Need Help! How Do You Cut Laminate??? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-27-2008, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
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What's the easiest way to cut laminate? I ordered a 5' x 10' sheet and went to cut it tonight with a circular saw and the darn thing tore. I was using 2 flimsy plastic saw horses to hold the sheet up and half way through the cut the weight of the sheet (because one of the saw horses collapsed) tore the sheet. Now I'm out $110 and I have a wife that won't talk to me.

At any rate, I'm going to go the painted route for now but I have all my material to make a mountable laminate screen so I have to order another sheet. I'll stick with a painted screen for a while because I'm scared to death to attempt to cut (and ruin) another sheet of laminate but eventually I'll need to figure it out.

I have a circular saw and 2 plastic flimsy saw horses. The only way I can see that I can cut it with a circular saw is if I go out and buy about 5-6 sturdy saw horses to properly hold this sheet up. Am I correct or is there an easier way? I don't have any work benches or anything like that either. I don't have jack for tools

I've read some posts in here that you can score it but how the heck do you do that? What specific tools would I need and how do I do it? I need specific details because I can't afford to ruin another sheet!! Thanks.

Travis
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-28-2008, 03:47 AM
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1)Buy a laminate blade for a table saw ($100+ for a good one).
2)Score and snap with a diamond cutter - works well enough
3)use a router with a straight cut blade and a guide

You will need a large flat surface to work no matter what. But a cheap sheet of 3/4 plywood and set on your sawhorses.

What are you adhering the laminate to? (you could use the same cheap plywood).
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-28-2008, 03:48 AM
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I used a table saw. You could also score it first with a utility knife and a good straight edge. Then cut it with a hook knife

But that's just me.......
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-28-2008, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbarron View Post

1)Buy a laminate blade for a table saw ($100+ for a good one).
2)Score and snap with a diamond cutter - works well enough
3)use a router with a straight cut blade and a guide

You will need a large flat surface to work no matter what. But a cheap sheet of 3/4 plywood and set on your sawhorses.

What are you adhering the laminate to? (you could use the same cheap plywood).

Agreed. Score and snap (not unlike plexiglas) for big stuff. Router with guides/jigs for precision work.
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-28-2008, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, the table saw option is out since I don't own one. I do have a circular saw and I bought a cheap plywood blade for it and it was actually cutting the laminate extremely "clean" (until the saw horse and sheet collapsed)

If I wanted to go the "scoring" route, let me make sure I understand this...I'd lay the sheet on top of a cheap piece of plywood and use a straight edge to score it, correct?

What side do I score it from? In other words, do I lay the sheet with the finished side down and score it or the other way around (finished side up)? And will a utility knife be strong enough to cut through it or would I be better off using another tool?

The edge I'm cutting doesn't have to be absolutely perfect as it will be covered with a border frame. However, I don't want any cracks or tears in it either.

Travis
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post #6 of 16 Old 11-28-2008, 11:43 PM
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I have cut laminate with a table saw. This is a two person job. The laminate is not rigid so it takes a few hands to keep it on the table.

I have also used a router and a straight piece of wood clamped to the laminate as a guide.

If I did not have access to either a table saw or router, then I would get an inexpensive rotary cut out tool.

You would need to clamp a couple of boards on either side of the laminate. The board on the top would act as a guide for the tool. The board on the bottom is there to support the material.

If I were going to try the scoring method, I would again clamp a board on either side of the laminate. The use the boards as a guide to score the material with a knife. You may find a sharp scriber will work as well. The boards should be on the good side of the cut score line.
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post #7 of 16 Old 11-29-2008, 10:56 AM
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You would score and cut with the good side up. Use a very secure straight edge, a scoring tool and a hook knife. Maybe on concrete.

If the circular saw was working well, maybe you should use it. Just set it up better. Most saws come with a fence. Or clamp a piece of wood to it for a guide like some of the other guys mentioned.

And BTW the table saw method is tough. I had myself and 2 other guys and was surprised I made it. The cut is clean though.

But that's just me.......
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-30-2008, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvanslooten View Post


I have a circular saw and 2 plastic flimsy saw horses. The only way I can see that I can cut it with a circular saw is if I go out and buy about 5-6 sturdy saw horses to properly hold this sheet up. Am I correct or is there an easier way? I don't have any work benches or anything like that either. I don't have jack for tools

Travis

Just get a 4x8 sheet of plywood and lay it on top of your saw horses, then put the laminate on top of that. Perfectly flat support. No need for more horses. Maybe put some weight on top of the laminate sheet to keep it from moving.

