cutting formica type laminate

Posted something similar over on alt.home.repair but thought I'd try for some wisdom on this group. I'm building some cabinet drawers that will have bottoms made of ply laminated with butcher block design laminate. Since I have several to make, I'll be cutting quite a bit of laminate. I'm trying to use razor knives and/or utility knives but it jest don't seem right. There must be a better way. My shop is equipped pretty well, so suggestions about using just about any kind of tool will more than likely be appropriate. Any tricks of the trade by someone with experience will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks:
Bob
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Bob wrote:>Posted something similar over on alt.home.repair but thought I'd try for

scoring cut first, i.e. light pass on the tablesaw, then full depth. Tom Someday, it'll all be over....
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Thanks Tom. What I'm talking about here is cutting pieces out of a full 4 by 8 piece of laminate, much too unwieldy for safe TS operation. I have managed to get one piece cut and laminated to 11/32 ply. That results in a piece that cuts like butter on the TS. No chipout, no nuthin'. The next post by Mark shows a special tool to do exactly what I believe need. Didn't know such a critter existed. Live and learn. Guess I'll be gettin' one of those. Thanks Mark.
Bob

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I've had good luck using a router with a 1/4 straight bit to pre-cut large thin pieces of plywood, might work for laminate too. Put it on some 2x4s on the floor, with one right on each side of the cut, and clamp a straightedge to the top to guide the router.
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One option would be to cut manageable size pieces from the sheet, say 2'x4', what ever works best for you. Use a tool like Mark's or a jigsaw to cut the smaller pieces, then run those on the TS to the final size you want.
HTH, Jeffo

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Go get a tool like this one along with a good straight edge and score away!
http://www.amanatool.com/handtools/20003.html

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Kind of tool works great. Bend the two pieces toward the score, not away from it. Doesn't seem natural, but it works better that way. I usually score lightly the first pass so the cutter won't wander away from the straightedge. Then, I score once again with a fair amount of pressure. It doesn't take a deep score to work.
Preston

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Just run it through the tablesaw. Cut the piece 1-2" oversize in both dimensions, dont worry about chipping. Cement the piece in place, then use a flush trim router bit or bullet bit to trim it flush. Wherever two pieces of laminate share an edge, use a bevel bit set for really light cut to lightly chamfer the edges so the user doesnt slice his/her fingers off on the sharp laminate corners.
On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 11:25:12 -0800, Bob Jones wrote:

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Cut the laminate slightly over sized on you TX and use a flush trim bit in your router to trim after glueing it down.

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<snip>I'll be cutting quite a bit of laminate. I'm trying

I find that after scoring the snap comes out better if you fold the laminate towards the scored side of the sheet. It may seem more logical to snap away from the score but this results in a more ragged snap.
Also, if your in the field a virutex hand slitter is a nice tool to have to do edging, but is unecessary if you are near a tablesaw.
Aloha, Russell
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On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 11:25:12 -0800, "Bob Jones"

I've got a laminate shear that works great. Don't remember where I bought it but it looks something like this...
http://www.klenktools.com/Main/Products/LaminateShearsNew.asp
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Judging from the other replies, I must be misunderstanding the end result here. For drawer bottoms, why not cut a piece of ply large enough for all the bottoms, laminate that piece, then cut the bottoms on the table saw ? What am I missing ?
jim bailey

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Bob- I use a fiber-reinforced cut-off wheel on a pneumatic die grinder to cut out the pieces from a full sheet. (Note: If you have a Dremel tool and have some fiber-reinforced wheels, you can do the same but will take longer). Anyway, I cut the pieces slightly over-sized. Precision isn't crucial, so I make the cuts somewhat larger than the finished product. I then bond the laminate to the panels, using a flush laminate bit to cut off the excess.
BTW, Use a respirator. I don't know what's in this stuff but the dust can't be good you--and I don't take any chances. -- KayCee North Alabama Woodchipper

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Thanks to all who answered. What I wound up doing was turn the sheet good face down on an old sacrificial sheet of ply, scribed the cut lines with pencil on the back (up) side, and cut with a small circular saw with a plywood blade set to about 1/16 beyond the thickness of the laminate. I could have used a straightedge guide but was able to freehand with ample accuracy for my need. This resulted in no chipout of the good (down) side at all. When I laminate to the drawer bottom substrate, I place the laminate just a fraction inside one good edge of the substrate leaving a good edge for the TS fence to trim to size. Lots of good old G.I. ingenuity in your responses. Thanks again.
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bob=and= snipped-for-privacy@intergate.com says...

blunt.looks like a linoleum knife but with a small tungsten tip.score it twice and break.I worked in shopfitting for years and have glued metres of laminate on site and always cut it with one of these chaps check out this link its pretty much the same thing http://store.yahoo.com/olfablades/5012.html Russell
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