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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.