What's the right cutting tool for this kitchen renovation task?

Marc_G

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Hi folks,

I've lived in my current home for 16 years, and love the place. However, one big issue that I've managed to deal with all this time is the lack of a full size oven. I've got a small wall oven/microwave combo, plus a cabinet with a stovetop. This Thanksgiving, for the first time, we will have more company than just my parents in law coming, there will also be my sister in law's family plus one other family friend (yes, we're all vaxxed...).

Anyway, given the cooking limitations of the wall oven (smaller turkeys only!), I'm trying to replace the cabinet/stovetop with a full size (30") slide in range. The limiting factor is actually getting the appliance (I've had two orders cancelled due to lack of stock), since I'm not settling for anything other than a dual fuel range with electric oven and gas stovetop. But, I'm preparing for the theoretical delivery two weeks from now.

The challenge for me will be cutting the formica/particleboard counter. Here's a picture of the area:

1633787758725.png

Yesterday, I had a plumber come over and help me with some infrastructure for the gas... the original gas line came in through cabinet, so I needed him to help rework all that. We removed the cabinet temporarily, and got things so that I can easily remove the stovetop and cabinet the day before appliance removal. At that point, I will need to cut the 30" opening in the formica/particleboard counter which is 1.5" thick at its thickest points in front and back.
1633788153924.png
My plan, once the cabinet /stovetop are out on the day before installation, is to use some masking tape on the areas where I'll be cutting, draw a guide line, use a clamped 2"x4 or similar board as a guide, and use my Skil saw (reciprocating) with a 2" blade (fine tooth for clean cut) to go from the front to the back until the saw can't go any farther.

But, how to do that final inch or so in the back, plus the backsplash? I don't want to damage the wall any more than I need to for sure. I could probably wrangle my Sawzall for some of it, but it's not going to give me a tidy cut for sure. I have visions of buying a small circular saw, or... dare I say it? Getting a fine blade small hand saw and manually cutting with the saw in a vertical orientation?

What's the right way to do this without making an ugly mess?

Thanks folks!!
 

Marc_G

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Love this. The plumber had a smaller Dremel oscillating tool that they used to pop open the drywall back there behind the cabinet, and the flat blade (looks like a beard trimmer) cut through the drywall like butter.

Where has this tool been all my life?

I will need to investigate the right variation of tool. I'm a bit conflicted. I do fewer home projects now as I get older, and contract more of them out, so I might just get a lower end corded version, with the proviso that I can always upgrade to a higher quality cordless version if the "oscillating multitool fever" takes hold. On the other hand I rarely buy cheap (low quality) tools because the headaches aren't worth the savings.

My cordless tools are Makita 18V, and there's negative reviews of the Makita cordless version of this tool due to removal of the worklight LED on the current version that has the quick change feature.

Hmmm. Visit to Lowes or Home Depot is pending, I guess.


Thanks for the reply.
 
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heada

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The sanding head is amazing at sanding wood filler and bondo (used on a 7.5" Patriot to blend the tip to tip fiberglass into the body tube) I have the cordless DeWalt
 

Bravo52

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My cordless tools are Makita 18V, and there's negative reviews of the Makita cordless version of this tool due to removal of the worklight LED on the current version that has the quick change feature.

Hmmm. Visit to Lowes or Home Depot is pending, I guess.

Thanks for the reply.
These tools are great and I don't use hardly any other cutting tool inside my house. They are maneuverable and have a multitude of attachments that will fit the bill perfectly. Sometimes it's just hard picking the right blade. I completely remodeled a shower stall with one of these and even trimmed a tile or two for the prefect fit (not made for that but it worked!)

The only advice I would give on which one is go cordless. Yes, it is a pain to wait for a battery to charge but the ability to maneuver without a cord (or extension cord) is priceless. The good news about tool companies today is if they have a line of power tools, they will likely already have a Makita 18V.

