Edge banding is a simple, low-cost addition to make doors and panels stand out, especially in pieces from the Federal period. Last week I showed how I added edge banding to my tall clock. As I trimmed banding flush to the panel and door, I flipped a corner area out which called for a repair. This week I’ll show a simple fix, then give you a couple ways to rout in string grooves to hide where the banding and veneer meet.
To trim banding flush, as you may expect, I use a router and flush-cut router bit with a bottom-mount bearing. I learned years ago that if you expect edge banding – short pieces positioned so the grain runs perpendicular to edges – to keep from massive destruction, you better climb cut as you trim – you are trimming end grain.
As I worked on my tall clocks, I learned another valuable lesson; Cut straight in at your corners. I made a climb cut along the bottom edge of my door panel, and as I began the cut the bit flipped out part of the corner. If you push directly in at the corner – follow the mitered line formed at the corners – the pressure of the cut is such that your banding stays intact.
If you look at the photo above you may think that little bit of missing banding is not a big deal. In fact, there is a small piece gone from both mitered corner pieces. The left-hand missing piece is small enough to be hidden by a piece of stringing yet to come, but with the right-hand piece I was not so fortunate. Thus the repair.
I know I’m not providing any earth-shattering technique never seen before as I demonstrate this fix, but that is the point. Edge banding is easy to do, and edge banding repair is simple. (We are woodworkers, if it was difficult or hard we would not do it.) To fix this defect, draw a line with your pencil of marking knife then cut away a small piece of banding. If possible, undercut the edge as you work to make sure you get a tight fit with your patch.
Find a piece of leftover banding that has a similar grain match – this should be easy to do because all your banding pieces are cut from one or two pieces of scrap as shown in the previous post – then glue the patch in place. After the glue dries, trim the patch flush with your edge. Simple, huh?
Where your banding and veneer meet is where you plow the groove for stringing. I suggest a couple different setups depending on what tools you have available. If you have a guide fence to fit your router, install a 1/16″ straight bit in your router, position the bit so your groove splits the banding/veneer intersection then make your cut, as shown in the top photo below. If you do not have a fence that fits your router, then you need a guide bushing and a shop-made straight edge, as shown in the lower photo. For this operation, you need to calculate the measurement from the edge of your guide bushing to the center of your router bit, or how far from the intended groove you need to affix your straightedge in order to cut the groove at the banding/veneer intersection – off course, this depends of your bushing.
This is easy-to-do woodworking with spectacular results. Give it a try. It works just as great on small boxes, too.
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