How to Cut Bakelite

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.

Things You'll Need

  • Ruler or straight edge

  • Non-permanent marker

  • Circular saw

  • Drill

  • Alcohol-based cleaner

  • 2 sawhorses or large wooden blocks

  • Diamond blade

  • Diamond bit

  • Dust mask

  • Safety glasses

Bakelite is the common name for phenolic resin, which was one of the first mass-produced plastics. Although it was once a mainstay in low-end jewelry, today it is most commonly used in laminate countertops and scientific laboratories. The strength and its superior non-porous nature make the Bakelite a perfect choice for these two uses. However, the same attributes that make Bakelite desirable also make cutting it a challenge. There is a tendency for Bakelite to splinter, but the use of a specific type of saw blade or drill bit will greatly improve the chances of a clean cut.


Step 1

Mark off your cuts on the Bakelite with the non-permanent marker.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Put on the safety goggles and dust mask.

Step 3

Drill a pilot hole in the Bakelite with a diamond-tipped drill bit if you are making interior cuts. If not, skip this step.


Step 4

Set the Bakelite on a raised cutting surface such as two sawhorses or wooden blocks.

Step 5

Rip the Bakelite with the diamond blade on the circular saw using the straightedge line as a guide.

Step 6

Clean the edges of the cut with an alcohol-based cleaner to remove any remaining resin dust.


For smaller cuts you can use a Dremel tool with a diamond or carbide saw. Diamond blades cut the Bakelite very well but in a pinch a carbide blade will do. If your blade has trouble cutting through the entire depth of the Bakelite, try running three or four shallow passes instead.


Always wear safety goggles and a dust mask while cutting any resin product. The dust can irritate the eyes and lead to long-term lung problems. Never score Bakelite; the scratches will be permanent.


Video of the Day