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How carpenters remove laminate from plywood

Carpenters removing laminate from plywood
Carpenters removing Laminate from plywood furniture, photographed outside a carpenters shop in Navi Mumbai, India.

In the case of laminated plywood furniture (i.e. High Pressure Decorative Laminate sheets such as Sunmica glued over plywood) it is possible to replace the laminates if required. However this is a specialized skilled task that should be left alone for professional carpenters to do.

The image alongside shows two carpenters removing a laminate from plywood surface. One carpenter is using a flame to heat the laminate (using a kerosene blow torch), and the other carpenter is simultaneously separating the heated laminate from the plywood using a scraper like tool.

Heat helps to lessen the bonding strength of the glue, making it possible to remove the laminate. Notice the laminate pieces lying alongside. The entire laminate cannot be removed together, and has to be scraped out in small parts.

After the laminate is removed, the plywood surface is thoroughly sanded. After sanding a new laminate sheet is glued over the same plywood, and the furniture starts looking like new again.

Warning: Do not try this yourself at home or anywhere else. There is a serious fire risk involved in the procedure described, that can cause loss of life and property. Hire a skilled professional carpenter who has the right experience to do this job for you. The information on this page is about how professional carpenters do this job, and it is only meant for general knowledge and should not be emulated.