1633805429263.png

The other excuse I give my wife is; "just think how much money we'll save buy doing it ourselves! The tool practically pays for itself!" 😉
 

Cl(VII)

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I have a cheap oscillating tool from Harbor Freight.
I've used it to refloor two rooms and a hallway with laminate plank flooring, undercut door jambs for new transitions, plunge cut through dry wall to install an access panel, cut PVC pipe, ..........
Oh, and cut fins from plywood and lexan.
Just don't forget the ear plugs, it's loud.
At least mine is.
 

Steve Shannon

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I have a cheap oscillating tool from Harbor Freight.
I've used it to refloor two rooms and a hallway with laminate plank flooring, undercut door jambs for new transitions, plunge cut through dry wall to install an access panel, cut PVC pipe, ..........
Oh, and cut fins from plywood and lexan.
Just don't forget the ear plugs, it's loud.
At least mine is.
Every one I’ve seen is loud, regardless of cost.
 

Marc_G

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So I decided to buy the Makita cordless 18V, since I have a Makita 18V drill with batteries, but it turns out my drill is old enough that the batteries pre-date the current "LXT" standard Makita uses. Sigh.

For this job, I just need something that will cut through my formica countertop with as much depth as practical (it's 1.5" thick).

The review continues...
 
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+1 for oscillating tool. Fein would be the gold standard. I use a generic Chinese one mains powered. Battery is more convenient if you're a tradie and using your tools every day. Cost nothing and does the job. Great for getting sash windows unstuck at the paint line.
Mains is better for something that's occasionally used as you don't get a flat/ failed battery.

If you're putting a gas cooker in, I'd be watching out for your heat clearance distances on your wooden cabinets.
Good luck with the project.
 
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For this job, I just need something that will cut through my formica countertop with as much depth as practical (it's 1.5" thick).
I'm not a craftsman, but I believe the pro countertop guys cut out their openings with a plunge router. You can probably rent one from Home Depot.
 

heada

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I'm not a craftsman, but I believe the pro countertop guys cut out their openings with a plunge router. You can probably rent one from Home Depot.
Clearance to the backsplash could be an issue with a plunge router. Mine needs 3 inches from the edge of the base to the bit. If the clearance is there, then a 2.25hp plunge router with a 1/2 down spiral bit would make short work of it and give a clean edge.
 

Marc_G

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Hi guys,

With some of the better options being out of stock locally, I found a 20V knockoff brand reasonably priced option with battery and charger for $100 at Lowes. It looks like it will do exactly what I need. I will pick it up tomorrow and get to know it a bit. I didn't want to order something that I'd have to wait for, sine with backorders you never know.

I will report how it does for my application after I eventually get my oven and take the tool to the actual counter!
 
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Marc_G

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Sandy H.

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Actually, it's not exactly a knockoff brand, it's a Skil.


It meets my criteria, was on sale for a decent price, and if it turns out that I want something fancier or whatever I've only invested $100. It seems to use standard OIS tools so when I inevitably break a blade at an inopportune time, replacements will be easy to find.

Since you have an older, but functional Milwaukee 18V system, maybe see if there are any pawn shops open on your way to Lowes and drop in to check. Every place is different, but some have older, well used tools at decent prices.

Just throwing that out in case you hadn't thought about it.

Never again will I have multiple battery systems for power tools. . .if my current system dies for some reason, I'm getting rid of it all (lots of tools and batteries) and going with a uniform system. For now, I'm all Dewalt 20V. In the past I had Bosch, Porter Cable, Dewalt etc. It was a nightmare. . .

Sandy.
 

Bravo52

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So I decided to buy the Makita cordless 18V, since I have a Makita 18V drill with batteries, but it turns out my drill is old enough that the batteries pre-date the current "LXT" standard Makita uses. Sigh.

For this job, I just need something that will cut through my formica countertop with as much depth as practical (it's 1.5" thick).

The review continues...
You might be able to find a battery adapter that allows the use of the new batteries with the old tool. That is what I do with my DeWalts.

