Without a special saw fitted with a counter-rotating scribing blade in front of the main blade, it’s almost impossible to cut melamine coated particle board without some chip out. However, there are certain tricks a homeowner can use for achieving a chip free cut the top surface, while at the same time, minimising blowout on the bottom of the board.
Equip your table saw with either a triple chip tooth tungsten carbide blade with 80 teeth, or a negative hook tungsten carbide melamine saw blade.
Check the blade auger and drive assembly on your table saw. Replace any parts that show signs of wear to minimise blade wobble. Carefully check the blade and saw fence alignment by measuring points fore and aft with a steel ruler. Consult the maker’s manual and adjust if necessary by shimming or using a screw type adjustment on the drive assembly. Swivel the drive assembly left or right until the blade and the fence are exactly parallel to each other.
Set the saw up to cut the desired width. Adjust the blade height to 1/16 inch. With the melamine face uppermost, make a scoring cut across the underside of the board to minimise chip out.
Adjust the blade to its maximum height so that the blade is cutting in a downward direction. Place the panel on the saw table, good side up and set it firmly against the fence. Cut the panel by feeding it through the saw with a smooth, steady motion.
Lower the saw blade to its normal height above the table after making the cut.
When adjusting the blade to its maximum height, you may have to remove the guard. Be extra careful when making the cut and do not let your hands anywhere near the blade. Replace the guard as soon as you have finished working. Do not wear loose fitting clothing or a necktie when using a table saw. Always wear safety goggles and a dust mask while operating a power saw.