The Ultimate Guide On How To Cut Formica
Formica is a form of a plastic laminate. Many DIY hobbyists like to work with this type of material as it is versatile. In addition, it offers a huge selection of colors, textures, and finishes. Whatever color and texture that you need for your project, you would be able to find it in Formica. Moreover, this material is easy to work with thanks to its durability. You can choose a jigsaw, a circular saw or a laminate router for cutting Formica, depending on different needs. For a thinner sheet of Formica, you can use a utility knife for the project.
Nevertheless, if it is the first time that you have to deal with Formica, you might get into some common problems such as getting cracks and flakes when you try to cut this material. Follow this guide below for how to cut formica without having to encounter such problems.
Tools that you would need for the project:
- A pen
- A tape measure
- A ruler
- A masking tape
- A circular saw
- A router with laminate trimming bit
- A jigsaw
- A utility knife
- A belt sander or a metal file.
Note about choosing the right tool: As you can see, there are different tool listed here for cutting Formica. A jigsaw is used to have curved cuts. On the other hand, a circular saw is for cutting straight cuts. A router with laminate trimming bit is the tool that you would need when you want to cut finer and smoother cuts. Last but not least, for a thinner piece of Formica, you can use a utility knife for cutting.
The best blade to use is the plywood cutting one or the metal cutting one. They should have a lot of teeth to prevent the Formica from chipping while being cut.
Step by step of cutting Formica with a circular saw
Source: Cut Formica
Step 1: First of all, you need to measure the place where you want to install the Formica using a tape measure. Note down the dimensions.
Step 2: Place the Formica on a flat and stable working surface, ideally a working table. Be prepared to have a damaged surface of the working table afterward as the saw can cut through. You can consider placing a piece of plywood underneath the Formica to prevent the table from getting damaged.
Avoid putting the Formica on top of cement.
Step 3: Measure on the Formica which parts you want to cut it. Then use a pen to mark the cutting lines.
Step 4: Use a masking tape to cover the cutting line. This will help to prevent vibrations and make the cuts on the Formica as smooth as possible.
Step 5: Add an extra layer of masking tape on the starting edge of the line which you have drawn. In case when you cover the drawn line with the masking tape and couldn’t see the line, just take the measure again. Remark the point and line which you want to cut right on the masking tape.
Step 6: Use the circular saw or laminate shears for cutting straight cuts. Guide the blades of the tools towards the lines that you have drawn on the Formica and turn on the tool for cutting. Follow a steady speed. Slowing down the tool when you see smoke coming out from the cut.
Step 7: Place the cut Formica on the place that you want to install it to.
Step 8: Then use a jigsaw to trim the Formica. The jigsaw is also used for you to make curved cuts as well. Guide the jigsaw towards the edges of the Formica and turn the machine on. Move the blade slowly so you can cut the Formica accurately.
Step 9: Finally, use a belt sander for sanding the cut edges of the Formica. You can also choose a small metal file for sanding as this tool is smaller and easier to handle.
Step by step of cutting Formica with a router
Step 1: As I mentioned above, a router is used to trim Formica for finer corners. Hence, you should consider cutting big pieces of Formica with a circular saw first before using the router.
Step 2: After you finish cutting a big chunk of Formica, remove any remaining masking tape.
Step 3: Install the Formica onto its place.
Step 4: Use the trim router with a laminate cutting bit to trim the edges of the Formica to the shape that you want. Guide the leading edge of the bit towards the Formica.
Step 5: After that, use a belt sander or a metal file to sand off the rough cut edges of the Formica.
Step by step in cutting Formica with a utility knife
Step 1: First, you need to lay down the sheet of Formica onto a flat surface. Place that Formica sheet on top of a piece of plywood. If you do so, when you cut the Formica with a utility knife, you wouldn’t damage the surface of the working table.
Step 2: Use things with weight to keep the corners of the Formica’s sheet laying flat. Books will work well.
Step 3: Measure the place where you want to cut the Formica and mark it with a pencil. Use a ruler in order to draw a straight line.
Step 4: Use the masking tape to cover the lines which you have drawn on the Formica sheet. You should measure and draw another line on the masking tape if you don’t see the one you have drawn.
Step 5: Place the ruler along the line you have drawn and use it as the guide for you to cut the Formica. Guide the blade of the utility knife along the side of the ruler. Score the blade onto the drawn line for several times.
Step 6: After that, take the sheet of Formica up slightly. Slightly bend both sides and the sheet of Formica is cut nicely.
Notes for safety while you cut Formica:
- Make sure that the blades that you are working with are sharp. Using dull blade is harder and less efficient. In addition, if you use a dull blade for cutting, you can get yourself into unwanted accidents.
- In case you work with piece of powered machinery, make sure that you read the instructions on the manual books about how to operate them safely.
- Last but not least, you should put on your personal protection equipment including your goggles and your ear protection to prevent dirt and debris from getting into your eyes
Generally, cutting Formica is one of the easiest tasks that you have encountered for any DIY project. Cracks and flakes can be easily avoided if you follow the proper steps for cutting Formica. You can use a circular saw or a laminate router in order to cut Formica, both of which have different steps and techniques. In order to cut curves or trim the piece of Formica for it to have smoother details, use a jigsaw. And for a thin sheet of Formica, you can use a utility knife to cut it. I hope that with all of the information above, you would be able to cut Formica without encountering any problem like chipping or cracking at all.