Edge Banding - Educate Me

Rick_B

Rick
Corporate Member
I will be building a project (murphy bed) in the near future using 3/4" birch plywood. The plans suggest using edge banding for a number of different panel edges. The plywood will ultimately be painted. I will need 58 feet of edge banding. I see two general options

1. Use a birch iron on edge banding - will require investment in material and trimming tools I will likely not use again. Investment in the neighborhood of $60. Seems like the easier to execute option.

2. Make some 1/16" edge banding from solid wood (which I have) and glue/pin nail to panels. Will require sanding to flush up edges with the plywood. Will also require modifying panel sizes to compensate for thickness of the banding.

Are there options I am not aware - remembering that several of the panels are large (32 x 87)? Which of the options above would you choose - primary consideration is finished appearance for painting followed by cost and ease of application?

Appreciate any thoughts and I'm sure more questions will follow once an option is chosen.

Rick
 

robliles

Rob
Corporate Member
Rick, I would go with option 2. MY opinion is edge banding just looks like edge banding and reminds me of IKEA and other cheap throw away stuff. The extra work and effort in the solid wood will be absolutely worth it. I did that on the Murphy Bed I build for my wife's sewing room and am very pleased with the results.
 

AllanD

Allan
Senior User
I have not been entirely happy with edge banding. All my shop cabinets are melamine frameless with PVC edge banding applied to the particle board edges. I invested in a portable bander similar to the Grizzly 0825. This was before the Festool one came out. The PVC banding still comes loose at times on some of the cabinets and I have to reglue them. I also have a Rockler edge bander that works with a heat gun and have used a regular iron too. The plywood will hold glue better than my melamine. Since you are going to paint it that gives you much more leeway. I would rip the strips, maybe thicker than 1/16 even, and glue that on. It will be more robust than the veneer. You can fill any cracks etc. and paint right over them.
 

Rick_B

Rick
Corporate Member
Rick, I would go with option 2. MY opinion is edge banding just looks like edge banding and reminds me of IKEA and other cheap throw away stuff. The extra work and effort in the solid wood will be absolutely worth it. I did that on the Murphy Bed I build for my wife's sewing room and am very pleased with the results.
Do you think it would look bad even if painted? How did you handle trimming the solid wood (pretty sure I would not get it flush on both sides :)) How thick was your solid wood banding?

Thanks
Rick
 

Rick_B

Rick
Corporate Member
I have a lifetime supply of banding. Some is iron on and some is glue on. If you want to take a drive I'll give you some. I also have a tool that trims it both sides at once. I'll let you borrow the tool as well.
Thanks for the offer Fred - I may take you up on it
Rick
 

Rick_B

Rick
Corporate Member
Thanks for your thoughts Alan - I tend to agree with. I was thinking 1/16" because I don't have a good way to trim the large panels flush other than sanding or hand plane. I can see where maybe an 1/9' would be a little more sturdy.

Rick
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Rick,
I've been using iron-on since the 1970s. Great stuff for plywood but there are some process details that need to be addressed.
For a heat source, I like an old flea market steam iron over the special edgebanding iron. Much better downward pressure. I've got a couple of the $50.00 edgebanding irons and don't use them. Set the iron over all the way and then back off one setting or about 70% of full heat.

I'll start the edgebanding for about a foot or so with the iron then set the iron down and mash down the banding with a "pressure stick". This cools the banding and mashes it down. I pay particular attention to getting the edges down. Sort of a rolling pin action.

I use an old jointer knife I've sharpened razor sharp to trim the edges. I like this over the plastic trimmers because the edgebanding's grain varies and a trimmer can give tear-out with going against the grain.

After trimming, I'll use some stiff 180 grit paper to ease and blend the edge.

The key is to get the banding down with pressure otherwise it will lift over time.

Like many others I know that use edgebanding, this hand method is preferable to the edgebanding machines ($20K or so) for a quality installation. The fact that it is labor intensive makes this method a non-starter for commercial shops.


1        iron-on.jpg
 

Rick_B

Rick
Corporate Member
Thanks Bob - as usual great information. Do you prefer iron on versus a solid wood banding? Do you think a painted iron on would eliminate the "look" of edge banding. Actually the more I think about it a solid wood banding might take more effort to make it "disappear". Also - how about a laminate trimming bit and a router jig (to balance the router) for trimming edges?
Rick
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
I have used solid color iron-on edgebanding but that surface is usually some sort of melamine and doesn't take paint well.

I've tried the trim router and it works for a few feet then the gummy adhesive makes a mess on the bearing guide and cutter and its back to the trimming blade.

Whether glue-on or iron-on, good adhesion will depend on compression. The more pressure, the better and then there's always the flush trim and blend sanding. Sanding the trimmed edge is also a mess because the gummy glue loads the sandpaper quickly. You can see that in the photo.

I think that bottom line is that there's no "fast, cheap, and easy" method.
 

Michael Mathews

Michael
Corporate Member
I've had decent luck with iron on edge banding. I use an old clothes iron with tin foil covering to keep the glue off the iron. I don't have a special trimmer, I just use a utility knife with a sharp blade. The trick that works best for me is to place the edge with the banding down onto a sacrificial board the cut with the utility knife on the glue side following the side of the board. I've had pretty good luck with the technique. Then sand the sharp edge.
 

bowman

Board of Directors, Webmaster
Neal
Staff member
Corporate Member
If you do your own banding, make it slightly oversize and follow up with a router & flush trim bit
 

rivens

steve
User
I have used miles of edge banding on furniture for other furniture companies. It looks fine and is very quick but the durability is always an issue. one small bump can damage the edge. So for any edge that would see any kind of traffic or occasional use I would go with 1/8" solid wood banding. For plywood mill strips to .760 and you will have a small bit of overhang on each face that is easy to flush off with a block plane or flush trim bit. Use a few micro pins to hold the glued strips in place then clamp. 30 minutes under pressure is ample time to unclamp and go to next edges. Happy edging!
 

Rick_B

Rick
Corporate Member
Thanks Steve - your comments made me think a bit. This will be going on pieces of a murphy bed so up and down, making the bed, getting in and out - plenty of opportunities for rough handling and damage I think
Rick
 

tri4sale

Daniel
Corporate Member
Thanks Steve - your comments made me think a bit. This will be going on pieces of a murphy bed so up and down, making the bed, getting in and out - plenty of opportunities for rough handling and damage I think
Rick

I used edge banding on mine and painted. Has been installed for close to a decade, and has been moved from one house to another, and no damage to the edges. Actually using it you don't really hit the edges often when moving up and down, and making the bed. And since you are painting it, it'll look fine.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Just thought about an important process detail. Iron on about two to three feet, put the iron down, and run the pressure stick along the edge to mash the glue down and cool things to set the glue. Without this step, the heated glue will allow the edgebanding to lift from the edge slightly.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
If you are going to make your own banding, sawing the outside ply off strips of the the plywood is an easy way to do it. I have used that process on several basic stand alone shelving units. That way the texture, color and grain match the surface boards, which makes it easier when finishing. To trim, I just use a sharp block plane. When ripping facing out of solid wood, I have found that it is easiest to go at least a quarter inch thickness. Most times I go thicker than that. To hold it for gluing, I just use blue painters' tape (which works as long as their isn't too much overhang of veneer)

I have used the birch edge banding (iron on) and used a clothes iron to heat and apply. Worked well. Again, it trimmed it using a block plane. That was a while ago. Have no idea what the cost would be today.
 

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