As I have been working in wood cabinets for 12 years, edge banding is a must for me. Applying it to the plywood edge, it will definitely make my projects look perfect and professional. Edge banding provides good protection to keep the edges of the plywood from damage.
If you want to get started to learn how to apply plywood edge banding right away like a pro, follow me here with this ultimate guide (Related: Types of Sofa Legs: The Ultimate Guide 2023). I will share with you tips and tricks you can not miss, from the pros on how to edge plywood.
Benefits of Edge Banding Plywood
As you know, edge banding is a good assistant for woodworkers. They offer multiple advantages that make every project beautiful and long-lasting. Speaking of their benefits, you can refer to below:
For plywood, if you make it without protection, the board will easily go absorbing humidity in the air, and the plywood edges will become defective. Protection isn’t just a wise precaution, it is ESSENTIAL.
As edge banding shields the vulnerable edges from chipping and splintering, you are free from costly repairs under the shield. Furthermore, it will reduce formaldehyde release, and ensure you have a healthy life at home.
Appeal Edge banding is like the crown jewel of any project. By adding a sleek finish, it transforms the exposed edges into a sleek finished look and gives your creation an instantly sophisticated look that brings to mind high-end craftsmanship.
Moreover, it is really saving you a lot of costs. What you need is just inexpensive plywood edge veneer together with simple tools.
If there is a secret to helping your plywood project sustain a long time of testing, that would be Edge banding. Which keeps them from splitting or peeling for many years. The edge of the wood is weak, but under the cover, no further care is needed for your finished product.
Different Ways to Cover Plywood Edges
There are actually many different ways to finish plywood edges. Each of them has its pros and cons, and I list three frequently used ways with a sheet to help you better understand how they look in actual projects.
|Wood Filler/ Spackle||In this method, you just need a putty knife and sander. First apply the wood filler or spackle to fill in those uneven crevices and holes on the edges, then sand it smooth. This way is super easy to apply and they dry quickly. You can print your project on the same day, but the downside is you can not use them when you are going to stain the project, it will destroy the overall finish.|
|Solid Wood Edge||If you want to cover plywood edges with solid wood, a router table or different edge band router bits are required to help trim the wood. But I believe most beginners are without these requirements at home, so this is not an easy way to achieve, as it needs time and experience. But It can offer you a seamless edge and perfectly match the wood pattern of the body of your project. The structure is firm as well. In my opinion, this is not an effective way unless you want to dig into the woodwork.|
|Iron-on edge banding||This type of banding is made of thin strips of veneer that are pre-glue with heat-activated adhesive. What you need to do is just use an iron to activate the adhesive, then apply the banding to the edge of the plywood.|
|Peel and stickplywood edge tape||This way requires no additional tools. Simply peel off the backing paper and stick it onto the edge of the plywood.|
What is edge banding and how to choose the right edge banding material
Though applying edge banding is familiar with most woodworkers, it is still necessary to give out a rough introduction of what it is and how to choose it.
As there are so many types of plywood projects that need different types of raw edge banding (Knowledge:What is edge banding?), even a skillful wood worker may get confused on the best choice sometimes.
Especially when met with edge banding heat process, since there are pre applied glue edge banding needs a machine to finish plywood edges.
What is edge banding
The edge banding is used to cover the exposed and unfinished edges of the furniture, giving it a finished and polished look. It also prevents the inner layers of wood from warping due to dirt and moisture. In short: edge banding is the protective packaging for your furniture!
In most of the situations, there is no concern for wood type to fit to use it or not, even solid wood is ok to use with it. And also in lots of diy projects, many people love to use it to finish entire projects.
You can choose the material according to your project’s needs. For example, choose veneer edge banding to get the natural wood appearance you desire. While PVC and melamine edge banding offer a durable finish and low maintenance option.
Overall, the choice of edge banding material will depend on the desired look, durability, and ease of application.
Size and pattern
Choose the edge banding that’s slightly wider than the plywood edge that you’re covering, as a little extra width can be easily sanded down for smooth operation and a polished finish. Just don’t go too wide, anything over 1/16″ may result in unnecessary waste.
