Cutting and Machining Phenolic Countertops

      Tips on bit choice and speeds for working with phenolic sheet materials. October 12, 2007

Question
I would like to start producing 5/8" phenolic tops for a customer. I would like to cut them on our Holzma panel saw. What kind of wear should I expect on a quality set of blades? I next want to machine them on our CNC. I have diamond tooling to format the contour. I need to have a bullnose edge profile on these tops. Should I look for a tool with carbide inserts or solid three flute bits do this? What should I run for tool speed and feed rates to get a clean finished edge? I appreciate your input.

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing)
From contributor T:
I used to work at a place where we did phenolic cabs and tops. It cuts slower and dulls tooling quicker, but it cuts. Routs good with a hand router. As far as the CNC, that's another story. We did it, but it was a hard road and there is no good speed or tooling. Too fast and you simply break the tool; slow it down and you're sending smoke signals. This was on a p2p.



From contributor G:
There are a variety of tools you can use. A PCD bullnose cutter would be the best type of tool for this material. Sizing, I suggest a slow helix ruffer.


From contributor S:
Cut oversize on your Holzma and machine to shape on your CNC. Do not try using your scoring saw unless you have closely fitted blades. You will find that the scoring saw does not have enough power to cut deep into the material. The most important part of cutting phenolic is to keep the cutters making chips and not dust. One of the things I have found is to sometimes slow the RPMs down to make a better chip. That way the heat will go with the chip. Tool life gets improved many times, too. We cut 1" phenolic with a 1/2" bit, in one pass.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?


Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Laminates and Solid Surfacing

  • KnowledgeBase: Laminates & Solid Surfacing: Fabrication Techniques




    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.



    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2014 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB











  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers


      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article