Cutting Solid Surface

Tools Required –

Circular Saw

Circular Saw

Router

Router

Straight Edge

Straight Edge

Clamps

Clamps

Recommended Bits/Blades

Circular Saw: Minimum 40 tooth carbide triple chip blade with 0 degree or positive hook angle

Router: 1/2" shank double fluted router bit

Work on a surface (saw horse, workbench or otherwise) that is level. Ensure your cut depth extends ¼” below the solid surface sheet to guarantee a clean and consistent cut. 

Cutting Solid Surface with a Straight Edge

    1. Mark the cut that needs to be made. Measure on either side of your material and use a straight edge to draw your cut line across the sheet.
      Measuring Solid Surface Before Cutting

      Measure

      Marking Your Cut Line

      Mark Cut Line

    2. Use your circular saw to make a rough cut at least 1/8” to the outside of your cut line. This rough cut does not need to be perfectly straight as you will clean and straighten your cut with a router in the next step. Because of rough saw marks and the potential for micro-fractures, it is never recommended to leave a circular saw cut as your final edge cut even if the edge will not be visible upon installation. 
      Circular Saw Rough Cut

      Circular Saw Rough Cut

      Note Saw Marks

      Note Saw Marks

    3. On your router, measure the distance from the router bit to the outside of the router base. This measurement is your "cut offset" and is required to locate your straight edge. Note: If you have a template guide (sometimes also called a router collar) this step is a bit different. Please see our article "Using a Router with a template guide" for details.
      Measuring Your Router Base

      Measure Router Base

    4. Use your "cut offset" to locate and clamp your straight edge the appropriate distance away from your cut line. Take care to measure both ends of your sheet to ensure your straight edge is clamped straight across the material. At this point, you should be able to set your router on top of the material pressed against your straight edge  so that the router bit lines up with your cut line.
      Measure your Cut Offset

      Mark Cut Offset

      Locate Straight Edge

      Locate Straight Edge

      Selecting your straight edge: Make sure your straight edge is at least as long as the cut you are going to make. Your straight edge needs to be thick enough that you can run your router base against it without slipping onto it. It also needs to be perfectly straight. Your cut will only be as accurate as your straight edge!
    5. Make your cut. Be sure to maintain a slow and consistent pace while routing.Take care to hold your router tight to your straight edge all the way through the end of your cut.
      Router Cut on Solid Surface

      Router Cut

      Clean Cut on Solid Surface

      Clean Cut!

You should now have a straight clean cut that can be seamed!

Alternative Method: Mirror Cut 

An alternative method for cutting solid surface (specifically for cutting sides that will be seamed together) is to use the mirror cut method. The basic principle is to place the two pieces you intend to seam 3/8" apart. You then make one cut with a router down the middle routing both edges at the same time. This guarantees that regardless of how accurate or straight your cut is, the two pieces will press together perfectly. 

Mirror Cutting Solid Surface

Mirror Cut

Mirror Cutting Solid Surface Zoom

Mirror Cut Zoom

This method used to be very popular, but has slowly been phased out given the availability and accuracy of straight edges. With that said, mirror cutting is still an acceptable practice. 

Detailed instructions for the mirrored cut method are available here.

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