Cutting procedures

Laminated plastic veneers can be cut with circular saws, using square tipped teeth without set, band-saws with hack-saw-shaped teeth, or fine-toothed backed tenon-saws, in all cases cutting with the face side up. For machine-saws in production-work tungsten-carbide teeth should be used, for the resin content is very hard on cutting edges; while if there is any tendency for the back to chip or 'tear out' with any type of saw the teeth should be resharpened, and the plastic sheet firmly supported with applied top pressure if possible. An alternative hand method which gives no tear is to score the face with a hardened steel scraper or cutting tool—a special blade is available for Stanley trimming-knives—and the sheet will then snap easily with a clean fracture, as in glass cutting. Narrow cross-cuts, corners, etc. can be cut with a fine-toothed hack-saw, while for contour cutting portable electric sabre-saws or fret-saws with

Cutting Procedures

29 Decorative plastic laminate details metal-piercing blades can be used, but support must be adequate with strips of waste material, hardboard, etc. clamped to the face to prevent chipping on the upward stroke.

Trimming edges

Cut edges can be trimmed with a heavy jackplane, using short, quick strokes and not attempting to follow through; or with steel cabinet-scrapers, or fine-cut saw-files. If the edges require polishing a dead smooth file, or 400 grit wet and dry silicon carbide paper, will ease out the scratches, and a little fine cutting-down paste or metal polish {Brasso, etc.), followed up with a wipe of thin oil, will restore the lustre. Scratches on the face of the sheet can also be eased out with abrasive paste (p.86), always provided they do not penetrate to the cover paper, and matt black laminates are usually enhanced by rubbing over with finest No. 0000 steel wool, but it must be carefully done. Spilt glue, paint, etc. can be lifted with a razor-blade as in cleaning glass, and oil, greasy thumb-prints, especially on matt black veneers, eradicated by wiping over with french chalk.

Laying techniques

Composite assemblies 1/8 in (3 mm) and thicker are self-supporting; but the standard 1/16 in (1.5 mm) veneer requires bonding, either to a rigid framework, or to plywood or chipboard sheeting not less than 3/4 in (19 mm) thick. Generally speaking, solid wood groundworks/ substrates are quite unsuitable, as the laminated veneer is virtually inert and cannot move in sympathy. Additionally, the reverse side of the groundwork must also be veneered to counteract the pull as in wood veneering, unless the support is very firmly fixed. A special backing quality laminate composed of kraft papers is available, although .024 in (0.6 mm) wood veneers can also be used. Care should be taken to choose groundworks whose faces are smooth, fine grained and without strong figure such as Columbian pine, etc., otherwise the raised grain will telegraph through to the surface in time. Cross-members in made-up frameworks should not be glued together or they will also eventually shadow through.

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