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  1. #1
    Senior Member YoungBolt's Avatar
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    Default Joining laminate flat edge benchtops - masons mitre

    Is a masons mitre join worth the trouble?

    Hi crew,

    I'm just at the final stage of my own kitchen reno and at the part of installing the benchtop.

    It's a U shape kitchen and I'm fitting el-cheapo ikea timber looking laminate benchtop that has a flat edge. Because it's not chamferred I could get away with not bothering wth trying to install a typical mason's mitre joint.

    My question is; is all the effort to get a mason's mitre style join worth the trouble?

    With these flat edge laminate benchtops I could butt up the 3 benchtops or even cut them at a 45 deg to the corner.
    I dont know anyone with a jig other than a mate I haven't spoken for almost two years. Otherwise I could buy one for $150 odd off ebay or even probably get someone on airtasker to do it. But all in all, lots of effort for a $129 benchtop.

    Would you bother with the masons mitre? or just "cut & butt" ? or should I attempt to cut it at a diagonal?

    Keen for some opinions.

    Cheers!

    Ikea benchtop: https://www.ikea.com/au/en/p/saeljan...nate-40439174/

  2. #2
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    I have joined an Ikea benchtop with a mini type of masons mitre I did with the router. If the bench has the radius edge then you need the aluminium joining strip which is ugly as.

    edit: looking at the link it should be possible to remove the edge laminate and butt join, don't use a diagonal. Don't forget to do the 3 clamps to join, can use the hinge bore hole forstner bit for that.

  3. #3
    Je pense, donc METRIX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungBolt View Post
    Is a masons mitre join worth the trouble?

    Hi crew,

    I'm just at the final stage of my own kitchen reno and at the part of installing the benchtop.

    It's a U shape kitchen and I'm fitting el-cheapo ikea timber looking laminate benchtop that has a flat edge. Because it's not chamferred I could get away with not bothering wth trying to install a typical mason's mitre joint.

    My question is; is all the effort to get a mason's mitre style join worth the trouble?

    With these flat edge laminate benchtops I could butt up the 3 benchtops or even cut them at a 45 deg to the corner.
    I dont know anyone with a jig other than a mate I haven't spoken for almost two years. Otherwise I could buy one for $150 odd off ebay or even probably get someone on airtasker to do it. But all in all, lots of effort for a $129 benchtop.

    Would you bother with the masons mitre? or just "cut & butt" ? or should I attempt to cut it at a diagonal?

    Keen for some opinions.

    Cheers!

    Ikea benchtop: https://www.ikea.com/au/en/p/saeljan...nate-40439174/
    Miter joins look wrong on benchtops, you are probably better just butt joining it.

    If you bought the benchtop from a trade outlet rather than a retail outlet, they could have done the mason's cut for you for a lot cheaper than $150 plus an airtasker.
    Doing masons cut's on benchtops takes a lot of skill and knowing how to use the jig, plus having the right good quality router bit.

    I wouldn't get an airtasker in to use a jig you supply them and expect to get a perfect result, that's just asking for trouble.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member YoungBolt's Avatar
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    Cheers for the advice fellas

    Quote Originally Posted by phild01 View Post
    I have joined an Ikea benchtop with a mini type of masons mitre I did with the router. If the bench has the radius edge then you need the aluminium joining strip which is ugly as.

    edit: looking at the link it should be possible to remove the edge laminate and butt join, don't use a diagonal. Don't forget to do the 3 clamps to join, can use the hinge bore hole forstner bit for that.
    One of the reasons I'm planning to fit the ikea benchtop is because it has a flat edge. Those radius edge benchtops pretty much can only be butted together with a mitre joint. Flat ones give me options.

    I'll avoid doing the diagonal. Should save some coin on benchtop wastage too.

    I do plan to use the benchtop clams at 3 spots. I'll look into that style router bit.


    Quote Originally Posted by METRIX View Post
    Miter joins look wrong on benchtops, you are probably better just butt joining it.

    If you bought the benchtop from a trade outlet rather than a retail outlet, they could have done the mason's cut for you for a lot cheaper than $150 plus an airtasker.
    Doing masons cut's on benchtops takes a lot of skill and knowing how to use the jig, plus having the right good quality router bit.

    I wouldn't get an airtasker in to use a jig you supply them and expect to get a perfect result, that's just asking for trouble.

