Cutting in

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No matter how careful you are in the woodshop, cuts happen. However, there are some shop tasks where they happen more often than others.

I’m talking about working with laminates, which – fortunately – I don’t do a lot. But when I do, I can’t help but get a cut or two. Or five.

With my shop build I laminated a large assembly table, a long countertop, a miter saw station with three separate tops and, just recently, a two-level sanding station for my disc and oscillating spindle sander that also had separate tops. That’s a lot of laminating in a short period of time. Handling laminates isn’t easy, especially full-size. Those sheets want to flop everywhere, and keeping them under control until you get them sized and in place can be problematic. Right from the factory those edges aren’t too bad, though, if you’re careful.

But once you’ve glued the laminate down the danger ramps up considerably. That’s after you’ve used a router to flush-trim around the countertop edges. Freshly cut, those edges are literally razor sharp, and they stay that way until you apply whatever edge treatment you’re using.

I finished this latest set of cabinets yesterday, with the laminate edged all around with oak strips. Looks great, but in the time between trimming that laminate and adding the edge strips, I managed to get seven laminate cuts even though I was – I thought – being careful. Perhaps I should have taken my own advice from a few weeks ago: This is definitely one of those woodshop tasks where gloves might be called for.

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