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Cutting & Jointing MFC (Melamine Faced Chipboard)

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Robert Donohoe18/01/2008 21:36:00
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how to cut mfc without chipping it ?
Woodworker18/01/2008 21:49:00
1745 forum posts
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74 articles
Dedicated MFC fine cut blade on a table saw works quite well. Haven't tried it but I assume similar results would be achievable with a mitre saw.
Keith Smith19/01/2008 10:41:00
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There was  second part to this article that dealt with cutting MFC, this is the text from it;

Cutting Melamine faced chipboard 

Cutting MFC can be very difficult without chipping the melamine but, if you bear in mind that most panels only need one good face, when planning the cutting layout you can ensure that all the clean edges are on the same side.

 

Without access to expensive tools the best way to cut MFC is to score the cut line with a sharp knife on both sides, just enough to break through the surface, then cut the board on the waste side of the line with a handsaw. If an absolutely perfect finish is needed, a router, guided by a straight edge, can be used to trim the edge.

 

I haven’t found jigsaws much use for cutting straight edges in MFC. It is possible to fit anti-splinter inserts to reduce chipping the melamine, but it is almost impossible to cut a perfect straight line with one.

 

On the whole circular saws make a terrible job of cutting MFC, the exception is the Festool saw when used with its anti-chip foot and guide rail system. It gives an almost flawless cut edge, with just a few minor chips on the underside, whilst the top edge which you would expect to chip the most is perfect.

 

The finish obtained by cutting MFC on a table saw depends very much on the blade used;

 
  • The general purpose blade that came with the Scheppach table saw I have gave a near perfect finish on the top face but slightly chipped the lower face.
  • An 80 tooth triple chip blade gave a super finish, but there are just a few tiny chips on the bottom face of the cut.
  • A 60 tooth negative rake blade gave an absolutely perfect finish on both sides of the board.
 Keith
derek willis19/01/2008 11:48:00
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2314 forum posts
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Putting packaging tape or masking tape on the under surface where the cut line is to be is a big help in stopping the chip breakout. Ideally use a table saw with an underscoring blade.

Derek

How do I put a picture onto the foum pages?

derek willis19/01/2008 14:50:00
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2314 forum posts
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I would like to add to my previous comments oc cutting faced chipboard, try making a false table top for your saw, i.e. closing the gap in the saw table top. First wind down the blade of your saw, fit a sheet of 6,9.or 12mm. mdf to the sawtable with double sided tape, (carpet tape is best) then wind up the blade this will give a very tight fit to the blade and will result in a better finish with less breakout.

Derek.

Keith Smith20/01/2008 10:47:00
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Derek, if you put a false top on the saw I imagine the fence will no longer work, it certainly wouldn't on mine and the top would need to be securely fixed otherwise it will flex and bind on the blade.

Also as a safety issue you would also need to cut out behind the blade to allow the riving knife to pass through the board. Otherwise how are you going to fit a guard? That is unless you have an expensive overhead SUVA system.

Some saws allow zero clearance insert plates to be fitted otherwise I wouldn't recommend trying to fit a false top on the saw table, much better to use the proper (negative rake) blade in the first place which will give you excellent results.

Keith

derek willis20/01/2008 12:06:00
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Keith,

all I can say is, it worked for me, carpet tape is very secure, clamp on a fence, and riving knife was not needed.

Derek.

Robert Donohoe25/01/2008 22:31:00
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17 forum posts
thanks very much
Ray10/02/2008 18:16:00
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17 forum posts

My problem is not so much with the cutting of melamine sheet. Provided only one face is to be visible, if care is taken to always cut from the same side chipping can be kept to a minimum on the face side.  My problem is with trimming the edging strip.  Unlike timber faced board, where by slightly chamfering the trimmed edge of the strip an invisible glue line can be achieved, I have the utmost difficulty in avoiding an obvious edge.  I have tried trimming by router. but even when I increased the width by clamping a batten along the side of the edge to be trimmed, the slightest movement of the router from the vertical took the melamine facing from the board. Trimming by hand with a Stanley knife was fairly good, but final trimming with a file or other abrasive did not result in a satifactory edge. Not enough trimming and a white glue residue remained - trimming too much took the surface off the face of the board. I bought an edge trimmer (hand) from Axminster but found that this chamfered the edge and exposed the under surface of the board.

Can anyone put me right on this?  

Ray

derek willis10/02/2008 18:41:00
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2314 forum posts
1 articles

Ray,

I too have had the same problem, I have a dedicated Makita edge trimmer, but was not that satisfied,

so after that I always trimmed the edges with a large and very sharp chisel, by laying the flat side on the board and working along in small burts a decent finish was obtainable.

Derek.

Doug10/02/2008 20:53:00
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3415 forum posts
35 photos

I cut a lot of mfc & if both sides are visible i always rout the edge with a sharp, quality router cutter, never had any chipping. Only like routing kitchen worktop, you only chip it if your cutter is not sharp. As for trimming edging any very sharp flat tool edge will give a good finish. a really sharp plane iron is as good as anything.

Hope this helps Baz.

Ray11/02/2008 10:49:00
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17 forum posts

Thanks for your replies. The blade of a chisel or a plane iron make good sense. I found that using a craft knife was fairly ok but still had to be very careful not to dig in to the surface. I'm off now to the workshop to give it a try.

Ray

derek willis11/02/2008 11:25:00
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2314 forum posts
1 articles

Ray,

Great you'll have a lot of luck, i'm sure.

Derek.

Ray17/02/2008 16:12:00
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17 forum posts

I have used an old plane blade to trim the mfc edging strip and got a superb result! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You've saved me hours of work and frustration and made me realise that mfc is great to work with after all.

One other thing, (nothng to do with mfc) how do I use the search facility? I stumbled upon this article originally by chance, and beng new to this forum site I cannot seem to get a result with the search box. Even when I was on this page dealing with mfc trimming and I put "mfc trimming" in the box and clicked Search it came back with "sorry nothing found".

derek willis17/02/2008 16:44:00
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2314 forum posts
1 articles

Ray,

I see what you mean, I've never tried to search before, but just tried two to no avail, ask Ben.

Derek.

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