semi-newbie has client project of laminate shelves/cabinets - questions

Hello folks
Have had moderate success on projects such as making 6 mission bookcases and have done a lot of other stuff so I'm moderately confident to attempt a paying project for a friend. He wants a wall to wall laminate counter top - Ok that seems easy and I searched on how to do that (use sticks to hold off while assembling put edges on first, trim, lay top, trim with angle bit, file to finish if needed).
The issue comes up with the base. Figured on using some common baltic birch plywood and Wilsonart laminate to match his coffee bar that was done elsewhere.
He wants a "built-in" type. Its about 90" wide, I'm using 4 base supports, they will be open with shelves for storage. I designed base supports that look like cabinet sides, with toe kick and everything. Was thinking of using my new Kreg kit to assemble the bottom fixed shelves and a back board. But.....here's where things get sketchy. How to best do some of the lamination and still be able to assemble?
Best I can figure, I'd make the fixed bottom shelves, laminate, drill bare bottom side for pocket screws. Then assemble on-site the vertical sides and add a 6" wide plain birch cross-rear support with pocket screws for stability at the top edge of the rear of cabinet and mount with pocket screws. Then spread glue and laminate the inside of the vertical supports, leaving overhang at front and top inside to be trimmed with a router and a fein type flat saw (are the harbor freight ones OK for occasional use? I'm running out of tool money lately). I'll end up with bare wood only where I can't trim close enough to the top/rear support. If I laminate first, there won't be anyway to easily use Kreg is there?
Also, I was going to use a rockler jig I had from my bookcases to make adjustable shelf holes, but have not done that on Laminate, figure its not too hard.
I have a combination blade on my tablesaw, would this be OK for cutting laminate - its reasonably sharp but have not sharpened since new and built the above bookcases and some other small projects with it.
I understand I may need like 2-3 coats of contact cement to make sure it adheres.
I have a bearing 1/4" 45 angle bit for edges, or will the flush cut bearing bit make a good junction? I have heard that people use particle board as its very smooth - granted it is, but this project is holding heavy printers and supplies like boxes of paper, so I wanted to make it 2x .75" baltic birch plywood underneath with a front edge board - or can one just glue to the side of plywood? Also, should I sand and give a quick poly wipe before gluing the main counter top to make sure it adheres?
TIA - Scott
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Kind of hard to follow all of that. What I can say is that laminate chips quick a bit when cut in a table saw with almost any blade but better with a laminate specific blade. Professionals have a specialized scoring blade in their table saws that is a little blade at the front of the saw aligned with the main blad that just cuts through the laminate.
I think maybe taping the joint before cutting it can help.
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Yea, I have read that cutting with a router bit along a straight edge is preferred. Maybe try that first. Heard scoring and bending not so good.
Basically question is: If you are trying to make laminate parts and assemble, is there a suggested technique or anything for parts that are not totally covered in laminate, say where a joint would glue together? Its pretty easy when you make a countertop and just cover the whole top, but if you need a strip where you have say, a divider on a shelf, you would have to cut that in or have the divider attach over the top of the laminate. I think I have thought through the order of assembly by writing my question actually, so I may have answered it myself!
And has anyone had any experience with this cheap knock-off of a Fein tool? I normally buy pretty good stuff like Hitachi, Dewalt, PC, but sometimes this stuff is OK for occassional use and given my many hobbies this would probably be ok. Fein is damn expensive.
http://www.harborfreight.com/multifunction-power-tool-67256.html
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*snip*

The HF multitool is well known around here. The biggest problem is everyone wants to make breaking changes to the blade connections, so one manufacturer's blade does not work with another's tool.
The general concensus seems to be it's worth the money for the tool. The tool is one of those that you don't need until you need it and then no other tool will do.
Puckdropper
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On Mon, 6 Dec 2010 10:45:38 -0800 (PST), Scott

How many numbers is the combination? <groan>

I have the opposite luck with 'em. With HF carbide blades, even. I get clean cuts with a $2 HF 7-1/4" 24T blade. Just don't let the blade extend beyond the cut more than 1 RCH.

I use a new carbide combo blade and have never had a problem. for rough cuts. I finish cut with a bearing-guided router bit.

Scoring and snapping works, but only for rough cutting.

Not with laminate, but it gives me ideas...

Just Buy One! They're outstanding, and the more you use one, the more uses you find for it. At $25 (frequent sales), they're a Must Have tool.
-- You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. --Jack London
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Scott wrote:

I have no idea but I'd do whatever it took to NOT have to lay on laminate after assembly (except for top and that's dicey too if the ends are chock-a-block to the walls).
A combo blade is going to chip so cut extra wide so chipping can be trimmed off with a router.
--

dadiOH
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I hear ye -
More I pre-plan, I think if I can make it like ikea, I can just assemble completed parts there and not need to do any laminate edging on the fly at the site. Maybe the Kreg can make big enough holes on the receiving material to let the screws bite in through the laminate?
To make it fit - I'll just have to measure pretty carefully the install. I think I can...think I can...think I can...
will cut with either sheers or router, seen both on Utube.
bought a trim router when I had a OLD Black and Decker from the '80's that actually works pretty good although adjustment is a bit rough. I have a 1/2" dewalt plunge for most stuff, but that BD is light and does OK so I keep it around. Guess maybe the trim router was a waste? Hmm... have to wait for it to be delivered.
S
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