Due to its tendency to chip, Formica must be cut carefully with a circular saw after starting the cuts with pilot holes, if working through the interior of a sheet, or by covering the edges with tape. To get the smoothest of edges, however, the cuts must be sanded afterward.
- Mark the cut
Place a strip of masking tape over the area of the Formica that you wish to cut, following the proposed cut line. The masking tape prevents the surface of the Formica from chipping as you make the cut. Place a second strip of tape next to the first to cover the area where the shoe of the saw runs along the surface to prevent scratching. Use a pencil to mark the line that you intend to cut over the tape.
- Line the cut
Take a circular saw with a thin kerf carbide blade with 60 teeth, and measure the distance from the circular saw blade to the shoe edge of the saw. Clamp a 1 by 2-inch board to the surface at the measured distance to serve as a guide, keeping the cut straight. Set the blade so that it is set to cut 1/8 inch deeper than the thickness of the Formica sheet.
- Make the cut
Start the saw, and allow the blade to reach full speed before lowering the blade into the Formica sheet. Cut through the sheet and along the clamped guide, following the penciled mark. If making an interior cut, make a starter hole at the beginning of the cut with a drill, and use a jigsaw with a down-cut blade of 10 teeth per inch to follow the guide instead.
- Sand the edge
Finish the cut by sanding the edge with a power sander to the penciled mark. Use down strokes with the sander to avoid separating layers of the Formica.