As far as which blade...any will work. Use the combo metal/wood cutting blade for the Formica since you'll want a smooth cut. You can go back with a coarse blade and finish the cut through the thicker material. That said, I'd score the Formica with a utility blade before you cut it. Some blue tape to mark the cut, score with a utility knife, the go along the score with the fine blade on the oscillating saw. You can practice on a piece of ply if you have it.

1633835879928.png
 
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OverTheTop

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I have a Bosch blue (industrial) version of this tool. Very handy. Some of the cheaper versions need a tool to change the position of the cutter on the head. The Bosch has a single lever for quick tool changes. Don't underestimate how handy that feature is, especially when you have just put the cutter on and find you need to rotate it another 15 degrees.

Practise on a piece of the benchtop somewhat inboard from your final cut location.
 

Nateairman

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Seal the cut edge with epoxy if you don't plan to put a piece of laminate on.

If you have a belt sander you could clean the cut edge up nicely.
 

lakeroadster

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So I decided to buy the Makita cordless 18V, since I have a Makita 18V drill with batteries, but it turns out my drill is old enough that the batteries pre-date the current "LXT" standard Makita uses. Sigh.

For this job, I just need something that will cut through my formica countertop with as much depth as practical (it's 1.5" thick).

The review continues...

Consider a corded model. Most of my tools are of that configuration and are within reach of an extension cord 98% of the time.

I'd recommend the Makita 3 Amp Corded Variable Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit With Blade, Sanding Pad, Sandpaper, Adapter, Hard Case. We have this model... I just used it 2 days ago to cut the bottom of a door frame for some porcelain tile. Be sure to select a blade made specifically for what you are cutting. The selection of blades can be a bit mind boggling as there are a lot to choose from.

I always use some blue painter's tape to cover the area you are going to cut. It'll help protect the laminate surface.

1633877634296.png
 
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Dynamiteralph

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Seal the cut edge with epoxy if you don't plan to put a piece of laminate on.

If you have a belt sander you could clean the cut edge up nicely.
My Home Depot carries laminate cut to shape of the cross section of the counter top. Peel and stick makes it easy.
 

Marc_G

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Hi guys,

Job done.

1635388912250.png

It worked out pretty well. the Skil 20V reciprocating saw worked just great.

The biggest problem was the Skil jigsaw I used for the initial cuts from front to back.

I used tape and straight edges and such and marked things up:

1635389343291.png

Here's the first cut partially done. Even with a clamped guide the cut wasn't that clean. I had some issues with vertical straightness... because the thickness of the counter material up front was just a hair shy of the blade stroke depth, it was slow going. Pressure on the jigsaw made things wander or tip a bit to the side.

I did the second side without the guide, and just was careful to guide the saw straight with minimal pressure. Got a straighter line. Then I busted out the new reciprocating saw and it buzzed through the end parts just fine:

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Above is the left side after I painted it with some Kilz 2 to seal it.

Not shown is some later work I did to even out the cuts and remove some excess material left over due to the jigsaw blade not cutting completely vertical (then, re-sealing).

The oven showed up on time but had some minor cosmetic damage (scratches on the control panel, minor, and a small dent in the side). I chose to keep the oven and have GE schedule a visit to remediate it rather than send it back. Who knows how long it would take to get a replacement. Oven works fine.

Today I received some gap fillers I ordered that close the small gaps on either side:

1635389979212.png

Thanks for all your help equipping me to handle this job. I'm grateful for your expertise!
 

Sandy H.

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Looks like a clean install to me. You're going to have to make some new posts to the TRF Cookbook thread, as that looks like it is a sweet unit. I just did my first 'pan fried/oven' ribeye yesterday. I had to use the grill to heat the skillet, as I wasn't sure if putting a 500 deg cast iron skillet on the induction top was dumb. You've got gas with cast iron 'grates', so no problem doing it in the house!!!!

Sandy.
 
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