Rabbet the edge
Cutting the moulding
On the router table
Closeup up the No-Drip moulding
Clamping the moulding
The finished edge
The finished Edge
One of the most difficult edge profiles designed for solid surface countertops is the No-Drip edge, also known as a Marine Edge. Making it look smooth and seamless takes a bit of practice and patient.
Here is one method of creating a beautiful No-Drip edge without the hassle of cutting the edge with a hand-held router.
Most critical in creating the edge is making the No-Drip portion smooth. Dips or uneven chatter marks create hours of extra sanding.
Start by gluing on the edge buildup to the underside of the countertop. You can create any height edge with either a stand-up or stacked lamination. After applying the edge buildup, trim top to size.
To eliminate glue lines, be sure to start with a 1/8-deep by 11/16-in.-wide rabbet on the top, front edge. The rabbet can be cut with a CNC, hand-held router with straight edge or a specialty buildup or cove bit. CNC cuts are the best, but not required.
Next best is the specialty bit, but it tends to cost more than a standard 1-in. straight bit. You can cut faster with less setup than the straightedge method. Remember with the specialty bit, the bearing will follow the path of the edge so make sure your outside corners are square. You can always put a radius after the rabbet.
Last, but least expensive, is the hand-held router with 1-in. double flute straight bit and a nice straightedge. These are probably items you already have so with some setup, creating the rabbet is a snap. Take extra care that all the edges are the same width and depth.
Next, a No-Drip insert needs to be cut. We will start by cutting a strip approximately 5/16 by 11/16 in. Make sure the edge butting next to the inside of the rabbet is extremely straight and smooth. This step is critical to eliminate any glue line on the deck. Check the width of the insert to make sure it fits in the rabbet.
Now that we have the insert cut to size, we need to add the No-Drip detail. This is accomplished using a table router. If you have a CNC, there are bits that will create the detail. The insert piece is going to pass through the router table between the fence and the router. Every table router is different so you will have to customize the setup to get the desired results.
This process should create a smooth profiled insert. Double check the fit to eliminate any extra sanding. A piece that stands above the deck will add hours of sanding. If the piece is too tall, just adjust the fence and reroute the test piece.
Once you have a perfect fit, run all the strips.
Dry fit each and every piece. Taking extra time here can save you the aggravation of having to cut and replace any areas that show a glue line. Gaps will tend to create unsightly glue lines. Because they are on the deck, it is difficult to repair and easy to see.
Outside corners can be created by mitering the profile. I have been successful with up to a 1-in. outside corner. Anything larger will have to have a special insert and hand grinding.
Inside corners need to have a piece of material cut to match the height of the No-Drip detail. Fit into the rabbet of the inside corner. Extend the square insert about a half inch past the outside of the radius. For example, if you have a 1-in. inside radius, cut the square 2 1/4 in. Sand the square to match the radius of the rabbet with a disc sander. It is actually easier to glue in the square separately to assure a precise fit and then fit the No-Drip profile to it.
Once you have all the pieces fit, clean and clamp the No-Drip profile into the rabbet. Be sure to apply pressure to the inside portion of the strip. If it does not get pushed down, there may be a glue line between the profile and the deck.
Remove excess glue from the deck.
Let dry and sand using your standard sanding methods. Start sanding with 150 grit on a random orbit sander. If you’re careful a FESTOOL Rotex sander on direct drive can be used to shape the edge quickly. Be extremely careful. An unskilled sander can make a mess of this edge detail. Sand up to 400 grit to eliminate any hand sanding. Of course you will have a bit of hand sanding in any inside and outside corners.
Your final results will vary depending on the color of material used. I have done this process for years and although I use the same technique, solid and translucent colors tend to show tiny glue lines sporadically.
Edit. Note: Andy Graves is the owner and operator of Olive Mill Manufacturing Inc. in Anaheim, Calif., and The Fabricator Network, an online countertop community. Graves can be reached at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website: www.OliveMill.com or www.TheFabricatorNetwork.com.