Cutting laminate

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Forum topic by botanist posted 11-19-2010 05:36 PM 2437 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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166 posts in 2958 days

11-19-2010 05:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: laminate

I’m hoping to glue some laminate onto a router table project but I’m unclear about how to rough cut it to size. I’ll do the final sizing with a router bit once the laminate is glued to the table top. Does anyone out there have any advice for how to cut laminate? I’m working with a 4×8 sheet and I can’t use the table saw, so that’s out. Can I score it and snap it? Use a regular jig saw?

11 replies so far

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3441 days

#1 posted 11-19-2010 06:25 PM

That’s the way I do it. Just score it and snap it off. You can use a straight edge to make sure the pressure is applied to the scratch mark.
Use a good quality flush cut trimmer. I have had disasters using some from C H I N A !

The bearings fiailed During the final cut and scored the laminate.
Call me cured.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View RalphBarker's profile


80 posts in 2189 days

#2 posted 11-19-2010 06:35 PM

Or, you could use this as an excuse to buy a Festool TS55 circular saw with precision guide rail, laminate-cutting blade and zero clearance insert. Clean cuts right out of the chute. ;-)

View crank49's profile


3979 posts in 2390 days

#3 posted 11-19-2010 06:58 PM

+1 on the “score and snap”

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 2966 days

#4 posted 11-19-2010 09:22 PM

We just submitted a large bid for a commercial job that will be all melamine and laminated. I think we are just going to go with a high quality melamine TS blade and add a jig to the TS fence so the laminate does not jam under the fence and we should be in good business. That I think is the most economical way to go.

-- .

View eastside's profile


97 posts in 2681 days

#5 posted 11-20-2010 02:29 AM

Put a wood straight edge under it were you want to cut and clamp it. Then cut with a bearing cutter in the router.

-- Mike, Westport MA.

View davcefai's profile


37 posts in 2816 days

#6 posted 11-20-2010 09:46 PM

I have never been very good at score and snap – it snaps, but not always cleanly.

However this works very well: set a circular saw to a very light cut so that it goes through the top layer and heavily scores the under layer. Then snap.

If you set the saw up properly you do not need any backing to the laminate and can work on the floor with large sheets.

-- David

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


684 posts in 2692 days

#7 posted 11-21-2010 01:42 AM

You can try a laminate cutter. I bought mine at Lowes but I think Home Depot also sells them. Quite inexpensive, really.

It consists of a plastic handle much like a utility knife. The blade is like a linoleum knife only much heavier gauge with a single carbide tooth at the tip.

Using a straight edge, you score the laminate’s “good” side once or twice. You get a relatively deep score. Then carefully snap it. I’ve never had a problem. No delamination, nothing.

I always cut my laminate to be both long and wide of the final dimension. Then glue it down with contact cement and trim it to the final dimension with a trim router. Depending upon what I want the final result, I use either a flush cutting bit or a chamfer bit, both of which have bearings.

Good luck. Cheers!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2550 days

#8 posted 11-21-2010 05:04 AM

Just cut it on the table saw. Any blade (except a rip blade) will cut it just fine. Just don’t let it slide under the fence. We usually use some 1/8” or 1/4” masonite around the fence to prevent this. Once you learn how to hold it, it’s actually pretty easy to cut 4×8 sheets by yourself.

-- Gerry,

View cabs4less's profile


235 posts in 2181 days

#9 posted 11-21-2010 05:40 AM

dont score it its not a sure bet you can double stick tape it to a piece of 1/4 ply and skill saw or table saw wit no problems

-- As Best I Can

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 2478 days

#10 posted 11-21-2010 06:27 AM

I just cut it with either a circular saw (if the piece is too big to manage on the table saw) or on the table saw and then use the appropriate flush trim bit in a router. I don’t know if it was a problem with the bit that I was using, but, although the bearing was working properly, the blade was nicking the surface. My solution was to put one strip of masking tape along where the bearing would role. This protected the laminate and made it trim nice and flush.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View botanist's profile


166 posts in 2958 days

#11 posted 11-22-2010 07:22 PM

Thanks for the tips everyone! I was able to rough cut it to size with my table saw with no troubles.

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