    I find the typical mason mitre joint a bit strange looking but ive seen it so much in kitchen setups that it's almost a given style for 90% of benchtops.
    I prefer butting it up but thought I might look really cheap with just being butted up together.

    Prices for retail outlet benchtops are 3-4x times higher than Ikea's. I'm not hellbent on only buying from ikea, bunnings etc, but the price of the ikea benchtops are hard to beat. The cheapest closest timber look benchtop I found that was 40mm was $160/metre..
    Ikea sells a 1.86m benchtop for $99-120. Hard to beat!

    I was more planning to see if a chippy or cabinet maker who wants some cash to fill their beer fridge would use their own jig to cut the join. If I'm going to buy a template, i'll do the cut myself.

    How is using a masons mitre different from using a router to make plunge cuts?

  5. #5
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    Just butt join it

    Only reason for a mason's mitre is if the benchtops have a profiled front edge which needs to match at the join.

    In the times of precious stonework, the mason's mitre saved a lot of waste (two big useless triangles in the bin!)

  6. #6
    Je pense, donc METRIX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungBolt View Post
    Prices for retail outlet benchtops are 3-4x times higher than Ikea's. I'm not hellbent on only buying from ikea, bunnings etc, but the price of the ikea benchtops are hard to beat. The cheapest closest timber look benchtop I found that was 40mm was $160/metre..
    Ikea sells a 1.86m benchtop for $99-120. Hard to beat!
    You must have some guys like these down there, you seem to have everything else cheaper than Sydney for the building trade.
    IKEA is not as bad as Bunnings for rippoff benchtops, but I wouldn't call IKEA hard to beat when it comes to benchtops, they are quite easy to beat from various places up here.

    https://trademaster.com.au/product-c...ate-benchtops/

    Also can you point me to the $150 masons jigs on ebay, I have never seen them that cheap, always around $400 - $900, not that I want one nowadays as stone is the standard and is cheaper than laminex if you know where to get it from.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member YoungBolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by METRIX View Post
    You must have some guys like these down there, you seem to have everything else cheaper than Sydney for the building trade.
    IKEA is not as bad as Bunnings for rippoff benchtops, but I wouldn't call IKEA hard to beat when it comes to benchtops, they are quite easy to beat from various places up here.

    https://trademaster.com.au/product-c...ate-benchtops/

    Also can you point me to the $150 masons jigs on ebay, I have never seen them that cheap, always around $400 - $900, not that I want one nowadays as stone is the standard and is cheaper than laminex if you know where to get it from.
    I would kill to have a business like trademaster available locally. There's so much great choice of benchtop designs, and the prices are fantastic plus actually available online.

    I'm not in the kitchen business so I have no idea where to go other than trying to find some retailers via google. 99% of melbourne benchtop retailers who have a website don't list their prices, they just have business webpages full of faff - It's insanely irritating that the only two businesses who care to list prices are bunnings and ikea. I get that some people have custom sizing and need a custom cut benchtop, but why can't they list the price for "off the shelf" a set size benchtop ?

    Outside of dealing with 4 google pages of marketing diarrhea, the best I can find is a few odd listings on gumtree, ebay, and fb marketplace for random import businesses that have a shipment of benchtops they sell along with a bunch of other random things they get on a boat from china. I dont care for the fancy showrooms and marketing, because this aint some fully custom designer kitchen, but it's nice to have some choice more than 3 random sized benchtops, plus it'd be good to potentially a place to go back too for warranty claims or if I need a replacement benchtop.

    Dont get me started on bunnings prices - I can't believe a business who claims to have the "lowest prices" can charge what they do for a simple laminate benchtop.

    Of the retailers I can find via google I've called a few and their prices are nowhere near that of Ikea's.I haven't found anyone who can offer a 1.8m - 2.4m benchtops for $99 - $129. I'm happy to spend a bit more if I can get a better quality laminate benchtop as I dont believe a 3/5 year warrantied $99 benchtop is the pinacle of quality.

    The two business i'm considering outside of ikea is Paradise Kitchens and Tile Importer.
    "Tile importer" who offers 4.8m 33mm thick solid timber "laminated" benchtops for $400 odd, but I'm guessing it's likely 2nds or needs work. Plus I'd need to oil the damn thing regularly to ensure it doesn't. dry out.
    Paradise kitchens has duropal benchtops which I believe is quite decent quality but theirs is radius edge profile so it'll need a mitre joint.

