Breaking Sharp Edges on Melamine Shelving

Suggested techniques for softening the knife-like edges of melamine shelves. December 21, 2010

How do you get rid of sharp edges on melamine shelving? I just made a small batch of shelving, PVC hot melt edge tape on the front and open edges the rest of the way around. I used a 320 grit paper on a block to break all edges. Worked, but was slow and burned up the paper pretty quick.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
Try a Formica file.

From contributor R:
Take a heavy razor blade and use it like a cabinet scraper on the edge (at a 45 degree angle) - it should produce a hair-like shaving and break the edge.

From contributor K:
Laminate trimmer and Formica file. Approximately 30-60 seconds per shelf.

From contributor M:
Same as contributor R, except I use a razor knife blade.

From contributor P:
I put a slight (3-5 degree or so) bevel on my banding with the trimmers, so the face usually doesn't need any more work. The rest gets a swipe with a piece of 150, held in the hand to break both edges at once.

Cleaning, filling the occasional chip, and edge breaking takes well under a minute per. If a banded edge needs attention, I hit it with one of the little hand-held blade trimmers (Virutex or similar) to flush and slightly bevel in one pass.

From contributor Y:
On the front, banded edge, my bander does a 15 degree bevel cut. Combined with the buffing wheels, there's no hand work. The other 3 raw edges get nothing - they are inaccessible once installed in the cabinet, so why waste the time?

From contributor P:
I break the raw edges for fear of an end-user cutting themselves when swapping shelves around. A sharp 90-degree cut has knife-like qualities.

From contributor I:
We only do a limited amount of edgebanding, but we break the corners with a handheld device we bought from Hafele. It is called a FASTBREAK. The item number is 005.51.930 and they cost $6.16. We actually have a couple to use with different grits of sandpaper. They are similar to a sanding block, but made to hold the sandpaper in a way so that it hits both corners in one pass. The paper is precut and stores in the handle. They also have an extra large version for about $15.00. This is one hand tool I really like.