? Laminate trimmers and tops


I have built a couple laminate counter tops, a desk top for a home office and a top for a center island over the last 6 months and on each one I have problems when using a PC laminate router with a flush bearing bit while trimming the top after doing the edges. I get the router bit into the edge banding of the project and cut into the laminate. Makes for a poor looking job with the laminate surface scarred on the edge in places. Is there a technique for keeping the trimmer from tilting slightly when routing the top? The height adjustment on the PC trimmer leaves much to be desired and there is no micro adjustment for the depth of the base. Has anyone tried the Bosh or Dewalt laminate trimmer kits versus the Porter Cable? The one I am using is an older model, (do not have the number at the moment.) Thanks for any information or guide lines CC
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A single layer of masking tape, for the bearing to ride on, will keep the cutting edged away from the laminate. Then use a file to finish the edge.
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wrote:

I will try that next time, though it will probably take more work with the glue-lam file. But I go over all the trimmed edges with one to take off the sharpness and make sure it is all trimmed flush. CC
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Just make sure the file is a 'mill' for laminate..sharp and new. The stuff just flies off...so you have to take care.
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No experience with a laminate trimmer, but I have used a full size 1 hp trimmer that is even more likely to tilt slightly when routing the edge of a laminate. What I've done is apply a layer of gel lubricate to the edge that the bearing rides on and press firmly but squarely on the router to keep it at 90 to the outer edge. If the router is cutting too close and shaving off a layer of laminate, then depending on how close it cuts, I would use some masking tape on the outer edge and then finish the edge off with a fine file or sand paper around a square block of wood held on an angle.
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Is there a way to keep the routing from tiliting into the edge? There is. See the http://www.patwarner.com/pc310_special.html link.
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Thanks Pat, I am having problems with web pages not being displayed and am trying to get that worked out with my provider. Soon as I get that fixed I will be able to go to the link and read the information there CC

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I am using a Dewalt trimmer with superb results when trimming 5/16" oak banding applied to 3/4" plywood. It comes off flush and smooth with no nicks the micro-thin veneer on the plywood.
Now don't go rushing out to by a dewalt trimmer. Its good but I doubt there is a nickel's worth of difference between it and the PC in terms of capability. There are two factors that allow me to get the results. First of all I am using a very good bit made by Amana. I am sure there are many equals out there. I've used a number of name brand bits but the Amana bits always feel like top of the heap to me. The bearing and cutting edges are lined up perfectly. I don't need to play games with masking tape. Besides, if you use masking tape, you end up with molding trimmed that is not quite flush with the surface of the plywood.
I also made a guide which could be clamped to the plywood and provide a much broader surface for the trimmer to rest on while trimming. Such a guide can be thrown together from wood scraps using a brad nailer. It makes all the difference in the world in stabilizing the trimmer.
Lastly, I think there is a bit of learned technique in handling the trimmer, just like you learn to use a hand plane. The need for precise technique goes way down when you add the aforementioned guide.
Bob
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I will be looking to buy one soon and what I have read on the Dewalt has been appealing. Also the Bosh installers kit seems to have a lot going for it. It is probably my control technique,, or lack of it, but the learning curve is taking a toll too.

The Bosh has a roller guide that seems like it would stabilize the cutter flush to the edge and top when used, but it may be problematic when going around outside corners. Probably no different when cutting the top on inside corners. I will have to do more research before buying one for myself.
Do you have a photo of the guide you made that could be posted to ABPW? thanks

Thanks for the information Bob, CC
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I just posted a couple of pictures.
Bob Houston, Texas
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I have had some bad experiences in the past with ball bearing cutters. I tend to use the solid carbide, ball-ended type with a quick smear of petroleum jelly down the frontice piece. I use a regular router on which I find the base to be adequate. I only use the trim router at ends, walls, and tight spots. As Pat says, create a wider base.
A good sharp file still feels good on laminate, but there are a few tools worth owning. Look for the Mica-knife about half way down this page: http://www.tapeease.com/LamTls.htm You might also look at the Virutex slitter, laminate shears, and the other tools.
(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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I just bought a Ridgid 6 amp laminate trimmer. R2400. Sweet! Comes with some nice guides. Variable speed, soft start motor. Well thought out and very smooth. Good hand-held size. And cheap. Just over a hundred smackeroonies up here in Kanuckistan. Probably 75 U$Buckeroonies. I had been looking for an additional trimmer, with a round-over bit in it. Small enough for my toolbox..
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