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Old 03-19-2007, 11:34 AM   #1
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Lamenting the laminate

I'm have some problems with my laminating technique.

I'm making a small counter top and laminating the edges then the top. The problem is after the sides are done, when I go to flush trim the top with my router, I'm invaribly cutting into the edge laminate leaving an ugly scar.

I've tried using less pressure with the router, cleaning my flush trim bit. But I still must be doing something wrong.

Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:23 PM   #2
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Tim the router I have is equipped with a limiter that keeps it from going past the set amount. It is a Black & Decker.
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:38 PM   #3
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Tim,
What type of bit are you using? The ones I use have a ball bearing guide on the bottom. The only other think I can think of is if your router is not set properly to the base. Ie; square to the bit shank.

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Old 03-19-2007, 01:04 PM   #4
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It is best to use a ball bearing guide to trim the outer edges of the Formica. Try raising your bit up higher so that only about 3/16 of the cutting edge is left exposed below the surface of the bottom plate of the router. Many times when novices try to do this and they only have one router and it happens to be a very large one it has a tendency to tip a little too much creating the gouge you are speaking of. I have small routers to do just this process they are dedicated to this function. If you are going to be doing a lot of this work take a look at Harbor freight they are selling a router that is dedicated to trimming Formica. I think it only costs about $35 well worth the investment. It even comes with a cutter. If you are using a fence to accomplish this all is lost. Also the bits that do not have bearings on them are worthless for this application.
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:33 PM   #5
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Thanks guys.

The router I have is a porter cable like this one. I don't think it has a fence.

I think this is the bit I have. Or its very similar. It does have the ball bearing on it.

So I'll try making sure the fence is square and only lower the bit just enough as needed.

I already have enough *Tim made that* marks in the trailer...
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:47 PM   #6
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If your bit has a bearing on it make sure that is not clogged up with contact cement because this will make the bearing immobile and cause possible burns on the laminate. By the way your links are not really working the way you want them to. I think they expire after a time then just revert back to the homepage.
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:55 PM   #7
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We used to use WD40 to clean and lubricate the bearing on the end of the bit, I don't know if that would be the best choice but it did the job...Also the little routers are sometimes listed as laminate trimmers. Both my trimmer and router are Porter-Cable, money well spent.

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Old 03-19-2007, 02:59 PM   #8
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SaabLover said everything I would have said. I have the 'big' Porter Cable router and it is great for large tables and fixtures. I used to build store fixtures and display props so the bigger the better.....and faster. But for work on small projects at home I use a small inexpensive Ryobi trimmer. Much easier to control. Keep trying. You are still ahead of paying the big bucks to a cabinet shop.

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Old 03-19-2007, 03:31 PM   #9
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Tim,

I have had the same problem you are currently experiencing.

Specifically, I started out with a brandnew laminate flush-trim bit with roller bearing, and everything was great for the first few sets of countertops. In time, I noticed the bit, when set deeper than was really necessary, started marring the edge laminate.

I believe the bearing got contaminated with Formica dust & contact cement, and the roller bearings inside of the bit bearing got "polished" to a new, smaller diameter. The resultant slop let the carbide take a deeper cut than it was supposed to.

I think you need a new bearing for your bit. Of course they probably will force you to buy a whole new bit, though.

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Old 03-19-2007, 04:24 PM   #10
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Sounds like good advice. I'll pick up a new flush trim bit and give it a go. Don't want to waste much more laminate!
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:50 PM   #11
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Well....

After carefully and thoughtfully trying everyone's advice. I picked up a new flush trim bit w/ball bearing.

and........

It happend again for the third try!
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:21 PM   #12
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Maybe the angle between the side and the top is not 90 degree. If the angle was a little more then 90 it would cause the top of the side piece to stick out a little more then the area where the bearing is at. Just a thought....
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Old 03-20-2007, 12:36 AM   #13
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Apparently the corner isn't 90 degrees so the trimmer isn't able to work properly. What I would do now, and I have done it, is to file the edge. I isn't that difficult. Just run a fine/medium flat file at a slight angle away from verticle slowly and gradually work along the edge.

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Old 03-20-2007, 12:42 AM   #14
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Yep. That must be it.

I was thinking I'll just make a new top all together when I get some more time. Frustration has set in.

Neil, are you suggesting the file to make it a true 90 then re-laminate?
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