Scribing a Laminate Countertop

Order of operations for scribing two edges of a countertop for setting into a corner. February 17, 2011

I am installing a plastic laminate countertop into one adjacent wall and one ten foot wall. Should I scribe the side wall and back wall together or separately? I do not want to undercut the top or shift the layout of the original scribe line.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor T:
How much are you scribing off? If you are scribing 1/8, the amount of shifting you would have is minimal and you could do both at the same time. If you have major variation, you have a couple options.

One, do the side that will move the top the most first.

Two, do the side you need to look the best last.

Three takes the most work, but is what do for a laminate top to a laminated wall. Scribe it twice. The first time you scribe, try to get it so the second scribe will need to take less than 1/8 of an inch. If you are scribing this much, you can do this with a jigsaw or circular saw. Then do a final scribe with a belt sander. Actually, anytime I have to cut off more that about 1/16, I cut with a saw, then finish with a sander if it needs to look good.

From contributor Q:
Cut the long wall first and rough cut the flanking wall. Then dial it in. Use a power hand planer to scribe the top and undercut the scribe line to make the edge jointing the walls sharp so you can tap it into the drywall a bit if needed. Fine tune with a belt sander if necessary. I have been doing it this way for years with tops, panels, floorboards, etc. and now don't need anything other than a power plane and circular saw to make quick work of it.

From contributor J:
I usually use a framing square to tell me how to taper a wall locked end (or ends). Cut to fit and install. I would then scribe back wall if necessary. If one end is open and things are way out of whack, I would split the difference and scribe both at the same time.

From contributor B:
I would take two pieces of 1/4 inch MDF and rip them the width of the counter. Then using a Fastcap scriber, scribe and then belt sand to fit wall on both ends and back edge, then overlap and draw line and cut on line, then clamp to countertop and use a pattern bit and route it off to pattern and install.