Ashamed of my lack of router skill, but need tips to improve.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by guitchess posted 08-09-2012 03:33 AM 1908 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View guitchess's profile


85 posts in 3672 days

08-09-2012 03:33 AM

I’ve been working with wood professionally for 22 years. Built many projects some turned out very well, and others I rather not claim. In my career I have only had to build laminate counter tops with laminate edging about five times. Every time, including the latest, I have less than satisfactory results. The main culprit being the router/bit damages the laminate edge that is in place when trimming the top. I’ve had issues with the bearing gumming up with glue and burning/marring the edging, despite routinely cleaning lubricating the bit. There have been issues with the bit grabbing and chipping the edge when rounding a corner. And finally, to my embarrassment, no matter hard I work at controlling the router/laminate trimmer, I always seem to have at least one small spot where the bit has cut into the edging. Sometimes this error is obviously me allowing the router to tip, but others, like my most recent attempt, I took extra precautions and paid careful attention and still have flaws. I would really like to know how I can be so careful and have these flaws, and see others run the trimmer around the counter top like they were trying to set a world record and not.

I would greatly appreciate any tips that you folks could send my way.


8 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10252 posts in 3612 days

#1 posted 08-09-2012 03:38 AM

My advice is to stop messing around with router and bearing guides
and get a tool designed to make these cuts foolproof:
Festool MFK700, Lamello E2, or a Virutex FR292R.

View waho6o9's profile


8162 posts in 2541 days

#2 posted 08-09-2012 03:44 AM

+1 for Loren’s solid advice, in the meantime, practice like crazy
on scraps, you’ll get the hang of it.
In one shop we used a flush trim bit and then went back and broke
the edge with a file to avoid the situation you described.

View cabmaker's profile


1720 posts in 2773 days

#3 posted 08-09-2012 03:50 AM

I wood recomend a laminate trimmer (24,ooo to27,000 rpm). Forget anything with a freespinning bearing and go with what we have always called a bullet bit. Oil the edge that the bit rides on and have at it. I use straight cut only, then mica-knife and finish with a file. JB

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2232 days

#4 posted 08-09-2012 03:57 AM

are you using carbide bits my neighbors run a commercial cabinet shop and do that 24/7 I will see what they use I know it is nothing special very easy to figure out.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2777 days

#5 posted 08-09-2012 04:00 AM

I like to set the bit as shallow as possible. This minimizes the chance of cutting the edgebanding.
I use an older bosch laminate trimmer (like the Colt) and if I press down directly on the base with two fingers, it won’t tip. An offset base would gaurantee good results too.
As far as the glue – just let it dry overnight before trimming.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View guitchess's profile


85 posts in 3672 days

#6 posted 08-09-2012 04:04 AM


Thanks for the fast response. However, buying another piece of equipment, especially an expensive uni-tasker, is not really an option.

I did research the suggested options, however, and they did give me several tips that might prove useful: larger surface of base to router weight ratio and off bit guide, bearing or otherwise.


View guitchess's profile


85 posts in 3672 days

#7 posted 08-09-2012 04:16 AM

cabmaker – haven’t thought of using the “bullet bit” Always thought of those as old school and thought they would do nothing but burn the edge. They are so cheap, it may be worth another look.

Joseph Jossem- Always carbide. Actually been switching between two, to make sure that the bearings where clean and well lubed.

pintodeluxe – I also try to set as shallow as possible, but it makes the bearing gum up that much faster. A new, offset base is in the works now thanks to the equipment suggestions of Loren. Have never thought of letting the glue dry over night. It would be rather tough to be productive with a long wait time. It would be worth it for better results though.

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2541 days

#8 posted 08-09-2012 12:32 PM

I do a lot of laminate; not professionally, but for a lot of shop projects and some commissions here and there.
Here’s what I’ve found:
Using a sharp bit is important.
The most common reason the bearing digs into the face laminate is that the router is moving too slow. Try speeding up your feed rate.
You don’t need to let contact cement dry overnite; as soon as you j-roller it, it’s ready for trimming.
If you still have issues, try a different bit; whiteside, cmt and freud are all top quality bits.
A layer of masking tape on the face laminate will add an extra layer of protection.

A specific tool isn’t necessary either; I’ve trimmed tons of laminate with a cheap $60 ryobi router up to a porter cable. No difference in cut quality. Trim routers are great; I own 3, but not a necessity, more of a convenience.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics