Shopping for a Used Edgebander

      This discussion of comparison shopping for an edgebander has some detailed info from a maintenance and repair technician. May 30, 2011

I'm looking at a couple of entry level banders and just wanted to gather a couple opinions. A HolzHer 1432 and a Cehisa ep7 are the ones I have in mind. What kind of results (I know this is a loaded question) can I expect from no-frills machines like these? How much hand work will need to be done to get things right? I'm stuck between getting a bander like this in the short-term or holding out for something better down the road (when I can afford more and will have more use for it).

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor S:
My vote is for the HolzHer. The company has been bought out by Homag (I believe) but they seem to be keeping the HolzHer product in good standing. I love my Sprint. The HolzHer glue system is brilliant and perfect for a smaller shop.

From contributor L:
I am a machine technician and would like to help you find your solution. A lot of what you are asking is difficult to answer. Let's start with a few questions.

What type of products do you plan to edgeband? Both of these machines can apply the basic materials. I.e. HPL, 0.5mm PVC, Veneer strips, etc. The issue gets into 3mm PVC. While both of these machines can apply the product and trim the product, neither can scrape the 3mm radius or round the corners. If you have no need for this, ok. If you do, these are the wrong machines.

With that said, apples and oranges. I have experience with both of these machines. Both are well built, but dollar for dollar, in my opinion, the HolzHer is a much better machine.

Here is the drawback to the 1432, It has standard frequency motors (looks like a hand router). While these are good, they are light weight and not a production orientated motor and they are expensive to replace. The EP7 uses High Frequency motors. These motors are true brushless motors. As long as you keep them clean, you will have very little trouble.

Both machines usually have a single end trim motor that cuts both the front and back end of the board (no advantage on either machine). Both machines have a single station top/bottom trimmers (only difference is the motor style.) Both have buffers (no advantage on either machine). HolzHer uses the 1906 cartridge glue station. Nice, reliable, minor routine maintenance required. Adwood uses a glue pot - time tested and proven technology. Minor routine maintenance required. Slower to warm up, if compared side by side. What I would like to ask is your expected production through the machine. Hours, panels, expected sizes, and product type.

Side by side with these machines, I would choose the EP-7, even though I like the HolzHer better. This is based solely on the standard frequency s. high frequency motors.

From the original questioner:
Right now I'm running a Cehisa ep-2s (1986 model - for the record i was 11 when this was made). It applies thin tape and 1mm (not spec'd for the machine but Iíve run it without problem. I do have to manually cut the banding so it isn't a quick process), however, it takes 20-30 minutes to warm up and with no trimming. It takes a considerable amount of time to do this work.

I'm looking to run thin tape, 1mm, and the occasional HPL. Depending on ease of application, I might run some 3mm real wood for shelving. Overall, Iíd plan on running it fewer than ten hours per week. It all depends on the jobs in the loop - some weeks more and some weeks not at all. Both machines (ep-7 and 1432) are mid-90's machines and I won't be able to inspect either. Neither has buffing - just single end trim and twin edge trimmers. The total cost to include transportation and electrical setup should be less than $3500.

Is either machine capable of producing an edge that won't require much cleaning up (hand work)? If so, would this apply to all applications (thin, 1mm, wood, etc.)? Would I be better to wait to afford a better machine? I'd probably be looking to use it more often but for the same variety of tasks.

From contributor L:
I think I would be fall heavily on the Cehisa. The high freq motors will make a lot of difference and ten hours a week is enough to go to the high freq. Why can you not look at the machines? I assume they are online. If these are on online auctions, then buyer beware. I have made a lot of money on people saving money. Without inspecting the machines, I really can't offer anything else to look for.

From contributor Y:
I have ran old HolzHerís (currently own a newer one) with the old motor style. It works, but as the tech stated they are a higher dollar cost to maintain. Personally, I'd hold out for a Holz-Her with the high freq and keep the cartridge glue system, especially if you foresee a need to use different color glues. Maintenance and short runs are much easier on the HolzHer. I've run HolzHers for 16 plus years and want nothing else. I had an old 1435 that went through a plant fire. It was one of the few machines that survived and allowed us to get back to production, (without rebuilding it).

From contributor S:
I would like to add that being able to easily change glue colors is a nice thing in my shop. I also think the regular maintenance is a lot less on the glue cartridge. But a lot of this depends on how much edging you are running. For small amounts the advantage will not be as obvious.

From the original questioner:
Given all of the potential issues with machines of this age (I knew this), I'm probably better off to wait to be able to afford a newer, better machine. My ep-2s isn't quick but I know what I get with it.

From the original questioner:
Just rethinking my final thoughts - can the HolzHer motors be upgraded/converted to high frequency? If so, costs? If not, costs to replace standard frequency motors? What other areas (feed belts, glue pot, etc.) commonly require replacement on older machines? I guess it depends on how these have been maintained but considering an average use.

From contributor D:
I've not noticed an issue in the past with different colors, but I'm fixing to cut closet parts for a guy and he wants there to be nothing there for a visible glue line and is willing to pay me to switch the glues out to do so. As I think this out though, it may be a moot point since my parts come of the router not a panel saw that leaves a little score on one side.

From contributor L:
Does anyone run the clear unfilled adhesive? If the line is very noticeable the machine is probably putting it on too thick.

From contributor L:
To quickly answer your question, no, it would be costly to change the motors. Each motor is roughly $800.00 and up. Also the motor mounts are completely different. Also the drive is several hundred dollars as well, not to mention the labor to convert. As stated above, you can change the glue color easily in a HolzHer, but in my experience, that practice is not done often. Letís divert from the motors for a moment to discuss glue, since we seem to be heading that direction.

Most of the time, if the glue line is set correctly, you can use almost any color substrate and edge product together, but there are few things to consider. For the following discussion, letís assume the following format. PC/EC = Panel Color/Edge Color.

WH/WH : you should use white glue. BLK/BLK : you should use dark glue. Other than that, if you have any shade of brown, gray, red or just about any combination other than the above, the common natural or no color will usually work. The trick is to hide the glue color within the surrounding colors. This is a trick and takes some work to get it correct.

I am asked on almost every edgebander service call, ďHow much glue do I use?Ē The correct answer is: ďAs little as possible.Ē If you are running 0.5mm PVC it will take less to adhere the edge product than 2Ēx ĺĒ solid maple.

In the realm of cutting panels there are predominantly two schools, saws and routers. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and I donít want to go there today. One of the most common issues that both schools of thought is, cut edges that are not perpendicular to top/bottom. From the saw, this can be anything from a blade that is not 90 degrees to debris on the table and skewing of the panel. From CNCs it is common to have this when the tooling is deflecting. Deflection can be from dull tooling, too high of feed speed, or too small of tooling diameter.

With this issue a very fine amount of measurement will cause the glueline to not close on one face or the other. The natural reaction is to increase the glue quantity, hence creating a larger glueline. If we strive to create a glueline of 0.1mm and the misalignment of my edge is 0.05mm, you will most likely never see it, but if the error is greater, say 0.1mm, the quantity of glue is too light to cover. This same issue can be created if the glue station is not 90 degrees to the chain, or if someone feeds a wide panel in and does not support the extended end of the panel or perhaps the support rail is too high in relation to the chain. Increasing the glue line will then allow excess glue to be squeezed from the open end of the edging and creating issues further down the machine.

Along this line, is an issue that the HolzHer has because of the glue nozzle. The face of the nozzle has corrugated grooves milled to allow the glue to be applied to the panel edge. These grooves are not uniform, but have been engineered so that the peak of the groove will coincide with common panel thickness. The drawback is that they cannot meet all the panel thickness that we use. I.e. if we have a 19mm panel and we apply a HPL top and a backer, the panel thickness may or most likely not align with one of the peak. The result is excess glue applied to the top face of the panel, or a dry line. This depends on the operator and the course of action taken to fix the error. Usually they choose to change the glue color and to raise the glue line, and then clean the panel.

Machines with gluepots donít have this issue, but they will caramelize any color that is used if the product is allowed to cook, an issue HolzHer does not have. So, when I install, repair, or train on edgebanders I strive to hit a 0.1mm glueline regardless of the substrate. A 0.1mm line is so fine, that any color glue can be used against any substrate/edge product with acceptable results. I confirm this with a thread counting magnifying glass and I can generally achieve this on most machines, HolzHer tends to be a little more difficult from the above issue.

A few things to keep in mind when purchasing glue:

1. It has a shelf life of about one year. Donít buy more than you will use in that time frame, and donít let it freeze. Edge products also have a shelf life.

2. Keep it clean. I recommend a small trashcan with a lid. Dust and debris equal trash and thatís what we want to avoid.

3. Donít allow your machine to Idle at temperature for more than around 15 minutes. This will cook the properties out of your glue.

4. On machines with gluepots, you must replace the glue after about 120 to 160 hours of heating, not 120 to 160 of use. Every time you heat your glue, you cook out some of its properties. Eventually the glue will go stale and the edgeproduct will not stick.

5.) Sometimes it may be necessary to use primer on the back of edgeproduct to increase the wetting of the products.

6.) Not all glues are meant for all products. When in doubt call the glue manufacture.

7.) All of the glue manufactures have a Technical Service line available to assist you. They want to help keep you happy, so make use of them.

8.) Donít mix glues from manufacture to manufacture, or within product lines of the same manufacture. They can deteriorate the glues performance.

9. Follow the glues temperature recommendations. The recommendations can sometimes be crossed for short periods and very specific applications.

Hope this helps some. Just keep in mind; changing your color is not right or wrong, as it may be your best solution.

From contributor P:
To contributor L: For those of us who want to set up our own machines, would you be willing to give a little detail on how to use the magnifier properly to set that glue amount?

From contributor L:
Over the years I've repaired machines and helped struggling bander operators with many of the things you list. Most don't go after the root cause but rather use a scattered approach that never manages to identify the real problem. Excessively heavy glue lines are the most common wrong solution that I've seen. The results: visible glue line, dirty machine, wasted cleanup labor on every panel, slide back of solid wood bands. The solution; start at the beginning and fix the problem, don't cover it up with a wrong solution, I.E. thick glue line. Even an industrial quality bander is only as good as its setup.

If you are staying within the physical limitations of your machine and not getting good clean results it's time to start at the beginning and verify every step. A while back someone talked about the issue of banana edges on panels. This can be a big issue when that panel comes to the bander. There are techniques to control the banana. If you don't know how, ask, otherwise it will cause banding problems that seem to come and go and the bander will get blamed. I've had a thread count magnifier for years, good for glue line and other quality issues. Also allows you to see when the router bit has been run too long! Another problem that often gets blamed on the bander.

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