Cutting a laminate coutertop?


I need to install a small section of counter top in a corner. This is in a house about an hour away from my workshop. My plan was to buy an off the shelf section at Loews, cut it to fit, bring it up and install it. I thought I would take all the measurements, then cut the straight piece I buy at a 45 (or whatever angle it works out to as it is an old house) and then bring it up and install it. Can you cut this stuff with a table saw or will the laminate chip off? I can't see any other way of doing it as it has the back splash on it.
-Jim
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You can use a table saw, just get a laminate cutting blade (yes it is a special blade).
S

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*And* be sure the line you're planning on cutting is free of staples (especially since you mentioned the backsplash). They work wonders on your brand spanky new laminate blade.
jc

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You may want to consider purchasing two pieces that are already cut to 45 degree. The straight cuts are much easier to make. Most home centers sell it this way. You can buy matching end caps to finish the ends.
You can use a circular saw wilth a fine carbide blade cutting from the back side. Do a test cut on a waste end with the blade you have. Purchase a fine tooth if you need to.
I set the blade to cut through the material by just 1/4". Make a straight edge by cutting two pieces of 1" x 6" material, one the width of the counter top and one the width of the backsplash.
Screw the two pieces together making a 90 degree angle. |________
Screw the straight edge to the back side of the counter top and backsplash.(don't screw throught the top) Offset the straight edge by the distance from the saw plate to your blade. Cut the top following the straight edge.
You can make the counter fit the angle in the house by scribing it. Place the assembled counter top in place Using a compass, scribe along the wall marking the backsplash overhang. Use a belt sander to sand to your line. Hold the sander at an angle so that the formica edge protrudes and makes contact with the wall.
Done it many times, hope it works for you.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Do what Tom said.
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"You may want to consider purchasing two pieces that are already cut to 45 degree. The straight cuts are much easier to make. Most home centers sell it this way. You can buy matching end caps to finish the ends....<snip>"
Tom,
Thank you for all the info, it will make life a lot easier.
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Unless his walls are unusually square he may find that the precut 45s won't fit his corner properly.
Greg Guarino
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: I need to install a small section of counter top in a corner. This is : in a house about an hour away from my workshop. My plan was to buy an : off the shelf section at Loews, cut it to fit, bring it up and install : it. I thought I would take all the measurements, then cut the straight : piece I buy at a 45 (or whatever angle it works out to as it is an old : house) and then bring it up and install it. Can you cut this stuff : with a table saw or will the laminate chip off? I can't see any other : way of doing it as it has the back splash on it.
Unless you have a nice big sliding table I wouldn't try this on a TS. A circular saw would work better -- flip the countertop over so the laminate side is underneath. You'll have to do it in two gos -- once for the main counter, once for the backsplash. I recommend cutting the backspash first. You can attach a jig to the back of the countertop & backspash to guide the saw.
    -- Andy Barss
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All the other advice is good- I'd only add this bit:
If you're mating 45* angles, which is how I read it, it's a good idea to use biscuts or splines all along the joint. It'd save you a lot of trouble when it comes to installing, especially if the tops of the cabinets are out of plane at all.
If you have the option, you might want to rough cut it a little oversized, and then sand down to your mark with a belt sander or use a router to make the final pass. I've never chipped it with the router or sander, but I've done it with a saw, even with the laminate blade.
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All the above comments seem quite helpful ... I would add my two bits though.
I am no countertop expert; but, I did a countertop a few weeks ago. What I did was to go to Home Depot and buy the tops with backsplashes already cut at 45 degrees. I then took these tops to a professional countertop shop and had them "tie" them together. They cut an elaborate series of notches (3) along each edge and tied them together with mechanical "clamps" after applying appropriate glue. These clamps were on the underside, and were covered over with a 3/4 inch thick piece of particleboard. This gave me a very secure joining of the two pieces at the corner. I paid about $100 for the total work ... joining of 4 separate pieces of countertop (two L-shapes. They came out just perfect. Yes, the corners of my walls were pretty close to right angles before I started. In my case the expense was well worth it.
Bob
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