Best tool for cutting a laminate?

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by CatBuilder, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    How do you guys cut laminates?

    I am worried my low tooth count circular saw or action of my jigsaw will catch on the upper laminate and rip it off.
  2. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    If you're talking about taking excess off of edges you would use a laminate trimmer. This is a router bit that any hardware store wil stock.

    If you're talking about rough cutting sheets I use a laminate cutting knife. This tool resembles a box cutter (with a very heavy "blade"). The cutter scores the finished surface of the laminate and after you've scored a decent grove in the material you can bend the laminate on the cut and 'snap" it cleanly apart. Any place that sells HPDL will stock this tool.

    Hope this helps,

  3. anthony goodson
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    anthony goodson Senior Member

    You can buy jigsaw blades with the teeth set the other way.
  4. rxcomposite
    Joined: Jan 2005
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    rxcomposite Senior Member

    Use a 4" diamond saw attached to an angle grinder.
  5. david@boatsmith
    Joined: Aug 2008
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    david@boatsmith Senior Member

    You can also use abrasive cutoff wheels in a mini grinder to trim your laminate. I use the ones for steel.
  6. ondarvr
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    Grit edge blades can be purchased for almost every type of saw, you can get fine, medium and coarse depending on the need. They typically leave a nice edge with little or no chipping.
  7. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    These are slower than the circular blade grits but you will get a nice edge with more control. I suggest these only because you already have experience with jigsaw and know its quirks. The circular grit wheels are also great but require more practise to control.

    Attached Files:

  8. AndrewK
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    AndrewK Senior Member

    Carborandum grit blades for the jigsaw and diamond wheel for the grinder.
  9. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Sounds like I will need both the blade for the circular saw and the blade for the jigsaw.

    One cut is the bow, which is quite close to the mold and over some extra length of battens. That cut is best done with a circular saw at the depth of the laminate, so it doesn't cut into mold.

    The other cut is a little I could grind off the edge and the last cut will be the transom profile later on.

    Still not sure how to end the laminate at the transom, but that's in another thread.

    Thanks for the advice. I figured everyone would know good ways to do this - and you did.
  10. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    I use McMaster -Carr a lot for small quantities of blades discs etc. They have the "grit" jigsaw blades and anything else you might need and service to FL is fast-ususally overnight from Atlanta( normal UPS).
  11. Brian@BNE
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    Brian@BNE Senior Member

    Continuous rim diamond blades (not segmented ones) are the only way to go. You use them dry, no water cooling/lubrication unless cutting rock/ceramic tiles. Best of all they can't cut the user! 4" in angle grinder are very versatile, but a larger size in a small & light circular saw would give you good depth control if required.
  12. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    course cut diamond saw blade in a angle grinder . !!:D
  13. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    bntii Senior Member

    Oops- I had thought you were speaking of laminates as in sheet goods like formica.

    For glass laminates I have not used much other than the hardened steel cut blades in the Fein for some years.

    They do wonders- will cut right through 1/2" of solid glass & will zip right through your hull layup like paper.
    They have the advantage of being low dust (they will not throw the dust all over the place and are highly controllable.
    In the bad old days I would use a fine cut wheel in a right angle grinder. No more thankfully as they are such a mess..
    For me- the Fein is indispensable tool & doing cut work like this is its game.
  14. Herman
    Joined: Oct 2004
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    Herman Senior Member

    It is just the noise that annoys me. Ear protection required!

    Diamond blades work as well, but indeed throw dust all over. Respiratory protection! These are much faster than the Fein.

    Also, when the diamond blade stops working in FRP, make a few cuts in stone. This will revive the blade.

  15. westsail42
    Joined: Mar 2005
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    westsail42 Junior Member

    Carbide grit blades. You can pretty much get any kind of blade in carbide grit: sawzall, bandsaw, jigsaw, holesaw.

    The one I havent found a good solution for is an equivalent router bit for routing glass laminates, anyone have a suggestion?
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