Cutting formica - any tips?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by r.h. in okla., Aug 1, 2004.

  1. I'm getting ready to resurface a couple of counter tops and bought formica to place on top. What is the best way to cut it? Can I use a jig saw? I'm told it can chip real easy or crack if I put too much pressure on it. Any tips will be much appreacated.
     
  2. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I cut the formica about a inch larger on all sides than I need for te new countertop. Glue in down with contact cement. Then take your router with a formica trim bit (cuts flush and has a small roller to keep the bit from gouging the sides of the countertop) and cut in and trim flush all around. Then glue on sides and trim again. Last take a file and make a 45 where the two pieces of vinyl meet.
     

  3. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I do the same thing as yuccaflats with the laminate. I do not edge with the laminate however. Instead, before laying the laminate top in place I use hardwood around the edge of the counter top. I sand to get the hardwood edge on the top to match up exactly with the counter top. The laminate is then glued with the laminate protruding over the hardwood edging. Then I use a router with a beveled bit to cut the top edge of the hardwood/laminate on a 45 degree angle and about 1/4 inch across. Then the hardwood edge is stained and sealed using tung oil. This gives an attractive edge that can take a lot of abuse.
     
  4. SRSLADE

    SRSLADE Well-Known Member

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    Jig saws would'nt be the first choice. Try a skill saw with a good plywood blade. I get good results by laying the formica flat on plywood and cutting on this nice flat surface. Leave some extra for trimming as it's hard to get a perfect cut. If it's a curved cut, cut it larger and trim it with a router. Trim bits work great.
     
  5. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    Safety first---if you use the "Flammable" glue be sure to work outdoors or in an area well ventilated. Think of it as being like propane or other gas, i.e. flash fire should the fumes be triggered by a spark, hot water heater, etc.

    When cutting with a rotary blade such as a plywood toothed saw blade in a circular saw or on a table saw, cut from the back side so that the blade is pulling the finish layed against the backing. This keeps down the chipping.

    I've used table saws with fine toothed blades to cut sheets slightly oversized. Works great.

    Once glued in place I used a rasp to get the edge close to where I wanted it, then finished with a fine mill file. Left a professional looking job.

    Now I have the proper equipment and use a router with laminate trimming bit.

    Be sure to follow the directions on the glue can and you should get along fine.
     
  6. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    I sometimes use wide tape where I'm going to make my cut to keep it from cracking if it is a narrow piece. If you have to butt joint a seam try to make them factory edges. Put the glue on the countertop and formicia and give it 30 minutes to dry. I put dowels about 8" apart on the counter and lay the formicia on it and pull the dowels out one at a time to lay the formica without sticking the whole thing down at once.


    mikell
     
  7. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Or you can just use the file if you dont have a router,it still makes a nice clean edge.
    BooBoo
     
  8. SRSLADE

    SRSLADE Well-Known Member

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    Right you are Boo Boo but cut a little closer to what you want.If you need to clamp a straight edge on to guide your saw.
     
  9. Well I don't have a router and I hate to go buy one just for a small job not knowing when the next time I might use it again. So might I ask...What if I run a strip of masking tape on both sides of the formica sheet where I need to cut and then use a jig saw to make the cut? Will this keep it from chipping?
     
  10. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    The tape won't hurt but give yourself 1/4 to 1/2" to play with and put the factory edge on the front if you can. Just fit it to your likeing before the glue.

    mikell
     
  11. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    If I recall my dad cut it with a hacksaw,but its been a long time,might try a sample?
    BooBoo
     
  12. JohnD

    JohnD New Member

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    I've had good luck just scoring the laminate with a box knife. It's not efficient but cheaper than a router.

    Measure slightly oversize as the others mentioned. Lay the laminate face up, protecting it with newspaper etc. so it doesn't get scratched. Lay a straightedge along the line and use the box knife to score the material. Go over the cut again and again until it's at least 1/2 way through. Then just snap it like a piece of glass. Make sure you score all the way from end to end. I've missed the last little fraction at the end and chipped off a corner.

    John