Corian is DuPont's brand name for a solid manmade surfacing material that resembles stone. Benefits of Corian include its nonporous structure, which reduces the need for sealants, its reduced costs compared to natural stone, and ease of installing. Unlike stone, Corian does not require special tools--it can usually be cut and shaped with normal woodworking tools. Corian is, however, harder than many woods. Choosing the correct woodworking tools can make cutting, shaping and working with Corian much easier.
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According to Corian Art Specialties, this material is softer than ivory, but harder than rock maple, which rates among the hardest woods. While ordinary hardened steel blades will cut Corian, they dull very quickly. Carbide-tipped blades are preferable, as they will stay sharp longer. Corian should be cut at a relatively slow speed--around 30 inches per minute, according to Corian Art Specialties--to avoid taxing the saw.
It's also possible to cut and shape Corian using an ordinary router. For cutting, a solid carbide bit is preferable. A 1/8-inch up spiral carbide bit in a router table can be used to make straight cuts or for intricate curves, much like a scroll saw. A 90 degree carbide bit may be used for bevelling Corian to make floor and wall tiles.
An electric belt sander is useful for removing irregularities from cut Corian and for gentle contouring. When joining two pieces of Corian using DuPont's special coloured epoxy, you may also need to smooth the edges to be joined. A rough cut can result in a less effective joint. Sanding should begin with a relatively low grit paper, then move gradually to higher grits. A final pass of 400 or 600 grit sandpaper attached to a sanding block may be used to remove scratches and dings.
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