# Damaging a counter when cutting the 45 degree of an "L" shaped countertop...

Hi all,
Yesterday I tried to put the new melamine countertop (Kober) to my kitchen with awful results: I should buy a new one and redo everything. The principal problem was to cut the 45degree to make the two pieces to meet in the vertice of the "L" I could not make the two pieces to join in an acceptable (not only for my wife but for myself) way. After recutting and strightening both angled cuts some times I ended with one of the pieces shorter than planned for more than 2 inches, but the worse of all was that the length of the two cuts were different. I mean when you try to align the two pieces in the "L" vertex, if you make the front of the counter to match, then the back of one of the pieces was longer by a half inch than the other piece. My answer is the angle is not 45 degree exactly. One of the pieces have an angle greather than the other. Even I make both to get aligned, the difference in angle makes one of the cuts to be longer than the other. To make the things worse (or better?) I make an error cutting the sink so I should throw away one of the pieces. Then I'm facing the same problem for the next weekend: How to cut a perfect 45 angle for the countertop? The available tools are: a circular saw, a jigsaw, a small 1hp router, a miter saw. I marked the 45 degree by using a scholar rule (such that have the shape of a rectangle triangle, sorry, I don't know how to spell this in english) Then I fixed a fence to the bottom side of the counter and make the first cut with the circular saw. There where many problems: The bottom side of the counter is not flat. It has a protuberance at the leading edge. Other problem is the trailing edge that forms the back of thr counter is too high to be cutted by the circular saw so I should finish the cut with a hand saw. Other problem I identify is that after make the angled cut I made the other side cuts (I mean the stright angle cuts) on the other extreme of the pieces. I wanted to test the angled cuts by putting the pieces right over the base cabinets, and to do that I needed to size both pieces to fit into the kitchen. It was an error: The angled cuts were not good enought to fit on the first shoot, so I needed to recut and restright resulting in shortening the length of both pieces. My plan for the next attempt is to make a replica of the angled walls of the kitchen. Then first cut the 45 degrees angles and redo that cut up to fit. Then after that cut both pieces to the right length. To cut the 45 degrees may be I use the mitter saw. Just to be able to cut the extra height of the counter back, and to mark the right angle for cutting the rest with the circular saw or by using first the jigsaw and strighten after that with the router. Other ideas?
Any suggestion for well doing this job is welcomed. Thanks for your patience for reading this looooooong post Sammy
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SammyBar wrote:

<snip>
First, have you checked that the walls actually meet at a 90 degree angle? You might want to verify that first.
As for the cut itself...maybe just pay a custom countertop place to cut it for you?
Chris
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Next time I'll verify that. I plan to do a template of the angle to verify the cut

No. I've asked with some counter sellers and nobody makes the job. It looks like there is no such service in Veracruz, Mexico.... :-(
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SammyBar wrote:
SNIP

Sammy
I would have a counter top shop come out and measure/cut/fit if it needs to be mitered. By the time I figure out how long it takes to go pick up the top, set it up for cut, adjust for correct angle on the miter, cut out the sink and then install the top... I haven't saved but a few bucks doing it myself.
I have chipped too many tops in transit and spent wayyyy too long trying to get a field cut miter correct.
OTOH, if you insist on doing it, most of the places where you buy the postform can tell you who can cut it for you. But you will still be liable for safe transportation of the top to and from the site to the cutter, all measurements, fit, and installation. Knowing what you know now, get a quote and see what the difference is between continuing on yourself (and looking at your work you might or might not be happy with for several more years) or having someone do it for you.
Robert
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It appears that you are using "post-formed" countertop material.
http://homedepot.com.mx/hdmx/esmx/index.shtml
This is available from LOWES and Home Depot to order and in sections with the 45 already cut (fewer colors available but left and right pieces in stock).
Best bet is to order sections from Lowes/HD and order a SCRIBE Back (excess laminate to allow scribing to walls which are not as square as they can make the counter top.
HD Used to send a guy out to measure for \$30 and credit same to the cost of the counter top ordered (so "Measure" was free) and would warranty a fit!
Granted, this is usually a more expensive route, but if you are sure you can screw it up as you have proven so far) it may prove cheaper for you to get a semi-custom counter top this way.

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Thanks for sharing all that. I enjoyed reading it.
I wouldn't have the gonads to post it though.
wrote:

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The truth truly liberates....
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Buy some 1/4" pressboard, and practice until you get it right. Then use the pressboard as a guide for the router.
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SammyBar wrote:

To get the correct angle you'll want to bisect it. Use the process described here to do it http://www.sonoma.edu/users/w/wilsonst/Courses/Math_100/C-S/Angle_bisector.html that way both angled cuts will be the same length. Sounds like a right pain, good luck :)
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thats a great start. I wonder how accurate a cut using that layout technique is when cutting with a circ saw?
Is this how one would approach this?: Assuming that the ends of the counters are square and right at the ends you could calculate the distance from the ends to the meeting inside corner, then do the geometry twice, once on each piece, with the calculated distances above to start the point (A) on each piece.
Wait, theres something missing. You could lay up a piece to assist layout, but can't do both at once. I prefer calculus.
Besides the fact the cut is iffy, and the filler, overlapping glue-on may be the way to go
-
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Put one uncut sheet on. Coat the end of it with spray adhesive of a sort that doesn't ooze, but which you can easily clean off. put cardboard on the other branch as a spacer. lay the second sheet in IT's place overlapping the first, so that the spray adhesive sticks it in place.
Once it dries, pull them out a little and clamp, because you can't trust adhesive.
Then cut from the inside corner to the outside corner through BOTH sheets similtaneously. Cut a serpentine line, just to prove you can.
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SammyBar wrote:

Can you cut both parts at the same time? I needed to do similar with plywood (I did my countertop different, will get to that in a bit). I laid one sheet on one side, then the other on top of the first then clamped them together, carefully slid them out together after making a few marks to check that they didn't move, then marked one line and cut both at the same time, that way the cuts lined up together. For my countertop I used the laminate sheets you glue down yourself. I had an L shaped section so I placed two thin sheets of material down, one long and one short, then a second layer on top of that with the long sheet on top of the shorter one and the shorter one on top of the longer one so they interlocked, then glued the laminate down and patched it together at the tink so there was only a short joint in front of and behind the sink.
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That is the only practical way to do an in-home laminate countertop; use sheets of laminate and glue on top of a substrate of either particle board or MDF. The postformed mitre is a huge problem that only a 16" blade on a beam saw can cure. But...never put seams anywhere near the sink. Also silicone the rough edge of the hole for the sink. make it waterproof as much as possible. Forget about backsplashes, tile down to the deck.
r
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I forgot to mention that the sheets of laminate come in a better grade than the thin post-formed variety. Use a wood front edge, make it flush with the substrate and laminate over the wood. Then expose the wood edge by routering a decorative edge. There is plenty of information all over Google on how to make a top like that.
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Hire a professional
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