Applying Laminate with an Edgebander

Yes, you can apply high-pressure laminate to panel edges using an edgebander. Here are tips on trimming and adhesives. February 16, 2012

I'm considering bidding on my first commercial job (small one). Requires all edges and faces of panels to be faced with HPL (Formica, etc.). Can my 3mm-capable bander apply it to edges if I cut into strips? Should I use special glue (currently Kleiberit #782.1)? Also, any concerns using HPL over veneer core/plywood substrate? I've had delamination problems and am thinking about something more stable like MDF or particleboard.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
What you are trying to do has been done and shouldn't be a problem. One of my customers does this and it takes a little bit to get the glue amount right to avoid glue being pressed out. But the glue you are using, if it works fine on PVC, will work fine on HPL. It will be harder on your trimmer blades. As long as you cut it into strips, you won't have any issues. Don't try to use a knife trimmer to cut the HPL. Let the end trim saws handle it.

From contributor I:
I would recommend priming the laminate sheet prior to slitting with spray contact adhesive. Makes an incredible bond. I normally use with Dorus Holz-Her cartridges and you literally have to chip the edgebanding off in 1/8" squares to get it off the door. I've used Dorus laminate primer before, but a business colleague suggested the spray glue, and what a huge difference in bond.

From contributor W:
My KD 53 has been doing HPL for years. I like the pre-glue ends idea.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. What do you usually use for substrate to glue HPL to? Any concerns if the specs indicate plywood construction? Should probably do both sides of panel for stability, right - even when it is a fixed panel with only front showing?

From contributor W:
If the job needs enough material, I order the panel pre laid up with a phenolic backer. Even with a backer ply can still move. PCB has a better chance of less movement. You can order single side material as well.

From contributor L:
Good suggestions so far. It's best to prime HPL. Don't use plywood. Particleboard is better for laminating. Use the same material front and back. HPL has a grain - keep it the same front and back. Though it will dull the guillotine knives faster, we let ours cut the laminate. That way you can use 12' strips and the work goes much faster. Make sure your strips are uniform or they will bind in the bander's guides. If you have more than one trim station, set the first one to get rid of most of the excess banding by cutting straight across and the second one to do the bevel. We normally use pre-lam sheets and band after cutting with VG. If you are doing contact cement laminating, there will likely be some bumps, so set your trimmers to just cut the thickness of the laminate so they don't scalp the bumps. Use the side copies on the end trims and on the second two edges, switch the end trims to bevel.
I usually try to get customers to use 2 or 3mm PVC instead of HPL. It's a better edge. There will be those that argue for banding before face laminating for aesthetics. Doesn't really make any difference since you bevel the edge either way. As long as you are using VG, the look is basically the same.