Trimming laminate...Some info please - Router Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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Default Trimming laminate...Some info please

I'm installing a formica counter top, from the BORG, and I need to put a finish trim piece on one end. I don't usually install formica tops on my remodels but this one was requested so what am I gonna do.

Anyway, I've heard about "laminate trimming" bits and also routers that are just used for trimming laminate. A Bosch Colt(?) comes to mind? I'm looking for a recommendation for a bit to trim the laminate edging. I know nothing about what bit to use to trim laminate.

Thank you very much for any help, info and recommendations.

Last edited by Bonehead V.2; 10-04-2009 at 01:12 AM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 06:13 AM
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Mark, first let's talk bits. For an inexpensive bit dedicated to laminate, you could use one like those shown on the Laminate Trimming.pdf file I've attached. The SC28B sells for under $10. This style of bit is sold by many vendors. Whiteside is one of the best manufacurers of bits and Amazon has the SC28B on sale for $7.60 roght now. This style of bit is sometimes offered in 100-packs for about $500, for those who do a lot of laminate.

A mpre general purpose bit that will also do this is shown on the "Flush Trim.pdf" attachment. The SC2401 sells for about 16" but is designed to also trim wood and thicker surfaces than the laminate bit although the solid-carbide Laminate Trimming bit could be more easily resharpened and better for "rough-and-tumble" use.

As for me, I"m a woodworker who only had to install Formica on both sides of my 30"x52" router table but otherwise cut wood. For me the flush trim bit made more sense. If you are only going to use it for laminate, that may be a better choice for you.

As for a laminate trimmer such as the Colt (I have one and love it) it is really just a small lightweight router (only accepts 1/4" shank bits) that can be used for many applications. It doesn't have the power nor accept the larger (1/2") shank larger bits (I have two of those, one plunge-type and one not (mounted in a lift in my router table). While the Colt draws about 5-6 amps and weights about 5 lbs, my big routers weigh about 15 lbs and draw 15 amps. There's a wide range of routers available in the middle.

If your sole intended purpose for this machine is to trim laminate edges, I'd choose the Colt in a heartbeat. It's available in single and variable speed models and a couple of kits ranging from one with a straight-edge guide (which I have) to a high-end model with a several guides including a roller-type edge guide that would be used whereever you'd use an edge guide except for following more complex shapes.

In direct answer to your question, the Colt will work great for trimming laminate although if you already have access to a router you could use that one too. Laminate bits are designed specifically for what you are wanting to do. The Colt can go on and perform other jobs for you in the future as well.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Flush Trim.pdf (53.6 KB, 944 views)
File Type: pdf Laminate Trimming.pdf (62.2 KB, 1022 views)

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 07:40 AM
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hi Mark:

I'll second everything that Jim has presented but I'll add one idea. The Colt is fine but certainly not the only option. Almost every manufacturer has their own version of the Colt. Personally, I like the Trend T4, if you can find it. But, Makita makes a whole series of trimmers.

Anything in the trimmer size of router makes variable speed useless. Any attempt at slowing down the motor while trying to push a flush trim or laminate trim bit will result in a rather hot hand since you hold onto these things with your hand wrapped around the motor. I have a Makita 3700B version that roars along at 33,000 rpm. With that, you nibble carefully and allow the router to dictate what you do.

However, that leads me in a slightly different direction. No matter what you purchase in this category, you're going to want to be extremely careful that you hold the base perfectly flat to the counter surface. Remember, that >50% of the body of the router will be hanging over the edge of the counter when you're cutting the laminate.

My experience has been that you lose concentration slightly and the barrel body of the router tips slightly. This leaves a blemish on the edge and a bulge or divot in the edge of the top. Take a board about 18" long - flat and drill a nice big hole in the width at one end and use that to stabilize the router as you make the cut. Alternatively, remove the baseplate and replace it with one of your own manufacture but that is about 18" long and won't flex. Nice robust lucite or other >1/4" thick plastic is fine.

This maybe overkill, but I've had to go into "creative camouflage" mode on several laminate jobs I've done. I now practice before I commit myself to cutting laminates. That's how I get my inventory of shop module tops.

hope this helps

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-04-2009, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks very much for the great references and information.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 06:51 PM
 
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Buy a laminate router. Dewalt and Porter Cable make them, as well as others. I've used the Dewalt with a pattern bit without a problem. As stated before, make sure that you keep the router flat on the work piece. Good luck.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2014, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allthunbs View Post
hi Mark:

My experience has been that you lose concentration slightly and the barrel body of the router tips slightly. This leaves a blemish on the edge and a bulge or divot in the edge of the top. Take a board about 18" long - flat and drill a nice big hole in the width at one end and use that to stabilize the router as you make the cut. Alternatively, remove the baseplate and replace it with one of your own manufacture but that is about 18" long and won't flex. Nice robust lucite or other >1/4" thick plastic is fine.

This maybe overkill, but I've had to go into "creative camouflage" mode on several laminate jobs I've done. I now practice before I commit myself to cutting laminates. That's how I get my inventory of shop module tops.

hope this helps
The smaller base issue you mention is not only relevant with the smaller routers it is also an issue with a larger model, a temporary side jig is an an excellent idea, especially when doing edge banding. Thanks for the tip.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2014, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdogmedia66 View Post
Buy a laminate router. Dewalt and Porter Cable make them, as well as others. I've used the Dewalt with a pattern bit without a problem. As stated before, make sure that you keep the router flat on the work piece. Good luck.
Hi Ivan:

Laminate, trim, detail, small are all synonymous for routers under 1 hp. They typically run at 33,000 rpm and you don't get a second chance with them. They make a mess very quickly.

Allthunbs

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2014, 11:57 AM
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If you don't post the country you are in it makes it hard to answer your questions. I assume you are in the US, so my suggestion would be to go to Harbor Freight and buy a trim router, you won't use it that often. I have had one for years and can't seem to tare it up. As far as a laminate trimmer bit, I think I got mine at Lowe's or Home Depot, they both carry them. Be sure to get a bit with a bearing on the bottom, they have them without a bearing and are almost useless.

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Last edited by Willway; 04-09-2014 at 12:01 PM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2014, 12:12 PM
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There are six 'classes' of routers, of which trim routers are one. It is possible to use a laminate trim bit on the four largest classes and I think there is a special trim bit for the smallest class.

Buy according to your needs. A router is nothing but a motor with a knife attached to the armature. You can do the same thing with the motor from a vacuum cleaner. Weight comes into play when you start using larger bits. I would consider your base plates more important than the type of router unless you're building kitchens or something.

Look around the forum site. There are plenty of articles on routers and their uses. I've written a book but decided it wasn't worth the hassle of trying to publish it.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-09-2014, 02:03 PM
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