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cutting laminate for shop surface - what tool to use

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Forum topic by BB1 posted 03-10-2016 02:29 PM 801 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BB1

483 posts in 309 days


03-10-2016 02:29 PM

I purchased a little router table off CL and want to resurface the top. I bought a sheet of laminate and need to be able to cut a section – including a cutout hole in the middle to fit around the router opening. I did some Internet searching and it would appear that using my jig saw “might” be my best option. If so, would there be a blade recommended? Assuming the more teeth the better? To avoid tearing will taping be enough or are there other considerations? I appreciate any suggestions.


20 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3928 posts in 1954 days


#1 posted 03-10-2016 02:34 PM

I would use a jig saw to cut the hole close to the line, and then flush trim with a router bit. But to cut the sheet down to size I’ve always used my tablesaw. I put a little piece of aluminum angle on the fence (double stick tape) to keep the edge of the laminate from sliding under the fence. It cuts more smoothly if you use a high tooth count, megative hook blade, but I generally just use the combo that’s usually on the saw; same thing cut close, adn trim it back with a router once it’s glued to the substrate.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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BB1

483 posts in 309 days


#2 posted 03-10-2016 02:37 PM

Fred. Thank you. Followup question – for the router – would I need to use a straight cut bit?

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2190 posts in 941 days


#3 posted 03-10-2016 02:47 PM

Any flush cut bit will work for what you’re doing but a laminate trimming bit does a better job.

+1 on TS. I’ve used the scoring knife method but don’t like it.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3038 days


#4 posted 03-10-2016 02:48 PM

I just finished installing 300 sq ft of laminate,You can use a table saw with a fine blade and the blade lowered just enough the cut the laminate with a slow feed rate and as Fred suggested clamp something on you fence to keep the laminate from sliding underneath the fence.
You can also use a board underneath as a guide and a flush cut router bit in your router.
Depending on your blade and saw I don’t think I would use a jig saw.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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BB1

483 posts in 309 days


#5 posted 03-10-2016 02:55 PM

Sorry…few more questions. For the table saw cuts, should I put the “good” side face up or face down? Also since the sheet is huge, would it work to cut to rough size with a circular saw (laying on a sheet of insulation).

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

651 posts in 401 days


#6 posted 03-10-2016 03:01 PM

There are specialty blades for cutting laminate on a TS, but Freud makes a pretty good blade for cutting laminate and it’s inexpensive. I’ve used it in the past with good results for laminate and for plexiglass. And as Jim said, keep the blade height to a minimum. I think a jigsaw would present problems. It would have to be supported well on both sides of the blade to minimize chipping as the blade will want to push and pull the material. A ZC throat plat and ultra thin kerf will cut like butter.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

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builtinbkyn

651 posts in 401 days


#7 posted 03-10-2016 03:01 PM

Good side up just like any other material.


Sorry…few more questions. For the table saw cuts, should I put the “good” side face up or face down? Also since the sheet is huge, would it work to cut to rough size with a circular saw (laying on a sheet of insulation).

- BB1


-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3038 days


#8 posted 03-10-2016 03:05 PM

If you use a circular saw make sure you have a very fine blade and make sure you are a good distance away from your finish size just in case of chipping or cracking. It should.nt make any difference which side you have up but generally on sheet goods you have the good side up.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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BB1

483 posts in 309 days


#9 posted 03-10-2016 03:06 PM

Great. I have a thin kerf blade and ZC insert. May pick up a laminate cutting bit this morning (good excuse to wander the tool section).

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builtinbkyn

651 posts in 401 days


#10 posted 03-10-2016 03:13 PM

Jim I’ve used that blade on my TS as it has a bore for 5/8” arbor. I built cabinets and components for my reef tank fish room and wasn’t going to spend a lot on something that was going to get limited use. Worked fine even on my Bosch JSS.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3038 days


#11 posted 03-10-2016 03:25 PM

Not sure what blade you talking about. If you need a saw blade with fine teeth you really don’t need a carbide tooth blade for one-time use .

http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=32104596&cp=2568443.2568450.2628094.2629277.2629331.2629333

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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builtinbkyn

651 posts in 401 days


#12 posted 03-10-2016 03:30 PM

That’s even less expensive than the Freud blade. :) Looks like a good option.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

View xeddog's profile

xeddog

115 posts in 2468 days


#13 posted 03-10-2016 05:58 PM

If cutting a whole 4×8 sheet of laminate, I will usually use a die grinder with cutoff wheel to get the sheet into more manageable sized pieces. Hold your nose when doing this. :-) When I get the pieces down to a size I feel comfortable with, the TS with a 60 tooth TCG grind blade works well. For cutting a hole in the middle, after the top was laminated I would probably drill a hole in the area where the opening needs to be (maybe with something like a 1” or larger hole saw), and then use a router with flush trim bit to finish it.

Wayne

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shipwright

7165 posts in 2259 days


#14 posted 03-10-2016 09:06 PM

Maybe I’m missing something but I would have expected the general answer to have been:
- Cut the piece oversize with just about any saw or router with bearing guide or fence
- Contact cement it in place
- Trim the edges with a bearing guided straight router bit.
- Trim out the centre hole either with a piercing laminate trimming bit or just break out the centre with a punch and use your bearing guided bit. You won’t crack the laminate past the glue line (or at least I never have and I’ve don it a lot)

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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kiefer

4881 posts in 2128 days


#15 posted 03-10-2016 11:19 PM

+1 what Paul said.
Get a bottom bearing bit for the router and clamp the sheet to the router table top and let it hang over an inch on two edges and cut the laminate with the bit .Glue on the laminate and route the edges and done. Punch a in the router plate opening and cut it out . Beveling the edges is also a good thing and can easily be done with a forty five degree bit .Before gluing make sure to roughen the old table surface with a bit of sandpaper to remove the gloss and clean well to remove any grease .

Klaus

-- Kiefer https://www.youtube.com/user/woodkiefer1/videos

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