Edging plywood

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I shall shortly be lining out a redundant window alcove to form a set of bookshelves. The dimensions are 80 inches tall; 24 inches wide and 10 inches deep. I am minded to use 3/4 inch birch ply. What does the team suggest is the best way to hide the end grain on the front edges of the carcase and shelves?
Many thanks.
Malcolm Webb
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snipped-for-privacy@cix.co.uk (Malcolm Webb) writes:

Just saw a set of router bits on the Lee Valley side that are made for such a job.
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(Malcolm Webb) writes:

What do the router bits do? Do they convert plywood to solid wood?
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Yes. It is very clever. Matt Drudge says at his website that LV got it from the Bush Campaign. Had Kerry pulled ahead in the polls the Bushies were going to use it to convert Kerry from veneer ply to solid wood and then stage a coup. But then Teresa would have had a nice looking solid piece to put someplace in her Beacon Hill home, and that way she'd always have solid wood when she needed it.
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You can either edge it by glueing on 1/4" thick solid wood or you can buy some edge banding material that comes with a heat sensitive glue on the back. You hold it in place and run a normal clothes iron over it. You then trim the edges flush. The solid wood option is a better option, but more work.
Frank
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On Mon, 8 Nov 2004 12:38 +0000 (GMT Standard Time), snipped-for-privacy@cix.co.uk (Malcolm Webb) wrote:

I would finish the edges with a 3/4 to one inch thick band of wood. the choice of wood depends on your plans to finish. If you are painting then you could use clear pine, otherwise I would use birch so that the edge matches the grain and color of the veneer on the plywood.
TWS http://tomstudwell.com/allprojects.htm
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Use wood to edge band, as the others have said. I have used a 3/4 strip to cover the edges of ply or particle board shelving in a similar project. It is a lot faster to install than iron on edge banding. It can be finished where the plastic banding cannot be. If the edges are in a high use area such as a desk top or dvd/tape shelf in an entertainment unit, it is more durable.
Matt

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If you want the thin line of veneer banding, then I would recommend cope & profile Y-mould. Looks like edge banding but a whole lot more durable.
-Rick
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You can use apple or fin ply which can be a decorative modern looking edge just sanded and finished. Solid wood is an option, using either birch or maple to match or walnut to contrast. The most common option is iron on edge tape. It comes in every flavor and is real wood. The only hassle is you have plain square edges. The edges are also fragile in case you have kids, have a big dog or get drunk and throw stuff. max

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On Mon, 8 Nov 2004 12:38 +0000 (GMT Standard Time), snipped-for-privacy@cix.co.uk (Malcolm Webb) wrote:

On things that are protected, it can be very good, but a bookshelf is going to have books sliding over that edge...
I've used that glue on stuff a let... sanded the corners and edges flat, left them flush, bent them around the edge, etc... they always get snagged on something eventually...
if you really want to hide 'em, I saw one web page where the guy had cut a wide "V" down the edges and matched the V on 3/4" wide plywood edging, so that the edging showed face only.... looked like solid wood with a line down each side, but no end grain showed... I thought that it was kind of a neat concept..
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I'm trying to picture how to do this... Can you remember where you saw this? I assume this strip is cut with a router or shaper(?).
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Howard Lee Harkness
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wrote:

I have cut a double miter into the edge of plywood many times, and they fit a piece of 3/4 stock into it. I just did it on my table saw. Stood the plywood on edge and set the blade to 45 degrees. Set my rip fence and made two pushes through the saw. You can make your life easier if you throw a simple auxiliary fence on your fence - one that stands several inches higher, in order to give your plywood more support.
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not sure where I saw it, but my guess would be the edge is 2 passes with a bevel bit and router table.. and the edging strip could be made with 2 passes through a table saw set at about 45 degrees?
Another way to picture what they did was to see it fitting kind of like a v-belt fits in a pulley... you see the back of the belt, but not the sides/edges...
Damn, I have the bug now.. I'd run out and try it, but my neighbors would kill me, since it's 11 pm..lol
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Maybe just using a piece of quarter-round would work...
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Howard Lee Harkness
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To play the devil's advocate, I've had great success with the iron-on veneer edging. As was stated earlier, it is real wood, so it will take a finish and look almost exactly like the plywood it is attached to. I was skeptical of it at first too, but I've built a couple of high-traffic bookcases and tabletops usint the stuff, and I've never had a single problem with it.
It is very easy to apply- you just roll it out along the edge of the plywood and follow along with an iron- the glue melts and adheres in just a couple of seconds. Another big plus is that there is no clamping. I can't imagine trying to clamp 1/4" strips all along the front of a bookcase.
One other point, when you glue 1/4" or 3/4" hardwood strips around the edges, you can usually see the line where the strip meets the plywood- no matter how much you try to sand it smooth. With the iron-on veneer, it is essentially invisible.
I'm not in any way related to any veneer firms- I promise! I'm just surprised when people recommend against using it since I've found it to be so easy and effective.

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On 8 Nov 2004 12:16:59 -0800, Chuck snipped-for-privacy@excite.com (Chuck) scribbled:

I have. In my experience, it tends to come off after a few years. I had some bookshelves in my office where the veneer tape had curled off. There could be any number of reasons of that (e.g. dry climate, my technique in applying it, edge cuts that are not completely straight, etc.), but it hasn't worked for me.

Easy enough with masking tape.

True enough. However, for aesthetics, I use a contrasting wood so I don't get the fugly line and weird change in grain direction. BTW. I tend to use 3/4" by 3/4" edging. The thinner stuff does not look good, IMNSHO.
Luigi Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/antifaq.html www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/humour.html
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wrote:

Same here... it's cool for an edge that doesn't get dragged against... you can actually miter it and sand smooth... My problem with it is that once you catch an edge on something, it drives me nuts..
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I still prefer wood, but when using edge banding it's a good idea to round the edges as much as you can with a bit of sandpaper. This way there's nothing to snag or catch.
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snipped-for-privacy@cix.co.uk (Malcolm Webb) wrote in

At 24" wide, the baltic birch should be sufficiently rigid to keep from sagging, however...
A piece of appropriate hardwood, placed on edge, to form a lip, does two things. The assembly is stiffer, with a beam-like addition on the front. And the hanging cleats or hardware are somewhat visually obscured.
Attach with your favorite joinery methods. Justify buying a new tool, if you so desire.
Patriarch
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Looks to me like a strip of the same plywood would accomplish the same thing. Maybe a one-inch strip attached to the front (and rear, for extra stiffness) with a half-lap joint. There would still be a plywood edge, but it would not be facing *out*, so it might not be objectionable.
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