Cutting Melamine can be quite troublesome because of the creations of chippings. With other DIY tools, chippings are produced only on the exit side. But with a device like a jigsaw which has a reciprocating effect, the chippings are produced on both sides. This is why jigsaw is not recommended when it comes to melamine. That being said, if you are at your home and you don’t have anything but a jigsaw to cut melamine and you are wondering how to cut melamine with a jigsaw. We can help make it easier for you.
Melamine is a useful material for making particleboards but quite tricky to handle. The only problem with it is that it gets chipped when cut with an ordinary saw blade because of its vulnerability.
The melamine has a coating of plastic resins which makes it vulnerable to chipping when cut with an average saw blade. A circular saw might be a better option when it comes to cutting this material. But a jigsaw can also be used given you know the tricks and tips given below.
Lets learn how to cut melamine with a jigsaw.
Step by Step Guide for Cutting Melamine With a Jigsaw:
Before using the jigsaw blade, you must know its handling. You need to hold its face right for cutting thus it needs attention for handling. Take a masking tape and put it along the cut lines. Using this method, you will be able to reduce chipping.
You can also use a power planer to bring down the jigsaw. It is not a successful technique but still, you can have good results with it.
Another way is the usage of panel cutters for making big cuts. The big cuts made this way have fine finishing. But this is also not an effective technique but you can use Tippex to take a shot.
Use an appropriate jigsaw guide depending on what kind of cut you are making. If you are using a simple jigsaw then it is the cause of chipping. Instead buy a proper guide. There are many types of jigsaw guides for making different cuts. These guides include circular-cutting guides, straight edges, and parallel guides.
- While cutting on your own, start with selecting the right blade. The jigsaw package has instructions about which blade to use for which material. A blade with TPI (teeth-per-inch) of 8-10 is appropriate for cutting melamine. Read our jigsaw blade guide here.
- To reduce the chipping on the opposite surface, you can place plywood or any other sacrificial material for backing under the melamine.
- Take a special jigsaw blade that can cut on face down and gives an effective cut. For fine cutting, put masking tape along the lines.
- Allow the blade to do the cutting without applying excessive pressure. The fine jigsaw blades have usually an aggressive attack angle so they make a quick and fine cut.
- Select the right guide for the type of cut you are making. Place it on melamine tightly and have a firm grip on the jigsaw. You can also clamp the speed square and it will work as the guide for the saw.
- Give the jigsaw a freehand to cut and after cutting, make sure to clean the melamine with a file.
Techniques for Cutting Melamine with Jigsaw:
Use of Bosh Jigsaw:
Bosch jigsaw has consistent and flawless cutting so melamine can be cut with it neatly. All you need is to use the progressor blade in bosch jigsaw 1587 because the patented tooth of the progressor blade makes the fine cut in a variety of materials. You must keep these tips in mind while using bosch jigsaw:
- Keep the progressor blade in a parallel position to the fence of the jigsaw guide.
- The progressor blade must be patented to make the number of teeth equal on each side of the blade.
- Make sure that there is no slop on the shaft of the saw.
Still, you need a lot of precision to avoid jagging the cut. You can cut a straight line with the help of this technique rather easily. But this can go wrong as well so we advise you to follow a pencil straight line.
Pencil Line Technique:
If a circular guide and saw are not available then you can use the following techniques to cut melamine with the help of a jigsaw:
- Place jigsaw on melamine and let the blade cut. Give it a free hand to follow a pencil line.
- Make sure that there are no wobbles if so, then they must be on the unwanted side of the line.
- If you are facing some inconsistencies during cutting, then use a belt sander to clean the line of inconsistencies.
But keep in mind that the edge of the blade is parallel to the foot of the jigsaw.
Marking the surface with Stanley Knife:
There is an additional method for cutting melamine as well. It includes marking the surface of melamine with a Stanley knife. The knife scores the surface but makes sure the line it cuts is not too deep. Melamine is cut by jigsaw on the same line but the blade is put on the waste side of the line so that chipping does not affect the surface. You can also find some inserts in the market which prevent chipping. Use these anti-chipping inserts to preserve the surface of melamine. These inserts look like a horseshoe and it is inserted around the blade. Make sure to clean the surface after cutting with glass paper wrapped in wood or block plane.
