33 – How To Edgeband Plywood

33 – How To Edgeband Plywood

Marc: Plywood is an excellent material for building furniture. But it suffers from one major flaw, ugly edges. (rock music) Despite what some may think, plywood is not a four letter word. Actually it’s more like seven letters and you definitely should not be afraid to use it in your projects. Some of my favorite
pieces contain plywood. The panels of this amoire, the doors of this jewelry box, the top of this hall table, and this entire desk system. Yep, all plywood. Plywood is flat, it’s stable, and it comes in lots of varieties. And you could even use plywood as a base for your favorite exotic veneers. Now, descent plywood should run you at least $40 a sheet, but even the most expensive plywood presents the same old challenge. How do you treat the edges? Now the most common
solution is edge banding. Edge banding comes in
a number of varieties including; thin veneer,
thin home sawn veneer, and then a more substantial
solid wood strip. The thin veneer edge banding usually comes in rolls like this and it can be purchased plain or in the iron-on variety. Now personally I prefer a good quality iron-on banding. By good quality, I mean a nice, clean face and a good chunky layer
of glue on the other side. Now, I usually pick this material up at my local hardwood dealer. So why not use the regular stuff, without the pre-applied glue? Well, I find it difficult to get the proper clamping
pressure across the edge and it’s a lot messier. It also takes a lot longer to dry, so pre-glued is the only way to go in my shop. Now, it’s no secret
that veneer edge banding gets a pretty bad rap. Most people see this stuff and immediately think that it’s gonna peel off or just become a problem down the road and that’s not necessarily true if you use the right material and you apply it correctly. Let me show you how. Here are the basic tools you’ll need for the job. Nothing really fancy. Start by bringing the
iron up to temperature. I like it just shy of the hottest setting. Next, I cut a strip of edge banding just a bit over sized. Now with the work piece
in a vertical position, I begin heating up the
first 5″-6″ of the veneer. And keep the iron moving in order to avoid burning. Also notice how I
occasionally tilt the iron on an angle to ensure good contact between the glue and
the edge of the plywood. Once the glue is melted, go over the area with a roller to ensure full and complete contact. This is really the step
that makes a difference between a quality edge banding job and a crappy one. I then repeat the entire process on the remainder of the edge banding and this is a system that I use whether the piece is 1′ long or 6′ long. And here’s a little tip for you. Try to keep the bulk of the material to one side of the ply. This makes life a whole lot easier when it comes time to flush the veneer to the surface. Trimming the ends is fairly easy. With the veneer face down, simply scribe the edge
with a utility knife and snap the piece off. I have two methods of removing the bulk of the overhang. The first is with a utility knife. Simple and effective, but it can be difficult if you’re working on an assembled case or odd shaped parts. The second method is to
use a simple block plane. After a few swipes the edging will be flush with the surface. Just take care not to gauge your ply. It’s very easy to do
and it looks terrible. (scraping) The final step is 180 grit sanding. This will remove any excess glue and smooth out the edge. When it’s all said and done, you should be left with
a seamless transition between the face and the edging. (funky music) So what do we do in a case like this? You’re gonna confront this a lot in standard case work. We’ve got a fitted
piece in the middle here between two other pieces. I’ll show you how that’s done. Once again, I cut an over sized strip of edge banding. The first order of business is to square up one edge. This is easy enough to do using a scrap piece of plywood, a square, and a utility knife. Just watch your fingers and lightly score the veneer before breaking it off. I place the square end of my new strip against the adjoining piece and apply some heat. I’m really only focused on the first few inches here. Notice that I only roll toward the joint. Rolling away will cause the piece to move and result in a gap. Now that the first few inches are secure, I heat up the rest of the strip. Be sure not to glue down
the last few inches. Using a square, I score the loose end of the strip so that it’s
just slightly over sized and by slightly, I mean no more than about 1/64th of an inch. Now I lift up the loose end and bend the tip down so it pushes against the adjoining piece. I then apply heat and pressure. That little bit of extra material is what gives us a perfect joint. (funky music) Now if you want to step up the quality and you want something
that’s a bit more durable than veneer, you could always use these home sawn strips. Now I usually cut mine to about 1/8″ thick and about 3/4″ wide. And since most plywood is just under 3/4″, this gives me that little bit of extra material I need to ensure perfect coverage. I have two ways I like to
attach thin home sawn strips. The first is simply glue and clamps. I apply glue to both
the strip and the ply. Now here’s a little tip for you. If you use scrap pieces of veneer to prop the piece of ply up, the strip will be roughly
centered on the edge. I then use a small strip
of alder as a call, which will distribute
the clamping pressure across the surface. The second technique is about as low tech as it gets. I just use strips of tape as little clamps that secure the strip
until the glue dries. Obviously this is not ideal in terms of clamping pressure, but this trick may get you out of a bind sometime. Once the glue is dry
I use a flush trim saw to carefully trim off the excess material. (sawing) To flush up the edging, I start with a block
plane to remove the bulk. (scraping) I follow up with a card scraper in order to avoid gauging the ply and finally, a light 180 grit sanding. The final option is to use a more substantial piece
of solid edge banding. This technique is great if you need a really durable edge or if you want to be able to route a profile into it. You can’t really do that with these thin strips. Once again, I have two techniques. The first of which is the
standard glue and clamps. The second method I use is for when you’re in a bit of a rush. I use 1/4″ brad nails and glue. Before shooting the brad nails, I place a small piece
of tape over each spot that I plan on driving a nail through. Now I’m not a huge fan of this method because nails don’t
apply consistent pressure across the surface like clams and calls, but in some situations
this may be the only option and since we’re making holes, we need to repair holes and that’s why I put the tape down first. The tape ensures that the filler goes in the hole only and not in the surrounding grain. Now flushing the edging
is the same routine. You start with the block plane, move to the card scraper, and then a little bit of sanding. (funky music) Now you want to have a little bit more fun with your edges? Here’s one of my favorite tricks. If you take a thin strip of one species and glue that on first, then glue on top of that, another species, you get the look of a
fine perimeter inlay. The doors on this jewelry
box were done this way, as were the tops of our office desks. Fine furniture can mean different things to different people. While I probably wouldn’t
use iron-on edge banding for my ‘fine furniture’, I wouldn’t hesitate to use
solid wood edge banding, but you know, that’s just my opinion. And although I try to use solid wood in all of my projects, there are just times when plywood makes the most structural
and economic sense. So as you can see, if treated properly, plywood can truly be a beautiful thing. Thanks for watching. (soft banjo music)

