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Tools Needed To Put Formica On A Cabinet

February 5th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments


There are only a few tools needed to put plastic laminate or Formica on a cabinet. These same tools work well with mica counter tops too. If you are planning on continuing to do this type of construction work. I’d recommend that you purchase brand name industrial grade equipment.

The cheep stuff that you buy in places like Walmart, K-mart or even Harbour Freight Tools will not go the distance that will be required if you decided to start doing this type of work for a living. If you’re just working on a home project, then it’s OK to purchase cheap tools for doing Forimica work.

You’re going to need a belt sander:

There are two popular sizes that people use for doing plastic laminate work. That’s the 3” x 21” wide belt sander and the 3” x 24” size. There are many brands that work well for industrial work. I would recommend either Mikita, Porter Cable, Milwaukie or a Ryobi. The wider models such as the 3 1/2” or 4” sizes are really kinda bulky and difficult to handle.

  • Tip: Dust bags are just an annoying thing to get into your way when your are doing plastic laminate work.


Sanding belts for doing Forimca work:

The industry standard is to use a 50 grit selection for your sander.

Compressor and paint gun, paint brush or roller, or spray can pre filled:

The cabinet contact glue can be applied with a brush, roller, an automotive type spray gun with a compressor, or you may purchase “ready to spray” cans of contact adhesive.

Small hand held router and bit:

The very best small hand held router I have ever owned is the Porter Cable brand. Throughout my 25 year carrier as a cabinetry specialist I have used the Ryobi and Mikita brands but the Porter Cable is by far the finest there is in small hand held laminate trimmers. They work great for routing Formica. If you will be doing resurfacing work on the job, it will be easier if you purchase an off set router. They are more expensive but well worth the investment.

Get a straight flush trim bit for starters. Preferably not one with a bearing but just one that has a guide molded into its design. We have used this style exclusively for many years to fabricate Formica kitchen cabinets.

Table saw for cutting the laminate:

It will be a necessary to have a table saw unless you purchase your pieces pre-cut from a cabinet shop.

Plastic- cut file:
This is something that takes some practice to master, “the art of filing Formica.” If you have never filed plastic laminate before make sure to purchase a file that has a fine cutting design.

Hand Mica Slitter:

The best one is a Virutex plastic laminate slitter for cutting Formica or Plastic laminate. I your doing mica work on the job such as a recover project this is a must have tool.

Laminate Roller:
Once you have stuck the two surfaces together, the proper way to compress the two into a permanent bond is by using waht is called a J-roller. It is specifically designed for doing Forimca work.

That pretty much covers all of the tools that are needed to do Formica work. Plastic laminate has its own learning curve, the process of yielding a quality project will require that you purchase the best equipment for the job. Don’t cut yourself short if you can afford to purchase good brand name tools, just do it. Quality equipment is needed for accomplishing an acceptable mica cabinet or counter top job.

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