A while back we talked up the use of PaperStone for our kitchen countertops, and a few people had questions about it. At the time all we had to go on was the word of the manufacturer and some samples at local supplier. Now that the job is done, here's our hands-on report:
Definitely DIY-friendly, but that's not to say it's easy. As the name suggests, it's made of paper, but it's (almost) hard as stone. What I imagine working really hard wood to be like without the complexities of a grain. Followed all the great advice I found online, especially about drilling pilot holes for fasteners; sizing for the right size drill bit I took the head clean off a screw when I drove it into too small of a hole.
Panels were delivered rough cut. Trimming to finished size was a bit much for the trim saw, which left a couple scorch marks where the cut slowed, so we switched to full size circular saw for remaining cuts. Black saw dust is peculiar looking. We cut them with an extra 1/8" because we planned to use the router table to plane the edges smooth, but after trying that out on one edge we scrapped that idea. Panels were too heavy for the two of us to move them with adequate control and results were far from smooth. Fortunately, it sands well, though not fast.
On other details the router worked great. Prior to installation, we bevelled the edges all the way. Free-wheeling the panels around an open router bit smacked of danger, but given size and weight of panels we needed to be able to get as much of them onto the router table as possible so fence was out of the question. Pilot bearing kept everything in line, and we found that an arcing pass around the bit allowed us essentially to rotate the panels around on the table like some enormous spirographic project.
Here's the rough jigsaw cut for the sink. Direction of saw cut resulted in small tear-outs around edge; cutting from the other side would probably help with that but we didn't use jigsaw for any finished cuts so I didn't bother to try that out. The template provided with sink was intended to expose the turned metal edge, but we wanted a more integrated look and only used the template to locate the hole, then scribed a line inside that for our cut.
Again with the router to finish the sink rim, but this task called for as much power as we could call in. First time we've used the monster plunging router since we started using the router table. Pilot bearing allowed us to use the sink itself as the limit of our cut. Quite a bit of material to remove (didn't want to get too close to the sink with that jigsaw) resulting in a ton of papery shavings.
But not before we busted the 1/4" shank on an older trim bit. For all the harm that a power tool can cause, it was a remarkably anti-climactic moment. No metal projectiles, no shocking sounds, just a clunk as bit dropped into the sink. I'm pretty new to the router so excuse my ignorance but other than expense I don't know why anyone would pass on a 1/2" shank. So why did we? Forgot it was still sitting in the table router and just grabbed what was available. Good reason to take bits out of routers when done with them.
Oh, by the way, we've got a sink again.