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What Is the Correct Saw Blade to Cut Formica?

Updated February 21, 2017

Circular saws, jigsaws, routers and even knives can cut formica and other plastic laminates, but straight edges and accurate cuts require the right technique as well as the right blade.

Laminate Problems

Plastic laminates such as formica may chip when cut, resulting in ragged edges that expose the backing. Choosing a fine-tooth carbide blade will limit the chances of damaging the laminate edges.

Synthetics

Cutting formica countertops to size involves sawing both the formica sheet and the particle board layer that gives the counter its strength. These materials contain large amounts of glue that quickly dull the edges of saw steel that is not carbide-tipped.

Scoring

Small pieces of plastic laminates can also be accurately cut by scoring with a knife against a straight edge. With the top layer cut through, the sheet can be snapped along the cut.

Jigs

Fences and other guides should be used whenever possible to prevent cutting tools from wandering during the cut. Use light pressure, and cut slowly to avoid chipping and scorching the laminate.

Backing

Cleaner cuts result if the formica is temporarily laid on waste plywood for support. Carbide router bits, jigsaw blades and circular saw blades will all work well on formica if proper guides and blade settings are used.

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About the Author

James Young began writing in 1969 as a military journalist combat correspondent in Vietnam. Young's articles have been published in "Tai Chi Magazine," "Seattle Post-Intelligencer," Sonar 4 ezine, "Stars & Stripes" and "Fine Woodworking." He has worked as a foundryman, woodturner, electronics technician, herb farmer and woodcarver. Young graduated from North Seattle Community College with an associate degree in applied science and electronic technology.