How to Hide Plywood Edge (Method 3)

The Things You Will Need

Plywood

Veneer or laminate strips

Hot Iron (for strips that are pre-glued)

Optional Items:

Router for trimming laminate strips wider than plywood edge

Utility Knife alternative for trimming laminate strips if router not available

Contact Adhesive for strips without pre-glue

Steps

Step One. Understanding the Problem.

If you ever handled plywood, you will notice the layers of thin individual layers of different wood or veneers at the edges. If you want to make furniture out of even the finest plywood, the edges will look ugly if you leave them exposed. It is difficult to sand down as the thin layers will flake off or break off tiny pieces and the edge will not look smooth. There are many creative ways in handling this problem. Here is a method that requires veneer or laminate strips. Sometimes they are referred to as edge banding strips.

Step Two. Finding Material Supply.

Find a specialty hardware store to find the veneer that matches your wood. Alternatively, find laminate strips to make the edging of your desire. If you can’t find the hardware or lumber store that carries these materials, do an Internet search. There are vast amounts of vendors to choose from. Use search keywords such as “edge banding strips” or “veneer strips”.

There a variety of kinds of edge bands to choose from. Select the one that you need for your project. For instance, if you are building your own furniture from "Ikea" type scrap wood, you will need the material that closely resemble the surface of the wood. Melamine is used to cover the surface of particle boards. Buy Melamine strips for this project.


Step Three. Sizing.

Check for options that will supply you with the appropriate amount and lots of slack. It can be easy to make measurement mistakes. For example, if your cut is a quarter inch short it may be better to have another supply of edge banding to cover. Trying to cover up a short mistake may not look aesthetic.

The amount offered can be too much. For example, some stores only provide a roll of 250 feet when you only need 25 feet. Contact the store to see if they will offer to cut the lengths you need. Alternatively, any extra band lengths can be stored for future projects. They do not take much space.

There are times when it seems impossible to find the right strip wide. The "Ikea" furniture again is a good example. The board thickness is 5/8" and many edge banding companies seem to offer only 3/4, 13/16 or 15/16 inches.

If edge band tapes are too wide, then purchase a band edge trimmer to neatly remove excess. If the local hardware stores do not carry this tool then purchase online. The cost is inexpensive around 10 dollars. See an example in Figure 1.

Step Four. Alternative Edge Band Sources.

You can make your own veneer by cutting a strip from other pieces of wood that are thin in thickness (1/8, 3/16, for example).

Step Five. Cut Length.

Carefully size the veneer strip to the edge to test the dimensions. Cut the length using a sharp utility knife.

Step Six. Attach to the Wood Edge.

Carefully apply glue or contact adhesive to the plywood edge and attach the veneer. See Figure 2 below. Some veneer strips already have glue on them that can be activated by using an iron.

Step Seven. Applying a Cover on Other Faces of Board.

If adding laminate strips is usually done in conjunction with applying a large laminate piece to cover the top of the plywood. This large piece will need to be installed first and then trimmed with a router as shown in Figure 3. The following step will be the strips along the edge.

Attachment is applied the same way as the veneer strip using glue or contact adhesive. The edges will need to be filed or sanded to smooth any sharp edges between the top and the side laminates.

DIY Furniture

How many of you tried building furniture but gave up?

  • No. I actually completed the project.
  • Yes. The actual work was over my head.
  • Yes, but the project is almost finished and shelved forever.
  • Yes. I'm somewhere in the middle of the project but had to put up the white flag.
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Figure 1. Edge trimming tool example
Figure 1. Edge trimming tool example
Figure 2. Applying Glue to Edge Strip
Figure 2. Applying Glue to Edge Strip
Figure 3. Routing excess material to fit board size
Figure 3. Routing excess material to fit board size

Tip

Scrap Wood will save you money if you reuse. The downside is that extra material lying around takes up space.

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