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Comcneil 05-20-2012 06:54 AM

Laminate countertop joint
1 Attachment(s)
I am replacing laminate on an l shaped countertop where one part of the L is very long and wide and the other part is really long so I need a seam. I am using a router and I have a laminate bit and a straight bit with no bearing available to me. Both were new before this project. I can not get the seam right. Even if I cut them together at the same time the pieces don't match. I have not started glueing yet. I tried overlapping the pieces and taping them together. Then put a 2x4 edge under the middle of the overlapped pieces to ust as a guide for the bering. Ran the router across the seam and ended up with a mess that did not match. I don't have a bunch of money to go buy specialty tools. Any suggestions or anyone made this mistake. Score and know what I may be doing wrong ( other than trying to do it myself in the first place)

fixrite 05-20-2012 06:33 PM

You shouldn't have any problem if you are using your trimmer correctly. It is almost impossible to trim laminate with a router that has not been glued in place. You might want to try and remove the tops and then glue it in place and then trim it. You could also do a test by gluing some laminate onto a piece of mdf and then using your router trim it and see how it does in both directions. You should notice a big difference by which direction of feed you do it. Some people swear by using a downcut spiral bit.

BigJim 05-20-2012 07:10 PM

With just a router there are a couple of ways to cut the HPL to fit. If you buy a laminate file it will sure make things easier for you. What type of router cutter do you have? If we knew that we could suggest a way to cut the HPL straight then file to fit. If you are real close with your fit you can take the HPL file lay it flat against the edge of the HPL so all of the file is making contact with the edge of the plastic. You can then file the edge straight to fit better.

If your router bit has an area that will ride against something as a guide you can clamp the HPL to a top of something sturdy, then use something that is dead straight to let the pilot of the cutter ride against it.

If you have a belt sander you can draw a straight line across the end then use the belt sander to sand back to that line then finish dressing the joint with the file. If you do use your belt sander, clamp the HPL down to a table or something you can let the HPL over hang by a 1.2 inch or so, hold the belt sander at a 90 angle so you are sanding from the front of the HPL to the backside. Watch very close as you sand closer to the line you want to be as close as possible but not cut past the line. Dress with the HPL file. Be very careful, HPL is sharp as a razor believe me.

I wish you were closer you could use my seaming router to make the joint.

Comcneil 06-12-2012 05:47 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Ok just an update. The countertops went wel and was fairly painless. So much so that I did my parents too. Here's what I learned.

1. Cutting the seam with a router bit is great but I must account for the width of the bit when measuring or there will be a gap the size of the bit between the pieces. ( simple and common since I know buy I am a beginner)

2. Covering everything in prep sucks but it's easier than cleaning up sawdust later.

3. Patience is key. Using a box cutter at the edges close to the wall from underneath and scoring is the best way to get close to the wall where the router won't go.

4. Trying to remove and straighten an edge piece of wood after laying the laminate just to get a tighter look will result in cracked top piece of laminate.

If those are the worst lessons learned I count the job as a success. Here are before middle and after pics. Thanks for allll the great advice throughout this while project.

mae-ling 06-12-2012 05:57 PM

Looks great!

Comcneil 06-12-2012 06:21 PM

Thanks a bunch. I LOVE this forum. I scroll through just to get ideas of things that are truely DIYable

BigJim 06-12-2012 08:47 PM

Looks great, :thumbsup:

ghostlyvision 06-13-2012 05:49 PM

Very nice job!

Comcneil 06-13-2012 06:23 PM

Appreciate it

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