It’s important to match the color and pattern of the edgebanding and the plywood that you are covering. But if painting your furniture is in your plans, then you can even consider using white edge banding.
Tools preparation for applying edge banding
If you want to finish plywood edges with a perfectly flush, you cannot miss any help from necessary tools. For ease of your preparation, we divide the applying into Iron-on and Peel-Stick 2 ways, with different tool requirements as below:
|Tool||Function||Iron-on edge banding||Peel and stick edge banding|
|Scissors or Utility Knife||Used to cut edge banding to size and shape||✓||✓|
|Household iron or Cricut EasyPress mini||Used to apply heat to the adhesive on the edge banding to activate the glue and attach it to the surface||✓||x|
|Roller or any stuff with a flat surface||Used to apply pressure to the edge banding, ensuring it is tightly attached and free of air bubbles||✓||✓|
|Edge Trimmer||Used to trim the excess edge banding after it has been affixed to the surface||✓||✓|
|Sander||Used to smooth out any rough or uneven areas of the edge banding or surface||✓||✓|
|De-curl tool||Used to help remove any curls or waves in the peel and stick edge banding||x||✓|
How to finish plywood edge with Iron-on edge banding
From now on, we will show you step by step on how to apply edge banding by ironing. If you need a professional finish, we will strongly recommend this process. Make sure you read and follow the steps carefully if you are doing this for the first time.
If the edges of your plywood have gaps or holes, you must use wood filler to fill them in. To create a smooth and even surface for the edge banding is very important, as empty gaps would leave air in it and cause the adhesive gone wrong.
Using the sander to sand the edges of the plywood to smooth out rough spots. After that, blow out all the dust after sanding to get clean surface exposed plywood edges.
Measure the length of the plywood edge that needs to be covered with edge banding, and use scissors to cut the measured edge banding. Remember to cut it a little longer than the length where you need to apply.
Applying edge banding on the edge of the plywood, making sure that it is centered and aligned properly.
Heat up the iron to a medium-high temperature setting. Test the temperature on a scrap piece of edge banding before proceeding. Starting at one end, place the iron on the edge banding corners and apply firm, even pressure while moving the iron along the length of the edge banding.
*Do not stop the iron in one place for too long to avoid edge banding melting or burning.
Use a roller or any stuff in your hand with a flat surface to apply pressure and ensure that the edge banding material adheres well to the plywood edge.
Scribe with a utility knife at the end, then bend and break that edge banding off.
After the entire length of the edge banding has been ironed, use the plywood edge trim to trim any excess banding from the ends. Make sure to cut at a slight angle to avoid sharp corners.
After working with edge trimmer, use the sander to smooth the trimmed edges and any rough spots or excess edges.
How to cover plywood edges with Peel and stick edge banding
Peel and stick is an easier way and no need of iron on edge banding for finishing. It is easy and extremely fit for a newbie to work it out. Here we go with how to get it done step by step:
Using the sander to sand the edges of plywood is an effective way to smooth out any rough spots. It is also a good way to prepare the edges for edge banding.
Measure the length and width of the plywood edge that needs to be covered with edge banding.
Using scissors to cut the measured edge banding to cover plywood edges.
Using the de-curl tool quickly removes the curl out of the edgebanding.
Peel off the back paper, applying edge banding on the edge of the plywood, making sure that it is centered and aligned properly.
Use a roller or a wood block to apply pressure and ensure that the edge banding adheres well.
Using a sharp knife or edge banding trimmer to trim the excess edge banding. Be careful not to damage the plywood surface while trimming.
Using the sander to sand the edge banding lightly to smooth out any rough edges.
With the right tools and techniques, you can finish plywood edges that add the gentle touch to your products.
Remember the keys are choosing the right adhesive and edge banding, as well as the right size and type for it. Meanwhile, Always take care of the measuring and cutting during processing, to ensure a precise and neat application.
Hope these tips and tricks can be a good assist in your fellow projects. By the way, if you need to check some wonderful edge bandings, you cannot miss the collection prepared by Maxave by clicking here.