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Bill R
01-23-2010, 03:18 PM
I am in the middle of a quick and dirty project for one of our studios- modifying some studio furniture to fit in its new home.

Part of this project will have a modesty panel of sorts with an access panel that will in the center of it. Modesty panel is 3/4" ply approx 30" high and 40" long. Access will be roughly 18" x 20".

The plan is to cut the access out of the panel and reuse the cutout as the removable access panel. The entire thing will be covered with formica laminate.

The question is: Cover the entire panel with the laminate first and then cut out the access hatch, or cut the hatch first then cover the 2 pieces with laminate seperately?

I was thinking laminate first, then rout out the access hatch, apply trim and catches and be done with it.

This is definately not Ledger-esque cabinetry... quick and cheap using whatever I had around the shop as time and budget are key factors. The access panel will almost never be used- only removed if we need to fish new cabling behind the panel, which hopefully will only happen long after I retire...

Any professional (or skilled amateur) opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

MiddleAgesMan
01-23-2010, 03:22 PM
I think you first instinct is good. Cover, then cut or rout the panel and apply trim...perfectly workable solution IMO.

Boston
01-23-2010, 03:27 PM
well Ive done my share of laminates and unless you are pretty handy with a router your going to get a defect in the cut somewhere.
either where you plunge into it or where you pull out
if your ok with that and its going to get covered with trim anyway then no big deal
if not then you might want to do your slicing and dicing with a skill saw and apply the laminate on each individual piece although your going to have more waist and going to have to still file down to flush

if you use the right bit on the router you should have a small lip left over on the edge so you can "sneak" up on the edge piece ( are you planing on edging this hole ?)

I'd probably go the more complex rout and do the pieces separately and with edging but thats just my anal retentive style I suppose
if you just want fast and dirty then go the router rout and forget the edging in place of some trim over
also allows for an easy few screws through the trim board attaching the access to the panel

my two cents
B

katey
01-23-2010, 03:50 PM
Believe it or not, I did this exact same thing to a piece of studio furniture (that held two turntables--how crude!) back in the 80's. I don't recommend cutting the hatch out of the pre-laminated sheet. Aside from the fact that you'll never get it to look even close to perfect, you also need to think about how you're going to attach your hardware. If it's like the piece I worked on, the stuff is heavy, and the hatch will cheerfully pull the screws out of the hinges or whatever you are using to secure it.

Robert L.
01-23-2010, 03:52 PM
3/4" wow pretty sturdy modesty panel. My 2 cents, you don't need no stinkin' router. Laminate first then plunge cut with a thin kerf laminate blade, finish the cut into corners with a jig saw (from back side of panel, fine tooth, take your time). Use a course file to clean up corners. Add trim and latches.

Ron Williamson
01-24-2010, 08:16 AM
I'd cut,clean up,laminate the edges then laminate the faces so they overhang the edges.
'Quick and Dirty',Be Damned!
R

Paul Girouard
01-24-2010, 10:46 AM
Cut out the plug first, P.Lam them separately.

Whats your plan for holding the hatch in place, you mention catches and trim?

As Ron mentioned you may want to edge band the cut edges and IF you do those should be the first pieces of P.Lam that you lay, then the faces will cover the edge of the edge banding.

If you do this the hatch will need to be cut down to compensate for the P.Lam-ed edges, they will take up more room than the saw kerf will create.