Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Experimenting with Corian on the scroll saw.

I don't cut a lot of Corian. It's a fun product to work with because it's so different from wood. I decided I should spend a little time learning the ins and outs of cutting the product and making it look nice.

The first thing to know is that Corian can be expensive. It runs about $20/sf. The good news is that most scroll saw projects are small so you don't need a lot of the material. It's best to try and find your local counter top installer and buy or trade for their scraps. You can also find scraps of Corian sold on It's also heavy so shipping charges are high.

Using the correct blade is important. A skip tooth blade like the Flying Dutchman Polar blade will cut Corian well. I also used the "True Cut Blades Hook Tooth GT" with good results.

Feed rate and blade speed are also important. If you feed too fast you will cause friction heat and melt the Corian as you cut. This heat will fuse the material back together. You will know this has happened when you try to remove the piece from the waste area. It won't come out. Even using the correct feed rate you can get some fusing. In the test piece above I used packing tape over the pattern of the man but not on the base. I had no fusing with the tape but without it fusing occurred. This caused a lot of sanding to get the base edges smooth after I had to break it out of the waste. Always use the tape.

Sanding and polishing are a work in progress for me. You can see on the test piece above that there is a difference in the gloss from the pre-finished front and the edges I cut and sanded. It's not severe but noticeable up close. After researching online I have found that there are products to remove scratches and polish the Corian to a high gloss finish. Some online sources suggest a buffing wheel to get a really nice high gloss. I'm working on that.

Cyanoacrylate(Super Glue) is the glue for assembling Corian pieces together. In the test cut there is very little glue area between the base and the foot but the CA glue made the joint strong.

I love cutting wood. I like the natural beauty of the grain. I like the way it feels. I like the way it smells. I like the way it cuts. I just like wood but Corian gives us another material to add to our arsenal. Small art pieces, key fobs, name plates and desk sets are just a few of the projects that come to mind using Corian. If you get a chance, give it a try.

The Scrollsaw Workshop is