Hand Slitter-Cutting Plastic Laminate Countertop Edges
The process of cutting plastic laminate for door edges or counters can be done best with a plastic laminate hand slitter. It works great for making cuts on countertop-edges, backslashes, or cabinet doors. The special hand tool cost between $130 and $150. There are two adjustments that can be made to accommodate the thickness of plastic laminate and the width you need to cut.
How to Cut Plastic Laminate Edges
1)Insert the laminate against the hand slitter fence.
2)Pull with one hand while pushing with the other.
The Formica cutting tool should be adjusted so that it just barely breaks through the surface of the plastic. Then you should be able to gently twist the area that you cut with the slitter and the two pieces should separate rather easily.
When adjusting the slitter, if you are feeling great resistance when cutting your trial piece, turn the top knob in a clockwise direction and this will separate the cutting wheels just enough to allow for it to cut smoother.
If you plan on doing a lot of plastic laminate cabinet recovering or resurfacing, this hand cutting tool is what you need. It’s great for making clean cuts and seams in plastic laminate an is the ideal tool for cutting Formica door edges.
For many years we have cut all of the plastic laminate cabinet door edges in the shop with this hand slitter. It works great for making the Formica just a little bigger than the door’s edges. Once the pieces are contact glued on, they can easily be sanded and filed flush.
It’s the perfect tool for slitting cabinet face edges for European or face-frame style cabinets. One advantage to using this slitter on a resurfacing cabinet job is that you can cut the cabinet face pieces so close that there will be minimal dust when you run the router to do the final flush-trim. Homeowners greatly appreciate it when there’s a kitchen or bathroom vanity cabinet remodel project that doesn’t dust-up everything in the home.
Caution: If you are experiencing a lot of resistance when feeding the Formica into the hand slitter, be extremely careful. The laminate could break off and possibly cause serious injury. The edges of of Formica when when they are broken are always razor sharp.
There are two brand names on the market for this hand tool, Virutex and Grizzly. The one used in the video demonstration is a Virutex Formica slitter.
The only other methods of cutting plastic laminate edges are with a table saw or a pair of hand snips. Usually the dolphin-nose cutters for cutting tin work the best. The reason that the hand slitter is superb to either of these methods is because you don’t get edge chipping and you get a perfectly straight, clean cut.
It’s the perfect tool for countertop edges when doing resurfacing work. The small piece of backsplash-cap laminate is easy to cut close enough to not even need to route it off in some instances. We usually cut the counter edge about one sixteenth thicker, stick it flush with the existing edge and then sand the excess off from the top.