Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Interior Improvement Center > Carpentry, Cabinetry and Interior Woodworking
Reload this Page >

Need suggestion for cutting formica counter from the top - which tool is best?

Need suggestion for cutting formica counter from the top - which tool is best?

Reply

  #1  
Old 11-09-12, 10:28 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 339
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Need suggestion for cutting formica counter from the top - which tool is best?

Need to cut about 8 inches off a 10' countertop. Would an oscillating multi-tool with a flush-cut bit do the job cleanly, or is there a better approach? Thanks for your advice!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 11-09-12, 10:43 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,308
Received 46 Votes on 43 Posts
Circular saw with a guide clamped into place and a plywood blade would be my choice. Tape the spot where you intend to cut to minimize chipping.
 
  #3  
Old 11-09-12, 11:18 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 339
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks, Mitch17. I've always heard that using a circular saw from the top was a sure way to chip the formica, though. Seems that there should be a better tool for the job. I've got a multi-tool, and a RotoZip with the saw attachment. I'm wondering if one of those might be better, since they wouldn't be rotating in the "wrong" direction.
 
  #4  
Old 11-09-12, 11:21 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,308
Received 46 Votes on 43 Posts
I've always heard that using a circular saw from the top was a sure way to chip the formica, though
Thus my suggestion of putting tape along the area to be cut.
 
  #5  
Old 11-09-12, 11:56 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 3,188
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
You can get a good cut from the top with a jigsaw as long as you use a down cut blade. If you use a circular saw use a thin kerf blade designed for laminate.
 
  #6  
Old 11-09-12, 01:00 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 20,788
Received 187 Votes on 174 Posts
A circular saw can cut laminate cleanly if you are careful. Use a sharp, fine to medium toothed blade and keep the saw moving slow and steady. Another trick I've done is about 1/32" in from where I will saw cut I deeply score the surface with a knife. Flaking that does occur breaks off and stops at the scored line.
 
  #7  
Old 11-09-12, 01:38 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 339
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the helpful ideas, guys! Any thoughts on the multi-tool or Roto-Zip for this type of cut? If anyone is pretty sure they're not a good way to go, I'll go the jigsaw or circular route.
 
  #8  
Old 11-09-12, 02:03 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,308
Received 46 Votes on 43 Posts
I wouldn't use either for this job.
 
  #9  
Old 11-09-12, 02:08 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 52,608
Received 338 Votes on 316 Posts
multi tool and roto zip would work but would be just about impossible to make a neat cut. You'd be filing forever.

@ Dane.....great idea scoring the formica like that.
 
  #10  
Old 11-09-12, 02:36 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 339
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
@mitch17 and @PJmax - I was concerned about control, too. Thought maybe I could use a straightedge guide to get a clean cut, but I'll take your word for it that I should try something else. Thanks also to Wayne and Dane - great suggestions.
 
  #11  
Old 11-09-12, 03:17 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 20,788
Received 187 Votes on 174 Posts
If you try a roto zip make sure you have a lot of bits. If you're just cutting Formica it's fine but through thicker material the bit likes to flutter and snap.
 
  #12  
Old 11-09-12, 04:13 PM
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 23,116
Received 192 Votes on 179 Posts
Rather than scoring with a utility knife, a carbide tipped laminate scoring tool will cut a deeper groove, especially by dragging it repeatedly along your straightedge.



image credit: amazon dot com

Why are you cutting it from the top in the first place? Is the countertop installed and it's not practical to take it off and flip it over so you can cut from the back side with a skilsaw?
 
  #13  
Old 11-09-12, 04:33 PM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,947
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Try flipping the top over when using the circular saw and cut from the bottom side. Since you have 10" to cut off, you can test the quality of finish on the section you will be throwing away anyhow.

Another way to use the circular saw is with a straight edge clamped to the top. The first cut you make will put the blade about 1/32" to 1/16" below the surface. Then make a second cut with the blade at full depth.

A third open is to cut the top about 1/8" away from finish size. Then trim the rest off using a straight edge and a flush trim router bit.
 
  #14  
Old 11-09-12, 07:28 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 339
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks, @xsleeper and @drooplug. No, it's not practical at this point to flip the counter. Possible, but not practical. Was hoping to just remove one 18" end cabinet below and cut off the extra length. Unfortunately, a router is one tool I'm short on, so I'll have to use one of the other approaches, or bite the bullet and flip the top.

Thanks for the warning, @Pilot Dane!
 
  #15  
Old 11-09-12, 11:00 PM
BridgeMan45's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 3,196
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I recently took 5" off a new formica bathroom slab, to make it fit the old vanity under it. Thought it would be easier doing it with the slab fastened in place (it was), since I didn't have to hold or clamp it steady while sawcutting. I used a portable jig saw with a very fine-toothed blade, running it as slow as I could to avoid heat damage to the blade and slab. Had to use a Dremel tool (with thin steel wheel) for the inside corner at the backsplash. I also scored the finished line first as suggested by others, and made my cut about 1/16" away from the score line. Used a belt sander to pretty-up the cut, then glued a matching formica end piece on. Did a final trim of the corner with a Flexwheel (Makita) in a 4" angle grinder.
 
  #16  
Old 11-10-12, 05:22 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 339
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Wow, @BridgeMan45 - that was some creative DIY work! Thanks for the details and tips.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: