Hot Air Edgebander Choices

      A cabinetmaker gets advice on selecting the right edgebander. July 11, 2007

Right now I am doing about two face frame kitchens per month. I am looking to band shelves and maybe get into closet, garage cabinets. Is the pre-glued banding as good as going with a glue pot machine? What is better for banding melamine or PVC? My local supplier stocks matching pre-glued melamine banding only.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor H:
A gluepot machine is far superior to a hot air machine and melamine banding is very fragile and easy to chip, as it does not have the elasticity of PVC. That said, a glue pot machine will cost you a lot more than a simple Freud bench-top model. If you use wood veneer banding, the pre-glued is not too bad and if you feed it at a consistent rate with a tabletop model, it could fit the bill. The new Virutex portable gluepot machine may be an interesting alternative. I think it is around 2500.00 and there is a stand that can make it a more permanent machine. This way you could use PVC banding as well as laminates. Depends on volume.

From contributor L:
1 or 2mm PVC or ABS banding is far more durable than melamine banding and available in hundreds of patterns. Iím not a fan of .018 (1/2mm.) You can iron on melamine banding but not PVC. I haven't seen the Virutex portable gluepot machine, but most hot air machines are a pain. If you are going to get into Euro box construction, it will pay to get a glue pot bander. The time savings are huge. Be forewarned you will need a scoring saw or router to get really good edges.

From the original questioner:
I was looking at the hot air units from Laguna, Felder, MiniMax.

From contributor L:
Someone makes a simple gizmo for coating PVC with hotmelt so you can have a wider selection of banding to use on a hot air machine.

From the original questioner:
I have looked at pre-glued PVC online. However, I am concerned about the finish now after reading on here. Sounds like you really need scraping and buffing to get a nice look out of PVC? The machines I am looking at do have the shaper tooling to trim, though.

From contributor J:
I went through this process recently and ended up buying a Virutex EB35 hot air bander. The company I bought from sells hot air and glue pot machines, and they recommended hot air because I only use it occasionally and hot air is much easier to keep clean than glue pot. Start it up, use it, then switch it off.

I use PVC edgebanding, .8 to 2mm depending. The same company supplies me with ready glued PVC.

From contributor H:
Scraping and buffing is only for 3mm PVC. These stations add a lot to the cost of a bander and are not needed for the thin stuff. I use very little 3mm but bought both stations. I could have used the money better elsewhere.

From contributor L:
If you are using 1/2 or 1mm PVC, you can get enough ease out of a radius scraping station to not have to change your trim station at all. The buffers can then clean up the little bit of an edge that is left. You have to use the buffs fairly aggressively but they have to have a good job at the trim and scrape stations to really help. You can feel the difference the buffs make. You also must keep moving them in a little as the buffs do wear away. You can use a Scotch Bright buff for HPL to soften the feel after you have run the trims at an angle. The idea is to reduce the amount of handwork you need to do. How far you take it will depend on the volume of work going to the bander.

From the original questioner:
Okay. I am settled on a unit with 2mm capability. I am now looking at banding. .5, 1, 2mm.

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