How to Cut Corian With Simple Tools

  • 01 of 04

    You Don't Need to Be a Pro to Cut Corian

    Cutting Corian With Circular Saw
    © Lee Wallender

    Up until a few years ago, homeowners were not allowed to purchase Corian and most other solid surface brands. You could only buy it from officially certified dealers.

    Now, with online companies such as SolidSurface.com, you can buy full-size top condition Corian sheets, as well as partial overstock remnants.

    Certified fabricators will nearly always produce a better Corian cut. They have the right tools and they have had lots of practice. As a do it yourselfer, though, you make a fairly good cut in...MORE Corian using common shop tools.

    DuPont's Recommendations

    Begin by looking at what DuPont requires for cutting Corian.

    The bible of Corian installation and fabrication is the Corian Fabrication Manual, which is specific in terms of the circular saw and blade you can and cannot use.

    Saws Must Be:

    • Stationary saw bed with sliding tray
    • Vertical panel saw
    • Drop-cut saw
    • Heavy-duty portable circular saw
    • Radial arm saw
    • Beam saw

    Saws Cannot Be:

    • Saber saw
    • Hack saw
    • Auger bits
    • Ripping or combination blades

    Blades Must:

    • Have 6 teeth every 1" (So, for a standard 7 1/2" blade, that is a total of 40 teeth).
    • Be triple-chip tungsten carbide.
    • Be described in its specs as "for cutting hard plastics"

    What You Should Use

    Dupont's recommended saws and blades are ideal, but for most do it yourselfers, it is prohibitive to buy a radial arm or beam saw just to make five or six straight cuts in Corian.

    The same goes for blades. On the low end, 7.25" blades specified just for cutting solid surface run $85 and more.

    Here's what will work:

    Heavy Duty Circular Saw: Since Dupont does not specify what "heavy duty" means, the interpretation is up to you. If you use a standard cordless 18V electric circular saw, you may find that it complains and slows against the rigors of solid surface cutting.

    Instead, try using a corded 18V, 15 amp saw.

    Blade: Numerous blades in the 40 tooth range can be purchased for less than $20.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Build Fences As a "Track" To Guide Saw on the Corian

    Placing Fence Before Cutting Corian
    © Lee Wallender

    Cutting solid surface material is tough due to its mineral content. Even though solid surface is often accused of being "plastic" and "fake," that indictment is not correct. About 66% of Corian and other solid surfaces are mineral--a bauxite derivative--with the remaining 33% binding resins.

    How to Stay on Track When Cutting

    Solid surface cutting is a slow process, hard on your saw and blades, and difficult to control the saw.

    If you have any of those five guided saws mentioned by...MORE Dupont, the "difficult to control" part is eliminated; those saws keep your cut on track.

    If you are using the sixth saw mentioned by Dupont--a portable circular saw--you will have problems keeping straight without help.

    The answer: running your circular saw between fences.

    Creating Double Fences as a Saw Track

    Anything that is long, rigid, completely straight, and high (about 1/4" minimum) can serve as your two side fences to keep your circular saw moving in line. Anything that fits those specs will work.

    One suggestion is the Empire 98" Cutting Guide, which separates to give you two metal guides, each close to 4 feet long.

    It's a nice aid, but unless you already have this, you may find it needlessly expensive to purchase just for a few cuts.

    The factory-cut edge of pine boards works, too.

    Recommended Clamps

    The Corian Fabrication Manual recommends spring clamps, C clamps, small bar clamps, wood bar clamps, and a few more. In other words, every type of clamp the typical homeowner DIYer owns is fine to use.

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Set and Check Width of Fences With Saw

    Setting Width of Gates
    © Lee Wallender

    Confirm precise fence width by removing the blade and pulling up the blade cover.

    Power off, cord unplugged, gently slide the saw down the length of your fence to check for perfect width. Leave 1/16" wiggle room for the saw to move.

    Even though you will be sanding your solid surface after the cut, you may wish to minimize gouging by laying down painter's tape along the length as a protective covering.

    Some DIYers also recommend turning an old computer mouse pad upside-down and using this as...MORE a saw slide.

    Create a support for your cut-off portion of a solid surface so that you do not have "tear-out" at the end.

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Cut the Corian By Moving the Saw Slowly

    Cutting Corian With Circular Saw
    © Lee Wallender

    With the cord plugged in and power on the saw, push forward through the solid surface very slowly, much slower than you would with wood.

    Keep the saw steadily and continuous moving ahead. The need for slowness and patience cannot be overemphasized.

    By the same token, though, if you lag in one place, you will gouge too much of the Corian.

    If you need to rest, let go of the power switch and hold the saw firmly in place until the blade has stopped moving.

    Make sure that the waste portion of the Corian...MORE is supported so that it does not tear off at the very end.