  8. #8
    Senior Member YoungBolt's Avatar
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    900mm masons mitre jig. $130 AUD landed from the UK: https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Silverli...8AAOSwcQRfCGqq

    They call them "work top jigs".

  9. #9
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    Trademaster is a great place to buy from, they not only sell all the parts but have a HUGE manufacturing plant onsite, they make anything to order.
    Their laminate benchtops with super tight radius are made in Germany and are great quality, I commonly use them for laundry jobs.

    Their prices on better quality than Bunnings plywood is half the price.

    I have commonly seen name brand kitchen outlets picking up their cabinets from them, so they are just a front and have no manufacturing facilities of their own.
    Bunnings charge that price because they only have one supplier of kitchen stuff, they should have two suppliers as when you only have one your locked into what they offer an nothing else, so there is no competitiveness.

    Bunnings Kaboodle stuff is overpriced and not that good quality, we need to wake up to ourselves out here, and start supporting and pushing for Australian manufacturing, because the stuff coming in from China is not cheap anymore.
    It's become quite expensive and the quality has not really advanced much better than it was when it was cheap and nasty, most of it's still nasty but not cheap.

    If you like timber and know where to look in a Bunnings store (you won't find these in the kitchen section) you will find Australian made Solid Alpine Ash tops.

    You will find a 900 x 2400 x 33mm for $173, Kaboodle have the same exact same thing with the same grade of Ash for $641 !!!

    I have looked at both of them and the grade of Ash they are using is basically the same.


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  10. #10
    Senior Member YoungBolt's Avatar
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    Dont make me even more jealous of you in Sydney having trademaster!!

    Glad to see we still have solid retailers and manufacturers in Australia. Trademaster really seem to have their sheat together. If they were in Vic, i'd support them 100%. I'd drive for a good hour or two even to support a good busness. So far the only ones I'm coming across in melbourne are deluded into thinking that spending $1000s for a flashy website with pictures and marketing fluff is good enough to generate sales. If they had some form of buy online and deliver I'd dare say they could compete against that annoying big green box.

    I agree that the china bubble is ending and we should be supporting australian products as much as possible. We do make really good stuff here, but sometimes its just so much more expensive that it's hard to justify buying it over the cheap china import. We need cost of living to be stablised/reduced to allow local manufacturers to affordably produce here.


    I've seen those "project panels" as Bunnings call them. I've currently got this project panel in my laundry and seen them installed in a few houses, and they do seem more robust than I expected however they still are fairly prone to stains. Mine has copped the odd stain from laundry chemicals. I probably need to throw down a coat of vanish/clear to protect it better.

    I didn't compare them to the kaboodle one but I was wondering what could justify the difference for 1/4 of the price. I was never going to spend $600 for a laundry benchtop.

    I'm seriously considering the $400 4.8m raw panel from "Tile importer" https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Hardwood...item48d4a74f8f
    Looks ok but is raw which means I'll need to budget for a wax & vanish. Hopefully the material is fairly hardy and wont dint from a fork landing on it.
    They also have redgum ones which would be an interesting finish.

    I like the look of timber ones, just more concerned for it's longevity. The finish of a timber benchtop with a gloss vanish just looks stunning but I've not seen how they hold up after 5/10/15 years....

    The laminate benchtop I'm removing still looks pretty fresh after almost 15 years of use. That's why I was leaning toward laminate because it seems rather hard wearing (if made to a decent standard). I'm saddened to have to junk my current benchtop but unfortunately it's dated and connect to custom sized cabinets I can't cheaply replace and all drawer & door fronts are peeling. I've tried to sell the benchtop but my sizes are too unusual for most houses/setups.
    I considered the $99 ikea one because it's easy to buy has a with 5 year warranty and Ikea are also really easy going with returns.

    At this point stone is off the list. I need 6m of benchtop with 3 pieces. Going stone will cost a bomb and I'm not sure it's worth the coin. I feel that stone is overhyped, too expensive to buy, tricky to install, and I've got concerns of its abiility to withhold cracking around the sink & cooktop when this house moves. I've seen a fair share of 20mm stone benchtops I've seen with cracks around stoves, sinks etc. My house is a little old and still moving a bit so I'm not confident that it will not develop cracks when the house moves.