94 thoughts on “33 – How To Edgeband Plywood

  1. don't be daft, for edgebanding, remove excess with a flat sided file, moving along the edge at a slight angle, removes and de-arrasses in one movement!!

  2. @burraak1 Well, you can always hit the whole project with a dye or stain that is very close to the natural color you want. That could certainly help to bring things into the same color family. But ultimately, this is why I don't actually use iron on edging on my best projects. Its not nearly as durable and nice-looking at a solid wood strip.

  3. Thanks for the help Marc. It's Sunday and I needed a little help and you were there. All I needed was to know what to set the iron when edge banding . So I got on youtube and two minutes later you gave me the answer. Thanks

  4. Marc,

    How does the wood veneer tape work on slightly rounded edges, or can I apply the veneer tape then do a 1/4" or less roundover?

  5. I find the stuff very difficult to apply on rounded edges. It may be thin, but it is still wood. So it doesn't really want to follow a profile. Additionally, you can't really add a significant roundover after the fact because the veneer is thin. Most roundovers will expose the plywood beneath.

  6. Reason I ask is that I am building a rocking horse (2 horses on 1 rocker). Plywood was the only choice that I could afford. The edge banding is the only finishing technique that seems that will be attractive. When I say roundover I am talking no more than the first ply of the material (Maybe 1/8") The horses will have a seat between them to simulate leading a team of horses, so the edges of the horses themselves do not need to be overly shaped. Hope this makes sense.

