A friend was getting ready to move and found a fairly large piece of corian in his garage. It was originally the remainder of his kitchen sink cutout when his house was built. He mentioned that he held onto it for 10+ years with the plans of making a cutting board. After doing some research about cutting corian I told him I would give it a shot. So naturally it moved to my garage and sat for another long period of time.. After nearly a year and knocking it over several times I decided to finally give it a try.
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My friend must have had a large sink because this wasn’t a small piece of corian and it was surprisingly hefty. To get a general idea of size, the picture above shows it sitting on an old kitchen table that I use as a general work bench. Before I agreed to this project I did some basic research and found that you can cut it using normal woodworking tools. So using the table saw I squared it off and cut it into roughly two equal sized rectangles.
I found something round (a flashlight) and marked the edges with a silver marker. Using the bandsaw and disk sander I quickly rounded the corners. The biggest thing I was worried about was cutting the blood groove. I’ve never done one of those but there’s always a first time for everything, right? I decided to pull out my router edge guide and give it a go. I’m generally pretty stable and accurate when routing by hand but I quickly found that this stuff was a little squirrely. (Important technical term.) The blood groove on the first board didn’t really turn out all that straight. There were at least a few spots where what we’re supposed to be straight lines within a half-inch of the edges got a little less than a half-inch away from the edge.
After pronouncing the first attempt as the new “shop cutting surface” I pulled out the second rectangle determined to get a better groove. I set my round bit up in my router table and marked some start/stop lines. There was one spot where it tried to get squirrely on me again but I kept it to a minimum. Just seems that when routing this stuff your bit will tend have a mind of its own.
I really wasn’t sure how sanding this stuff was going to go but figured if I got to high enough of a grit it would turn out fine. The biggest thing that needed sanding was of course the grooves. Starting at 80 grit and working my way up to 600 made them turn out better than the original surface. It did take a bit of work to get all of the blade marks out and the corners probably could have used a little more TLC but it came out pretty good.
Since the grooves were now shinier than the top I decided to give the whole thing a wet sanding with my orbital sander and 600 grit paper. I used just enough water to keep the top wet without getting water up into my sander. I’m not super fond of being shocked so I was pretty careful.
I put some rubber feet on them and called it good. I ended up using the stick on kind of feet since the screw on ones I planned on using had screws that would have went in and gone out the other side by quite a bit. If they ever fall off I have plenty more so I’m not too worried about it.
- When using a blade, corian will cut almost just like wood but when using something a little more free-form like a router, it can get a mind of its own. I’m sure taking smaller cuts would have solved the problem, but I’m just impatient and used to wood.
- When cutting a blood or juice groove the edge guide and probably the router table aren’t the best ways to go. After I got all done I did a little more research (I know.. timing was great on this.) and found that putting together a little jig or template around the whole thing and then using a template bit or something similar would have yielded better results.. Oh well.. there’s always next time.
- Using the orbital sander and 600 grit sandpaper to give a wet sand/polish really give fast and nice results. I was surprised by how reflective and shiny the corian got after this process.