Edge treatment for curved desktop

I have to build a simple desk for a my teenage daughter. It will consist of a drawer unit, which I have, a leg or two or three to support the rest, and a top.
I'm a reasonably handy guy and have built a few simple shelf-unit and cubbyhole type pieces, but I'm not an accomplished woodworker.
The desktop will fit into a corner. To maximize the desk space in her crowded bedroom, I'm planning a sort of curved L shape. I'll make it out of plywood, probably.
That leaves (at least) two questions.
1. How to finish the top. I'm thinking of some sort of laminate, although I haven't tried that before. I'd love for someone to tell me there was some other option that would look decent, be very flat and hold up to the kind of wear that a teenager will subject it to.
2. How to treat the curved edge. I don't think glue-on banding would hold up. I'm not sure I could properly cut laminate into a narrow strip. T-molding is a possibility, although not so great-looking. I have considered making some sort of complicated polygon instead of a curve, in which case I might use some 1x2 oak and round the edges with a router. I'm sure that's within my skills, and would look OK, but I kind of prefer a curve.
What other options are available to someone at my level of (in)expertise?
Greg Guarino
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg Guarino wrote:

1. Use the laminate and trim with a router and trimming bit. Put on and trim edge band first, top laminate second.
2. Use the oak for an edge on the curved top. Oak bends easily and a 1/4" thick strip should bend easily depending on the curve and will last well. If the curve is too great you could laminate thinner strips together on a jig with a similar curve. If you want a thick edge, you can make crosscuts at intervals not quite all the way through (leave 1/8" or so). That will easily bend but you are left with the cuts showing on the inside so you then need to cap with a thin piece of solid wood.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
How about using the adhesive strips that are applied with an iron? I've used those on a corner unit for my daughter before, they come in oak and work like a charm. They make it look like it's solid wood.
It would give you the finished look you want and butt right up to your laminate top no problem. Easy peasy.
Durable too if she isn't too rough on things.
Kate

1. Use the laminate and trim with a router and trimming bit. Put on and trim edge band first, top laminate second.
2. Use the oak for an edge on the curved top. Oak bends easily and a 1/4" thick strip should bend easily depending on the curve and will last well. If the curve is too great you could laminate thinner strips together on a jig with a similar curve. If you want a thick edge, you can make crosscuts at intervals not quite all the way through (leave 1/8" or so). That will easily bend but you are left with the cuts showing on the inside so you then need to cap with a thin piece of solid wood.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have had some success using either a sandwich lamination of MDF and plywood for a "core" table top that is easy to make as well as flat (the mdf side is the top with the ply on the bottom. I usually will use 3/4" for both, or whatever is closest to that dimension, which yields an approximate 1 1/2" thickness. for edge treatment I use 3/4" x 2" wide oak, ash, or maple, screwed into the edge of the mdf/ply sandwich with glue also. The tops of the tables can be anything from the raw mdf, finished with polyurethane varnish, using a light stain like a sienna red, the mdf almost looks like Formica or compatible plastic laminate, which itself is also a top option. IF you can find a solid core wood interior door you can eliminate the step of having to laminate mdf and ply by just using the door. I got a couple of doors like these that had been replaced in an office building, but essentially were as good as new, with both sides having great looking book match maple veneer. Added oak edge banding as described above, and finished the whole thing with 5 coats of clear semi gloss poly, sanding between each coat starting with 220 grit and the last light sanding was 400 grit, smooth flat, and almost bullet proof, as a matter of fact it IS the table top that is under the keyboard that I am hunting and pecking out this message on right now. I don't see why you couldn't use this banding technique with curved edges, just "bend" the edging by kerfing it with a table saw and fill the sawkerfs with a matching or contrasting filler prior to finishing. Steam bending is not that hard to do either, there are several write ups on the net that cover building a steamer out of a length of pipe very inexpensively, yet effective.
Just some of the "quick and dirty" tabletop techniques that I have used successfully, I like plastic laminate tops too, but that stuff seems so expensive for a top that is still somewhat easy to scratch and can't really be refinished short of replacing the laminate. Good luck with the project, if you have a question about the technique described in this note please drop me an email. Best regards, Joe.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.