How to File Formica
Here is a quick lesson explaining and demonstrating with a video, how to file plastic laminate or Formica cabinets and counter-tops. The art of filing is one that can only be mastered over time through trial and error. When you first start out, as a beginner, it is a great idea to perform the operations rather slowly. I would also recommend that you try working on a practice piece before actually filing the real project at hand. For most people it is easiest to file when they are pushing the tool rather than pulling it. But if your planning on mastering the use of this
hand tool, you will need to learn how to flip it backwards and pull it while cutting the laminate rather than pushing it forward. The video is just for demonstration purposes to show the various ways of using this tool on plastic laminate doors, cabinets or counters.
- Tip: Some cabinet shops have a permanent sleeve built on the end of a work bench that is just the right size to place a mica door into, in an upright position. This holds the door securely in place so that the cabinet maker does not have to try and hold it steady while he is filing it.
Here are the steps in this video about filing Formica. I recommend that you use the Plasti-Cut Mill File brand with fine teeth. Once you get the hang of it you can apply these techniques when you are doing re- laminate work or recovering counters or cabinets. When you are laminating over existing mica, especially on the job, the methods used are still the same. The difficulty of filing mica when doing resurface work, on-site, is that you will find yourself in very awkward positions. For instance, if you have just cut the Formica on the bottom of an upper cabinet using a router, you may have to lie on the counter-top and perform the task lying on your back. I have even had to bend my body in very strange positions to get certain areas of Formica shaped down to the proper level when using this hand tool.
If you have an older file, this is ideal for when you are learning how to use this hand tool properly. Oftentimes, Formica will have a very thin coat of color on it and if you cut too deep your plastic laminate’s finish is not going to look very good on the edge. Filing Formica properly is a skill that will take a lot of practice to master. There is really no way to correct your mistake once you have over filed your mica. So, with this in mind, be extra careful on your final project that you are working on.