Sunday, May 3, 2015

If You’re Building a Cabinet with Plywood, Here’s how to Hide the “Sandwiches”

Band-It Wood Veneer Edge Banding

Every time a woodworker plans a new project, he (or she) must make a choice:  build with solid lumber, or use furniture-grade plywood? It’s easier to decide when we're building a project without large, flat elements; but if you’re crafting a cabinet or some other enclosed piece, quality plywood means saving on material cost; plus plywood is sometimes easier to work with than solid lumber. I've used plywood to build bookshelves from birch and maple, and built a Mission-style media cabinet with oak. Most times the "sandwich" edges of my plywood are hidden by solid-wood face frames, but in some cases the edges remain exposed. Where an edge would be prominent, like the top of a cabinet, I’ll use solid wood to frame the plywood; but for the surfaces that remain hidden most of the time I use Band-It Wood Veneer Edging

Using Band-It Edging
After years of abuse, the white oak
edging on this furniture is still in place.
Hint: compare the grains... (photo: author

This product is just plain great: veneer edging is simply a thin strip of real wood with a dry glue backing. To apply some, you cut a strip about half an inch longer than the naked edge, then use a household iron (set on “cotton”) to activate the adhesive. While it's still hot, you can smooth any lumps or bumps with a roller block of wood. If the edging is misaligned, just re-heat the edging with the iron so it can be moved. The veneer can be cut with scissors and trimmed with a razor blade. This great product isn’t just used by DIY-ers: careful examination of our $1400 white oak Mission entertainment center show that the furniture makers in North Carolina used veneer edging just like I did.

Available Varieties

Cloverdale, who makes Band-It edging, sells the product in four widths  from 5/8 to 2 inches, in rolls from 25 to 250 feet long. They also have sheets of veneer in 12-, 24-, and 48-inch widths and 4- and 8-foot lengths. That includes a 4’x8’ sheet of paper-backed veneer that can cover an entire sheet of plywood. According to the company website, both veneer and edging can be bought in a dozen furniture-grade species of wood and more than 40 species are available in architectural grade, including exotics like zebra wood, mappa, limba, Figueroa, sapele, and gaboon. Sheets are also available in colors, plus Cloverdale sells melamine edging for laminated surfaces as well. Edging  and veneer sheets come in iron-on, peel-and-stick, and paper-backed (glue-it-yourself). 


PLUS: inexpensive, easy to use, and attractive
What They’re Saying: It’s easy to use and it’s an inexpensive alternative to solid wood that’s almost undetectable as a “cheat”! Band-It Wood Veneer Edging is just what the doctor - the furniture doctor - ordered! 

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