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Joints. At joints, I apply acrylic adhesive to the spline and the butting Swanstone edges. Some fabricators use suction cup clamps to hold the joined panels snug while the glue dries, but I prefer to use long pipe clamps. I also use swivel-nose Vise-Grip clamps along both sides of the seam. It takes about 30 minutes for the acrylic adhesive to set up. Before removing the clamps, I check to see if the oozed-out adhesive is dry and brittle. If it is, it’s safe to remove the clamps.

Edges.

At this point, I flip the top over on its back to glue on the edges. I squeeze a 1/4-inch zigzag bead of acrylic adhesive along the built-up edge of the substrate and another bead on the back of the Swanstone edge strips. I use lots of spring clamps to hold the edging while the adhesive sets up (Figure 4).

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Figure 4. With the top flipped upside down, the edge banding is attached with acrylic adhesive and spring clamps (top). The edging fits tight against the bottom of the overhanging top surface. After the glue sets, the counter is flipped over and the top is routed flush with the edging.

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Once I’m confident the adhesive has set up, I trim the edges with a flush-cut router bit. I finish the edges off with an orbital sander and run a belt sander along the underside of the countertop to flush up the edge with the bottom of the substrate buildup.

Mounting the Sink

It’s relatively easy to install a Swanstone undermount sink. With the countertop upside down, I center the sink in the cutout in the substrate, and mark its final placement. Then I pull the sink out and rough up the lip with 80-grit sandpaper. I apply a bead of acrylic adhesive to the top edge of the sink, set the sink back in place, and clamp it with Vise-Grip clamps (Figure 5).

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Figure 5. Deep-throat vise-grip clamps hold the undermount sink in place while the adhesive sets (top). After the top is routed flush with the sink edge (middle), the author bores holes for the faucet with a carbide-tipped hole-cutter (bottom).

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After the adhesive has set up (I usually give it an extra 30 minutes), I remove the clamps and install retaining clips, which provide additional support to the sink. Then I drill a pilot hole through the drain opening into the Swanstone, flip the top over, and rout around the sink edge with a bottom-mount bearing round-over bit.