Cutting Laminate on a Panel Saw

      Advice on getting clean cuts on sheets of laminate using a vertical panel saw. October 25, 2007

Has anyone got tips for cutting laminate on a vertical panel saw? Struggling with this at the moment.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
Backer sheet (5/8") or spring clamps to hold the sheet.

From contributor G:
I have a laminate shear that will cut up to 24" width.

From contributor T:
You will need to support and fixture the laminate against movement as a first priority. Especially holding it down at the cut edge. Provide a backer sheet on both sides of the blade with as little space between the backer and the blade. Almost like a zero clearance insert.

The next key will be to get the right blade for the application. You will need a blade with as many teeth as you can get due to how thin the material is. It should also have an ATB grind, preferably with a high angle ATB. The high ATB grind will pre-score the material as it goes through and pull less on the edges of the laminate. Most blades that are readily available with this configuration are made for sawing melamine. A thin kerf high ATB blade will be the best, and it will most likely be a custom tool, but very much worth it.

From contributor S:
Isn't your blade going the wrong direction to avoid chipping along the cut? On a table saw you are cutting down through the face, but on a panel saw it will be coming through the back. A laminate trimmer, a couple of clamps, and a straight edge would be quick and easy.

From contributor O:
I've sandwiched laminate between throwaway 1/2" sheets before. Worked quite well - no movement - so it was a clean, accurate cut. Follow the advice on zero clearance.

From contributor H:
Put the laminate sheet in the panel saw backwards. Chips much less.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the replies. I should have been more specific. I do put the sheet on the saw facing away from me, but am looking for the best way to hold it there. I haven't found a spring clamp that will fit between the slats of the saw (1265s), and taking additional sheets on and off the saw to hold it in place is cumbersome.

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