  11. #11
    Je pense, donc METRIX's Avatar
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    Sydney and Melbourne rank as the 3rd and 4th most expensive cities in the world to live, so don't bank on costs of living going down.
    Although nobody want's to go to Melbourne at the moment
    https://www.insider.com/most-expensi...alifornia-84-3

    Even so, if you know where to look you will always find products at a good price.

    You can get stone tops here fairly cheap, often cheaper than laminex, such as 3m x 600 $350

    Where is Hallam located to you , try these ones.

    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/laminate....c100005.m1851
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  12. #12
    Senior Member YoungBolt's Avatar
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    Fine by me if no one comes here for a bit...we're full! ...and now full of virusus
    Pre-covid every damn road at any time of the night is packed. Going to the big smoke on a friday/saturday night used to just be asking to be trampled and overrun by methheads and party animals.

    If the annoying city dwellers who can't afford the sydney inner city lifestyle and crowd up melbourne can just go away for a couple of years that'd be great :P

    I might need to ask around some of my mates who do lockups to see if they know where to get cheaper benchtops. Most of the time though the fixtures & fittings just arrive at site and they install, don't know if they get oversight on where it comes from and if those places even deal with anyone outside of builders/trade.

    $199 for a duropal is a crackng good price.
    Only issue is trying to get the bastard mitred...
    The shop is willing to the join for $150 but I'll need it mitred at two joins so that's probably $300 just for the mitre.

  13. #13
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    It is what it is, I don't think you would get much difference if someone did the masons join on site using their own jig, it takes time to do them properly, then you need to do the cutouts for the concealed joiners.

    Might be best if you buy the jig you were looking at and do it yourself, just get a nice quality router bit and go for it, although shipping from UK is very slow at the moment.

    Here is another on made in UK brand new
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/900mm-Kitch....c100008.m2219

    Easy to use if yo have the right equipment.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungBolt View Post

    I agree that the china bubble is ending and we should be supporting australian products as much as possible. We do make really good stuff here, but sometimes its just so much more expensive that it's hard to justify buying it over the cheap china import. We need cost of living to be stablised/reduced to allow local manufacturers to affordably produce here.


    .
    Here is a classic example of what I mentioned about the knock off stuff getting expensive.

    Below are the Genuine USA made INCRA rulers, guaranteed accurate, then the knock off stolen design, the USA made ones are only slightly more expensive once you add GST to the dubious quality copies.

    You can pickup the INCRA ones from Carbatec.

    You need to be careful what you buy, as a lot of stuff I see now where it same price or cheaper to buy the genuine one which are better quality.







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    Quote Originally Posted by METRIX View Post
    Here is a classic example of what I mentioned about the knock off stuff getting expensive.

    Below are the Genuine USA made INCRA rulers, guaranteed accurate, then the knock off stolen design, the USA made ones are only slightly more expensive once you add GST to the dubious quality copies.

    You can pickup the INCRA ones from Carbatec.

    You need to be careful what you buy, as a lot of stuff I see now where it same price or cheaper to buy the genuine one which are better quality.
    I have to agree that many things that come from China seem to be more expensive compared to what they used to be. It does pay to look around and not assume china = cheap.
    Even traditional low cost retailers are pushing up prices and are often more expensive than small businesses, I often find timber and hardware cheaper at small business now than bunnings. 5/10 years ago it was the other way around.

    I always assume that if it's that expensive from china then if it was made locally it'd be astronomically more expensive.
    Fingers crossed post covid people will reconsider supporting chinese manufacturing and businesses look at how to make things affordably here. No doubt governments and energ providers will need to forgo some taxes and profits to do so.

    Anyway, I digress,

    I'm seriously considering the timber benchtop from Tile importers. It should be a natural product so theoretically should last longer it maintained? Should be easier to cut as well without the risk of chipping etc

    My biggest fear with laminate, is over time it will de-laminate, fade, peel, chip etc and potentially once I'm renovating here and rent the place out, that tenants will destroy a cheap laminate benchtop. I know the same can happen with timber if they decide to plonk super hot pots on the surface, but at least with a timber benchtop you sand it down or and/or replace a section without it being too obvious.

    Big downside with timber is the regular maintenance with oil & vanish. Anyone have experience with how they last long time?

  16. #16
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    If your going to rent it out, just put a cheap laminate in there, don't bother with timber they will not look after it.
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