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Old 11-27-2007, 12:56 AM   #1
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Cutting existing formica countertop


I have a length of formica counter top that has been mounted for several years. I have purchased a new refrigerator that is about 3.5 inches wider than the current gap between the end of the counter and the wall on the opposite side of the refrigerator gap. I can easily remove a short section of cabinetry below the countertop but how can I cut off the 3.5 inches of formica/countertop without removing the entire countertop. The countertop has the backsplash attached and has the rounded "waterfall" face. I had considered taping the cut line with masking tape to help prevent chipping and then using my router up until the point where the router casing hits the backsplash and then going the "hard" way and finishing the rear portion of the countertop/backsplash with some type of hand saw. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

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Old 11-27-2007, 02:09 AM   #2
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Cutting existing formica countertop


Japanese Pull Saw

Palm sander to smooth everything when finished, apply a new end piece of formica

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Old 11-27-2007, 02:47 AM   #3
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Cutting existing formica countertop


I don't know what kind of tools you have. I have a couple that would work well, but aren't in the average diy'er's tool box.

Fein Multi Master would work well.
Jig saw with the Collin's Coping Foot on it will handle the splash transition pretty nicely.
I'm pretty surgical with a sawzall when I need to be.

Chris' pull saw idea is good. I have a feeling fomica will be tough on the blade, but it's a cheap enough tool to buy just for this job.
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:58 PM   #4
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Cutting existing formica countertop


I think you are on the right track... that's what i did when i had to cut... really no chipping at all using the masking tape...

i took a smaller cut at first to practice.... then did the real deal.

i didn't use a new formica end piece, because my cut was basically hidden
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:40 PM   #5
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Cutting existing formica countertop


Thanks guys. I skipped the end piece as well since it would be butted up against the fridge. The manual said only 1/8 inch clearance was needed on the sides.
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Old 11-28-2007, 04:38 PM   #6
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Cutting existing formica countertop


For the blackspalsh you could use a 4 1/2" dewalt 18v grinder with a diamond cutting wheel , thats my jack of all tools lately for trick cuts . The blade should not chip the counter or dig in and grab either. I guess any grinder with a cheap adbrasive wheel would work too . I would use a circular saw for the straight cut but take your time.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:54 PM   #7
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Cutting existing formica countertop


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For the blackspalsh you could use a 4 1/2" dewalt 18v grinder with a diamond cutting wheel , thats my jack of all tools lately for trick cuts . The blade should not chip the counter or dig in and grab either. I guess any grinder with a cheap adbrasive wheel would work too . I would use a circular saw for the straight cut but take your time.
I like my grinder for a lot of tasks but when it comes to cutting through laminate and wood it smokes and burns its way through and I only use it as a last resort. Do you have some magic that makes it good for those materials or do you just put up with the smoke and stink?

I've thought about buying some kind of wood blade for the grinder but have hesitated because I'm not sure there's one that would fit and my grinder isn't variable speed and I wonder about using a blade other than one designed for it given the high RPM's.

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Old 04-30-2008, 11:57 AM   #8
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Cutting existing formica countertop


I am cutting a countertop as well. Not in place but I'm worried about the backsplash area so I'm going to get the pull saw, sounds like a great tool. I used to have an orbital sander put it got misplaced. I do some furniture refinishing and would also like to use the sander to clean up rough edges as mentioned. Could someone recomend a good quality budget sander for a non professional? What about a factory reconditioned Ryobi?
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:38 PM   #9
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Cutting existing formica countertop


Best way to cut straight lines in a laminate top is from the bottom side with a circular saw. What's stopping you from taking the top off?
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Old 05-02-2008, 08:15 AM   #10
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Cutting existing formica countertop


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Could someone recomend a good quality budget sander for a non professional? What about a factory reconditioned Ryobi?
I'm generally not a fan of Ryobi and I don't know what you mean by budget. I picked up a non-variable speed dewalt at Sears. It was $60 as I recall. I was in a bind as my Bosch's hook/loop pad needed replaced, it was a weekend, didn't plan ahead, bla bla bla. The Bosch sander is excellent but the Dewalt seems fine and wasn't in the $100 plus range.

OK, I'll admit it, I do also have a Ryobi sander. Its a belt sander. I do not know who made it. Its built like a tank and is non-typical for Toyobi.
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:12 PM   #11
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Cutting existing formica countertop


Brik,

Not sure what Bosch sander you normaly buy but their entry level orbital sander with variable speed is about 70 bucks.
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Old 05-02-2008, 12:24 PM   #12
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Cutting existing formica countertop


I have a ryobi corner cat. I can get the hook and loop sanding pads cheaply. It has a bag to collect dust.

It's not a pro-quality tool, but it's always done everything I asked it to. I just finished re-finishing a door and it made the four rounds of sanding a piece of cake.

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