Filing Laminate Edges

Pros give pointers on ways to file laminate counter edges smooth. July 29, 2007

Has anyone found a good laminate file? The ones I use seem to get dull very quickly. Has anyone used an Art Betterly air file? If so, how does it do? Worth the 350? Do you need two, one for vertical and one for standard, to keep from adjusting from one to the other? I know about all the no-file bits, etc. They work great for a short while, but they always start leaving chatter marks after a couple of countertops.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor L:
Just curious - are you striking off the majority of laminate with a straight cutter and then coming back with a no file or bevel? We have great success with this method. We are using Dollar General furniture polish on first cut, wiping it and as much glue off with thinner, and then hitting it again. Another method we have been doing on large runs is masking tape. Still use the polish, but saves a load of time on the cleanup. We have a few Art Betterly products and will be buying more as needed.

From contributor S:
We do a lot of laminate work, and have been through many different files. I think the best one so far is the Nicholson Magicut file.

From contributor D:
Yes, I use a flush bit first. I use hyBond glue and spray edges at sharp angle. I get virtually no glue on edges. What little bit I get I use the citrus glue removal in the aerosol can. I used to use thinner, but I like the citrus spray much better. I hit it after I flush route and before I run bevel to act as a lube and then after it sets, that little while the glue comes off effortlessly. Filing countertops doesn't bother me. My employees for some reason can't put enough ass behind it. I say if you're not getting fine shavings, you're not putting enough butt behind it.

From contributor T:
We first use a straight bit that leaves a slight overhang, then use a real laminate trimmer-base bearing guide - Makita 3700B with a two flute 7* bevel. We are on our third one after 20 years and miles of tops. You can dial it in to get pretty close. This is followed by (secret!) a steel cabinet scraper with a burr - no files. We can easily sharpen/burnish 10 cabinet scrapers all 4 sides to last dozens of tops in 1/2 hour. Get Veritas's sharpening system (Lee Valley). We still use files for corners, rads, etc., but a lot less.