Achieving a Polished Surface when Routing Solid-Surface Edges

Router bits can dull the material as they cut. Here's advice on how to minimize that problem. March 13, 2007

We cut a deep Ogee edge in our Solid Surface with conventional hand routers but it always leaves a very dull discolored surface that takes loads of labor to polish. Does anybody have suggestions on different methods of sanding or tooling that might make the process easier?

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor J:
Try making two passes. The first pass try to hog out most of the material and on the last pass just kiss the edge.

From contributor G:
I would recommend doing what Contributor J suggested. Do it in 2 passes with the last pass taking about .125 of material off.

From contributor D:
There is a way to put a good edge on a solid surface countertop. Purchase a brand new bit, or a newly sharpened one. Be sure your sharpener gets all of the ridges out of your bit. It should be perfect. The second thing you should do is make a lot of passes. The thing is though your first pass usually grabs into the surface a lot. The second doesn't. So the best way to solve this problem is to use some good tape like what is used in V grooving machines. Put three or however many layers you like - the more the better.

Run a pass through, take first layer of tape off. Run your next pass. Before the second pass you should have the countertop extremely clean and using 10W 40 or vegetable oil can really reduce the friction on the router base. Keep an extremely steady hand and go at a consistent pace. Using a variable speed router is also a way to get a better looking edge. You can practice on a piece of scrap to get an idea of what speeds work best.

All of this will be somewhat time consuming, but even if you spend exactly the same amount of time, you will end up with an edge that requires an extremely fine sand paper, and you may be able to scotch it if you are really good. And the edge will be extremely accurate. Another thing to look out for is the router bearing. A new router bit is a good answer for this, but a little oil in the bearing even on a new bit will increase your chances of an excellent edge. If you don't have a steady hand with a router, purchase a larger base or make a larger base to increase your chances of an excellent edge.