How to Cut Melamine without Professional Tools and Without Chipping? Techniques, Tricks, Discs and Tools Needed to Cut Melamine Boards
If you have come this far it is because at some point you have cut a board covered with melamine and you have seen that the result is bad. That the melamine has chipped or chipped. It’s normal, it has happened to all of us.
My recommendation if there are many cuts and very long is that you turn to a professional or specialized company. Cutting melamine boards without splintering is a job that requires the right tool, precision and power.
If it is a few cuts and it is not worth the cost of a specialized company, you want to take a risk or you do not need a perfect result, I encourage you to continue with this article. Here we will talk about the necessary tool to cut melamine boards and the best ways to do it at home or in a small workshop.
Melamine Cutting Tools
Regardless of the tool we use, there can be no vibrations or oscillations of the saw . Make sure that everything is tight and that the board is on a firm and well supported support. The vibrations in any cut are bad, for this purpose they are even worse.
Jigsaw or jigsaw
Cutting melamine with a jigsaw and making it look really good is impossible . Even using some of the tricks that we will talk about later and with all the patience in the world we will make a dozen cuts before getting a passable one.
In my experience, neither time nor material is worth wasting. If you still decide to do it, know that the melamine is going to chip.
Hand saws are one of those tools that should be not only in any workshop, but also in the home of any DIY enthusiast. And it can serve us for this purpose. To cut melamine with a hand saw we will need power and a good disk or blade .
To make straight cuts with a hand saw, I always recommend using at least one rule fixed with chains or sergeants to our work table. And the ideal would be to use a guide . Some manufacturers offer them with their hand saws and with them vibrations are reduced and the possibility of deviating if we do not have a steady hand.
The fundamental thing is that everything is well secured to reduce hauling and / or vibrations.
In addition, you have to know that using a hand saw the face of the board that will be the best is the one underneath. It is in this where less chips will jump and where we must pay more attention if we only want a good side. I comment on this in order to use a discard piece that improves the result.
Table Saw and / or Miter Saw
If it is about small cuts in small pieces, being the piece fixed, and moving the saw of the miter, it is possible to achieve excellent results. The technique is simple: we lower the saw decisively but not quickly, without lifting it until we have finished the cut, the saw has stopped and we have moved the piece aside.
In doing so, the vibrations are much lower than with the previous tool. Even less than with a table saw, where the pulse of our hand plays a very important role.
If we need to make a cut somewhat larger than what a miter allows, it is necessary to resort to a table saw, or a miter that becomes a table saw when the saw is lowered and the protection removed.
Here our great enemy is ourselves. If the table is large enough and we have the ideal supports and accessories so that when moving the piece it is done in a uniform and stable way, we will achieve a good result. If we depend on our pulse to do it, the result will depend on our ability.
If the table is big enough the best technique for a table saw is the following:
- We reduce the depth of the saw to a few millimeters.
- We cut so that the saw eats all the melamine and an additional millimeter of the board.
- We raised the saw enough to cut the board.
- We turn the piece over and make the cut again on the other side.
Saw Blade or Discs for Cutting Melamine
The melamine cutting disc is the key to success. If you do not have a good saw blade and it is not well sharpened, it will look bad.
Melamine is a very fragile material, and it needs a specific saw. The ones that come standard with most hand saws or miter saws are for general use, but it is very possible that you will need to buy a saw blade to cut melamine.
The quantum type of disc must have a high number of teeth and alternate (cuts at the top of the tooth). The number of teeth will depend on the size of the blade and the saw, for example for a 10 inch saw between 48 and 80 teeth. Regarding the material, it is best that it be diamond or at least widia .
Tricks for Cutting Melamine without Chipping
Use Martyr or Discard Pieces
We will use a piece of wood that we no longer want to make the cut and reduce the splintering of the melamine.
The piece that we want to cut must be in the middle, between the tool and the martyr piece. For example in the case of the hand saw the martyr would be below.
The most common and effective trick to cut melamine in an amateur way is to stick tape , usually body builder (the one used for painting), along where we are going to make the cut. By doing this we prevent the small fragments of melamine from splintering and chipping.
Be careful when removing the tape. Do it carefully as you are going to lift more melamine than the saw would chip.
There are also those who recommend measuring very well where the saw is going to pass and cutting this line with a cutter. Having it cut from the beginning should theoretically not chip and split.
The problem that I see with this advice to cut melamine boards is that the precision necessary to adjust the cut of the edge of the saw to the cut made with the cutter must be perfect. And it is something that is not within the reach of even a lot of professional tool. To get an idea we are not even talking about millimeters.