Don't chance that blade you have. I would go find one with smaller teeth. Well, you can use your current blade, but I would add a lot more masking tape to the cut area to be safe.
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-01-2008, 08:40 AM
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I "sandwiched" my laminate between two lengths of my 1x4 poplar frame and clamped it tight at the designated cut-off. I then put a Brand New blade in my utility knife and proceeded to score the back-side of the laminate, using the poplar board as a guide. I put a good deal of pressure on each pass. After about 6 or 7 passes, the laminate cut through fine. Not the prettiest of cuts, mind you, but serviceable considering it will be covered by trim anyway. Almost took 5 minutes.

Attachment 125540

Attachment 125541
LL
LL
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post #10 of 16 Old 12-01-2008, 09:14 PM
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I'd also recommend the router+straight bit and straight edge guide (can be a simple 2x4) for the cleanest and easiest cut. It can be a little intimidating if you've never used a router before, but they're actually pretty simple to use*. You can get a cheap trim router from Harbor Freight for 20~30 bucks and a straight edge bit for less than 5 bucks.


* As with all power tools, you do need to be careful and pay attention to what you're doing.
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post #11 of 16 Old 12-02-2008, 06:13 AM
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I just used a new blade in a utility knife and a straight edge. I scored the laminate on the finished side a few times and then snapped it toward me. Works like a charm.
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post #12 of 16 Old 12-02-2008, 09:32 AM
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Keep it simple
Pict's worth 1000 words, I learned this for my subwoofer DIY project:

a) flat floor workspace
b) long 2 x 4 on the floor
c) straight edge, score it along desired line (I used duct tape to hold the straight edge in place while scoring)
d) have the scored edge just overhang the 2 x 4, push
e) it will snap, walk it down

Edge will be sharp, if you conceal it under trim no need to do anything further, if exposed you'll need to do something else. In my case I cut 1" overhang and then final router the edge, because glued down.

Good luck

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post #13 of 16 Old 12-04-2008, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kakihara1 View Post

I just used a new blade in a utility knife and a straight edge. I scored the laminate on the finished side a few times and then snapped it toward me. Works like a charm.

Bingo. Joey_R has it down too.
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post #14 of 16 Old 12-04-2008, 07:38 PM
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Just cut and installed this 5' x 12' DW laminate tonight for my screen project.
(that's in another thread)


Measure/score with utility knife


Snap using 2 x 4.
You can see an "oops", that's due to me having the 2 x 4 on thin side and at first not enough bend angle, I stopped, turned the 2 x 4 on side ( 3 1/2" high) and the laminate snapped perfectly then.


So, the Lesson learned:
Make sure you have adequate clearance to "break" the laminate down along the score line, for me this was by putting the 2 x 4 so the laminate is 3 1/2 high.
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post #15 of 16 Old 12-04-2008, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Well guys, I finally figured it out. I was able to cut my sheet without any issues whatsoever and the cut is near perfect!

Thanks for all your help. I took a lot of the ideas here and then came up with my own creation. I admit it was probably overkill but the whole thing only took about 30 minutes and the end result was a perfect cut. Here is a webpage I threw together with the steps I took along with some photos:

http://tvsurl.com/how-to-cut-laminate.html

Hopefully this will help any other newbies like me working with laminate!!

P.S. The scoring method definitely seems the easiest way to go but I just didn't have any confidence in it. I knew I would either screw up the line or the sheet would crack or tear when I went to snap it. After throwing away one sheet already, I couldn't risk anything here. I needed to be absolutely sure of myself and the only way I could do it is by putting together the contraption I put together shown in the photos.

Thanks,

Travis
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post #16 of 16 Old 12-05-2008, 07:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvanslooten View Post

Well guys, I finally figured it out. I was able to cut my sheet without any issues whatsoever and the cut is near perfect!

Thanks for all your help. I took a lot of the ideas here and then came up with my own creation. I admit it was probably overkill but the whole thing only took about 30 minutes and the end result was a perfect cut. Here is a webpage I threw together with the steps I took along with some photos:

http://tvsurl.com/how-to-cut-laminate.html

Hopefully this will help any other newbies like me working with laminate!!

P.S. The scoring method definitely seems the easiest way to go but I just didn't have any confidence in it. I knew I would either screw up the line or the sheet would crack or tear when I went to snap it. After throwing away one sheet already, I couldn't risk anything here. I needed to be absolutely sure of myself and the only way I could do it is by putting together the contraption I put together shown in the photos.

Thanks,

Travis

I like your method of hard clamping next to the intended line and then using a circular saw, I have a DeWalt 18v trim saw that would do this nicely, good thing to know for future protect(s).
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