Use of Different Saws:
The spiral-cut saw or router saw is also available for cutting melamine to avoid chipping.
Special Tips for Cutting the Melamine:
- Use different blades for different types of cuts.
- If you want tight cuts then use a blade of 20 TPI.
- But for gradual and large curves you should use a blade of 10-12 TPI.
- You can use these blades to make cuts in melamine-coated particle board or even plywood coated with melamine.
What is the best saw blade for cutting melamine?
The best saws for this process are:
- Table saw
- Circular Saw
- Band Saw
Table saw is the best among these for cutting melamine.
If you are cutting laminated melamine then you need to use a table saw. You should be mindful that the table saw has a sled and a sharp blade. The blade should have ATB teeth of 40-80 cm.
You can cut particleboard with a jigsaw as well. But we recommend you to use a table saw for cutting melamine the best. If it has a coating of veneer then make sure that the good side of the saw is facing up.
How do you cut melamine with a jigsaw?
Follow these steps to have an impeccable cut:
- Mark the surface of melamine with a cut line. Then make a carved line on both sides of the cut line with a knife.
- Now set the circular or table saw blade to make a 1/4” deep cut.
- Keep your hand steady with a firm grip while giving the blade a free hand.
- Now life the saw after cutting and clean the cut.
How do you drill through melamine without chipping?
The coating of melamine makes it difficult for a normal bit to make a hole. Thus professionals use bits tipped with carbide. These bits are difficult to find. So you can use a router to drill a hole in melamine.
How do you keep wood from splintering when cutting?
You can find an insert which is called a zero-clearance insert to avoid and prevent splintering. It minimizes splintering to a great deal. The table saw has a plate name as a throat plate around the blade. The pieces of wood go into that plate instead of the hole while cutting. Thus you can avoid splinters.
How do you cut melamine by hand?
It is tricky yet possible to cut melamine by hand with the help of hand tools. But there are certain tips you need to keep in mind that we are going to tell you here:
- Clamp a straight board under the surface where you are going to cut.
- Take a sharp knife to carve the cut into the surface. Make sure that you score only once and that one score is enough.
- Now unclamp the board from melamine.
- Use a chisel to make the score deeper and carve a grove up to 1 mm deep. You should use a wide chisel for deepening the score.
- Take a masking tape to cover the grove.
- Cover the other side with masking tape as well.
- Now take a panel saw of 8 TPI to cut.
- After cutting, remove the tape.
Step by step guide for cutting melamine with a saw blade:
Cutting melamine with a saw blade is rather easy than cutting with a jigsaw. But the cut is not finer than one made with a jigsaw. If you do not have a jigsaw available then you can use an ordinary saw blade to cut. But there are special saw blades available for cutting melamine. Follow these steps to make an impeccable cut:
- Draw a straight line on the surface with help of a pencil and use a sharp utility knife to carve a straight line.
- Now set up the saw blade carefully along the surface and gently cut. Because this is not an actual cut rather a clean cut. Make sure it is not much deeper than ¼”.
- Now set the height of the blade and the gullets to make the deep cut.
- Turn the saw on and carefully make the deep cut.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can a jigsaw cut 3/4 inch plywood?
Yes! Jigsaw blades are capable of making this much deep cut. They can normally cut up to ¾” deep surface. A jigsaw blade of 4″ can cut up to 3″ deep which is sufficient. But you should not put a lot of stress on the jigsaw blade rather but give it a free hand.
- How do you cut straight with a jigsaw?
It is rather easier to cut a straight line with a jigsaw. All you need is to clamp any other wood surface below the surface you want to cut. Then carve a line and guide the jigsaw foot along that line. You will get a perfectly straight cut along the line.
- What screws to use on melamine?
For melamine, you can use Coarse-Threaded Screws. These screws work efficiently than other normal metal or wood screws. You can use a drywall screw which is the best coarse-threaded screw. The particleboard is usually rough and normal screws do not perform well on its surface. But Coarse-Threaded Screws works best here.
Melamine is hard to cut because of its coating and it gets chipped easily. But if you have the right technique and tools then you can make an impeccable cut. Jigsaw helps make a clean cut without chipping.