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Monday, November 23, 2015

Restoring Chipped Laminate on a Saarinen Pedestal Table


Our pedestal table has survived three moves - and in the process seen some hard knocks. It was not in perfect condition when I bought it off Craigslist. I paid $175, if memory serves, and it had many dings and scratches on the pedestal base. In our most recent move, though, the laminate top was gouged in a very prominent spot. I've been concealing the gouge with strategically placed candles that I found at Designer's Guild in Chicago. I do love these colorful candles! But to hide the chipped area, I have to place them off-center. 

It is time that I do something about this chipped laminate. But what to do?

I did some research on how to repair laminate and found this product that contractors use to fill seams on laminate counters, called, fittingly, SeamFil.

SeamFil restores chipped laminate on Saarinen pedestal table

If you are repairing a laminate counter top (or as in my case, table top), you will need the following:
  • Tube of SeamFil, color-matched to your counter top
  • SF-99 Solvent
  • Putty knife
  • Pliers and Screw driver to open solvent lid
  • Scrap piece of cardboard to mix the SeamFil on
  • Paper towels
  • Protective gloves

SeamFil and the SF-99 Solvent are manufactured by Kampel and can be purchased online at Amazon or the American Technology Inc. website, where you will also find this how-to video.



I did not try to color match by sending them a chip. I just chose their basic white. It may not prove to be a true match to my aged laminate, however, I did not want to further chip my table in order to retrieve a sample to send. I'll take the chance that it's close enough.

So, ready to repair some laminate?

restore chipped laminate on Saarinen pedestal table

Step 1: Open the can of solvent. The lid is very tight. I had to use a pliers to budge it. Once you get the cap off, use a screwdriver to break the metal seal.

restore chipped laminate on Saarinen pedestal table

Step 2: Apply solvent to a clean paper towel and thoroughly wipe the chipped area that you will be working on. Allow the solvent to dry.

restore chipped laminate on Saarinen pedestal table

Step 3: Remove the cap from the tube of SeamFil. Turn the cap around and use the convex tip to puncture the tube. Squeeze a dab of SeamFil out onto a clean piece of cardboard.

restore chipped laminate on Saarinen pedestal table

Step 4: Using your putty knife, smooth the filler back and forth until it thickens.

restore chipped laminate on Saarinen pedestal table

Step 5: Fill the gouge in your laminate with SeamFil, then scrape off the excess. Allow the filler to cure about 5 minutes.

restore chipped laminate on Saarinen pedestal table

Step 6: Apply a small amount of solvent to a clean paper towel and wipe it across your repair.

restore chipped laminate on Saarinen pedestal table

Above is my repair after one round. Note: My table gouge is particularly large and deep - much bigger than the example shown in the video. So I decided that it would look better with another round of filler.

I waited five minutes, then repeated steps 4-6. Here is how it looks after two layers of filler.

restore chipped laminate on Saarinen pedestal table


Not perfect by any means. Here's a close up - before and after two coats. You can still see an indentation. It's like a little white crater now.


The next day, I added a third coat. This time I worked the filler longer, until it started to mold and I put a dollop into the crater. I then took a piece of very thin and stiff postcard stock paper and scraped it across the mound of filler to flatten it. That filled the crater nicely.



From a distance, you can't see that there was ever a gouge.

 restore chipped laminate on Saarinen pedestal table

 It looks good enough that I can now center the candles on the table.

Symmetry is bliss!