  7. Well you can usually get away with a very small profile as you described. Best thing to do is try a sample and make sure it looks good to you.

  8. Im talking about the small measurements, like the small fractions that you use in some videos (is easier to say 1-2 mm that 1/16 inch). I know that is easier to talk about big sizes in inches.

  9. Actually, metric is easier on all fronts, but only if the system is adopted completely. Being trained in the science world I'm quite familiar with metric measurements. But when making videos for what is primarily an American audience and buying materials in America, giving any measurements in metric just confuses the issue especially when I'm not fluent enough to simply rattle off the metric equivalent.

  10. Hmm, I think it should. The glue is pretty sticky stuff. Just make sure you try it on scrap before committing to it.

  11. If I am building something with shelves, is it better to veneer the pieces individually first, and then assemble; or assemble first and then veneer? Thank you!!!

  12. when cleaning the lipping off I use a fine file, angled at about 45 degrees to the lipping and run it along the edge. the excess cleans off in a spiral and stays all in one and takes moments to do. A light sanding afterwards cleans up everything

  13. Thanks for sharing your knowledge , this is a great video, you really did help me out. Thanks again- This is from UK.

  14. Great video and very helpful! I know this is an older video, but what do you think about using pocket holes for the edges of you're using a wider piece (say 1×3 birch) as the edge so you can route a profile?

  15. What do you do if you are building a cabinet that has a thicker look? Would you use edgeband on a 2" thick bookcase, etc? Or is there a better approach?

  16. Can i ask u can i use soldier to do this
    Because i got small project like made a wooden name
    That really hard for edging inside part
    Like a letter A B E O P etc

    Can u give me tips what can i do thanks. . . .
    Anyway this is good tutorial. . . . .

  17. will that be a problem if the edge of ply is sanded??Can we used edge banding on both rough surface and smooth surface???

  18. What if you are going to paint the plywood. I am working on a computer desk and want to paint it. What would be a good edge treatment?

  19. Great video, I had to make some adjustments to store bought cabinets.  I have never edgebanded before.  I watched this video and they turned out great!  Thanks!

  20. for frameless cabinets…could you dowel a strip of wood of the same type as the face of cabinet doors to the edge of plywood?

  21. The roller you used in this video, what is it called and where can I find one? I've been looking for something like that for woodwork, leather work and latex work.

  22. do you think it's a bad idea to try to ' add an edge banding to a piece of plywood that already had the edge painted , should i sand all that paint off before attempting , on an existing cabinet that's on the wall

  23. man I love the nail through tape trick. So simple, thank you. (It feels like one of those "everyone knows that Mike, your a moron" kind of tips. So i am not going to tell anyone I just learned it.)

  24. First I'd like to say thanks for all your wonderful videos. I'm a newbie, and have learned quite a bit. My question; can you put the iron on banding along rounded or beveled edges. Thanks again.

  25. Seriously, those edge banding trimmers are absolute garbage. Especially the double sided one that is supposed to cut both edges at the same time. It ALWAYS dug into the plywood and ended up completely jagged and uneven. I was so angry at the results it made me wonder how such a terrible product existed.

  26. That is great video, big trouble for me absolutely about this, many years many times i spent to looking for the answer, thanks a lot….

  27. What is that brown thing u had picked up from the table , I have seen this thing glued on wood , and it looks very good , can u tell me what is it name☺

  28. I have two trimmers. One is like a roller with a round "wheel" blade that trims the edge. It works best. The other is one of those "professional" 2-sided spring loaded things that squeeze on with your hand and trim both sides at once. But I hate that! The blades are adjustable and I can never get them to that optimum setting where they make a nice clean cut.

  29. Is there any reason why you would not apply the edge band to pieces before assembly instead of after assembly? Thanks in advance.

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