I am planning on edge-banding 1 1/2 thick shelves (2 sheets of 3/4"
plywood glued together) with 1-by-X poplar strips
I am deciding between two approaches:
1. Glue 1x2" poplar strips to the leading edge of each shelf and then
sand the joint line smooth.
This would require precise alignment and gluing since the 1x2" is
at most a smidgeon wider than the thickness of the 2 glued sheets
of plywood (since each sheet is typically dimensionally a little
less than 3/4" wide).
2. Rip 1x3" poplar down to an actual width of say 1 3/4". Then
approximately align and glue the poplar strip followed by applying
a router with a flush cutting bit and bearing to trim down the
This requires less precise alignment when applying the poplar band
but will require extra work with the router. The extra work would
be worth it if I can be reasonably sure of a better result.
Any thoughts or alternative suggestions?
If you are painting go with option 1 but I would reinforce with dowels,
biscuits, spline, tongue, etc. It won't matter if you oversand the
veneer when you paint.
If you are staining go with option 2, again reinforce the joint.
Haven't tried this yet but makes sense. Put a layer or two of masking
tape on the plywood where the bearing will ride for the first pass.
Remove the tape and run the router by again to get a cleaner cut.
When I apply banding like this, I rip the strips so they are just a
hair thicker than the shelving. Just enough so that when I glue it on,
I can be sure that the banding is proud of the shelf along it's
entire length. I don't use a router to trim, but will take a few
passes with a hand plane if necessary, then sand. Sometimes I can skip
the sanding. (I admit that when I first started using a plane for
this, I did occasionally nick the plywood. Can't remember the last
time it happened, though)
One thing and DAMHIKT, make sure to wait a full day or more before
trimming the banding. Otherwise, the moisture from the glue can
actually swell the banding enough so that when it dries, it shrinks to
_less_ than the thickness of the shelving in the vicinity of the glue
No dumb questions, just dumb answers.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore, Maryland - email@example.com
Option 2. That way you can't fail to get a precise fit because you're
doing it in place.
I'd tack the edging in place and then drill all the way through and peg
it in, because I like the way it looks. Otherwise, T-G or biscuits.
Another thing you might consider is doing the shelves a touch wide,
edging them, and then crosscutting to exact width. This ensures an
absolutely perfect fit.
How about option 3, use an edge banding router bit. It would cost you
but should fix the alignment problem. Used on a router table one side
would come perfectly flush. If the banding on side 2 isn't flush you
can leave it facing down or just work on sanding the one side. The
uneven side could even become a feature/detail of the piece.
Cool router bits, but will it give that much better alignment than
just using biscuits in my trusty plate-joiner?
It also seems to me that biscuits would be simpler and require less
fussing than setting up my router table (which by the way may be small
for the job), aligning the groove bit, cutting the groove, changing
bits, aligining the tongue bit, and then cutting the tongue.
Also, I would save the $45 cost of a bit (though it would be a good
excuse to my wife about why I am getting yet another UPS delivery...)
You're right about biscuits giving the same degree of alignment. I
would probably go that route if I were you. Just thought I'd point out
those bits. I haven't tried them yet and was curious to see if anyone
else would comment on them.
If you use thin veneer on the edge, you can roll on white glue on both
and the edges, let it dry a day, then iron it on (in hot-melt glue
grandma's clothes ironing apparatus). This removes clamping
It also is kinder to the veneer because it's not damp at attachment
won't dry/shrink/crack later
Another quick attachment method is to use contact cement (your edging
has to be
relatively thin, though). Again, no clamp-and-wait step.
I've trimmed overlapping edging with knife, with block plane, and MUCH
router table and ball-bearing guide trim bit. Clamp a good guide
the router bit so the board won't tip while you're feeding it.
I'd consider using thinner plywood (1/2") and rabbeting the edge wood
to make your 1.5"
sandwich; little of the strength of the shelf is in the center of that
heavy stack anyhow.
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