some restaurants.
Old 07-18-2013, 11:35 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
Use a clear coat table epoxy resin. I don't know if you'll have a chemical reaction though, so test it first.
Old 07-18-2013, 12:10 PM
beowulff beowulff is offline
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Scottsdale, more-or-less
Posts: 15,288
Before you commit to epoxy, test it on a small area first. Epoxy will not adhere to "low surface energy" plastics, like polypropylene. If the table is made out of that type of plastic, the epoxy will just peel off.

Last edited by beowulff; 07-18-2013 at 12:11 PM.
Old 07-18-2013, 01:47 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
It's probably best to just pay attention to what you buy in the first place. There's always the old way they saved wooden desks from damage in the past. They had a sheet of glass over them, you could use a sheet of clear plastic bought at the lumber yard.
Old 07-19-2013, 09:03 AM
Isilder Isilder is online now
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 4,210
You could put wood over the top, to make it look more like a table.
(glass would show the plastic. Or you could put a picture below the glass but above the plastic.)
Old 07-19-2013, 09:47 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: F.O.S.O.N.E.
Posts: 19,903
Glue a layer of hardboard to the top,using generous amounts of a silicone adhesive. (It may not have a lot of stick to the plastic in spots, but as a whole sheet it will very likely never come loose and the adhesive will never degrade.) Finish the edges as smoothly as you can before you do the final gluing and clamping. Lightly sand the top surface and paint the whole thing with several coats of a paint designed for plastics (like Krylon for Plastics).

Or sell it on Craigslist and go buy a table with a smooth top. I know what you mean about the surface; we have a regular meeting in a room equipped with these Costco specials and everyone has to remember to bring a clipboard to write on.


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