How to cut an access panel in formica?


Can anyone suggest the best way for me to cut an access door (maybe 12-18" square) in the back panel of a large worksurface? The panel is .5" particle board with some type of laminate like formica.
I know I can just drill a hole, then get a saber saw and cut the hole. But I would prefer not to leave a hole. My hope is to be able to "re-attach" the cut out part in some fashion after I fix the phone line and make it look as nice as possible. That is, (a) the thinnest, straightest possible cut, (b) the least damage to the surrounding laminate, and (c) a good way to re-attach it afterwards.
Thanks
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Given the size of the access door, I would use a thin kerf circular saw blade to make the initial cuts. Just draw the rectangle for the door with straight sides and set the saw depth for 3/8" so that you cut a groove that does not penetrate to the other side. Do this for all 4 sides of the door. Use the jigsaw to complete the cuts and make the corner cuts. For the re-attachment, use hinges on the lowest edge and a magnetic catch at the top, all mounted on the inside surfaces.
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You might want to use a "down-cut" jigsaw blade to complete the cuts. Maybe even use painters tape over the cuts to help prevent chipping the laminate. I think. Tom
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Use the painters tape before the cut? That is, cut through the tape?
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LurfysMa wrote:Use the painters tape before the cut? That is, cut through the tape? Yes, exactly. Tom
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On Fri, 05 May 2006 18:37:34 -0500, Thomas Kendrick

Why not set the saw blade to cut all the way through?

I only have access to one side unless I unload the entire worksurface and pull it away from the wall. There is maybe 4" between the back panel and the wall.

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LurfysMa wrote:

Have you thought about fishing a new phone line without cutting the back panel at all?
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Jack Novak
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Are you fixing a phone line or do you need the access door for some other purpose as well?
On Sat, 06 May 2006 09:01:22 -0400, "no(SPAM)vasys"

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On Sat, 06 May 2006 08:16:44 -0500, Thomas Kendrick

At the moment, just to fix the phone line. But I also have a lot of power cords and cat5 cables back there. It would be handy to have an access panel. I have wanted one on several other occasions. I thought about taking the back panel to someone to make an access panel when I first bought the unit. Shoulda, coulda, woulda...
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On Sat, 06 May 2006 09:01:22 -0400, "no(SPAM)vasys"

I think that would be a lot more work. It's in a home office on the second floor on an interior wall.
I need the access panel anyway to retrieve pens and pencils and gum drops that fall back there! ;-)
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