Trimming and Filing Laminate Edges

Advice on the bits, lubricants, and methods to use for smooth corners on laminate countertops with laminate front edges. September 15, 2011

I mainly do wood edge counter tops but every now and then get a customer that wants the laminate on the front instead of the wood (I call it a self edge top, don't know if thatís the right name for it or not). I always seem to have to do a lot of filing on the edges. I bought a bit meant to eliminate the use of the file but I have to stop every few seconds to clean the glue off of the bearing. I was wondering if there is a different kind of bit that I need or are there other tricks to doing this that I don't know about?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor T:
I've been in several shops and they have used WD-40 spritzed on the clean bearing or wax applied to the laminate. The shop I'm in now uses Crisco. Out of all of these the Crisco seemed to have worked the best, even using a bullet bit on laminate (not burning the lam). Just spread some on with a 1" brush then clean with lacquer thinner.

From contributor L:
Use the bullet bit to trim the front edge. After doing the front edge, mask with 1 1/2" tape. Laminate the top. Trim the overhang with the bullet bit riding on the masking tape. Remove the tape. Then use an edging bit with a ball bearing. I like the 22.5 degree chamfer. This will save the ball bearing somewhat.

From contributor E:
Bullet bits all the way, just use a generous amount of wax on the laminate. Get the wax sticks from your laminate supplier. Then scrape the residue off with a utility blade (not in a holder) similar to how you would use a cabinet scraper. It takes some labor, but leaves you with best edges.

From contributor Y:
When forced to hand apply self edge we cut it very close to finish size and put a little corn oil (Pam) on and use a self pilot straight bit. Then finish with an Amana "no file bit." Some of my guys skip the oil and just go like hell with the trim bit. The scallops left are cleaned up by the "no file" bit. The more laminate you let stick up the bigger the problem with glue.