Edgebander Glue in Small Lots (and Related Issues)

This thread starts with simple Q&A about getting particular glue colors in small-job quantities, but goes on to explore many aspects of edgebander setup and maintenance.February 17, 2012

So I'm picking up a new to me Holz-Her edgebander this week. I searched the archives and found some recommendations to use Dorus HKP glue, and found a couple suppliers already. My question is does anyone know of a supplier who will sell in less than case quantities?

I need a small quantity of dark brown glue for a job, and realistically I probably won't use the remainder of a full case in the next 20 years. If I have to I'll buy it, but hoping to find a supplier who will sell me a smaller quantity of say 1/2 dozen. Alternatively if anyone here has some lying around because they bought a full case and didn't need the whole thing, maybe they'd be willing to sell me some and recoup a few bucks?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
I have almost a full case and would part with some. Yes do not use it too often.

From contributor Y:
I have run a Holz-Her bander for many years. If you get one of the no-pigment added or neutral glues, and you have good machining on the parts and your EB is setup properly you should not need to use a colored glue. I don't even use it on Black Melamine and .5mm PVC. All you see on our panels is the panel color and EB color, no lines. All our parts are cut on a small CNC (cnt motion) or modulus 2000 on a unisaw (before we went to CNC).

From the original questioner:
All of my parts are being cut on the tablesaw with a decent blade. So far there's no chipping on the good face, and very slight chipping on the unseen side. It's a small project, roughly 26 lf of closet cabs, so I think I'll get most of it cut with similar results. I'm worried that the natural or beige color, while thin, would still be noticeable against the dark chocolate melamine color. Reading your feedback maybe I'll test run some parts before buying the tinted glue. This is what most here would consider an entry level bander, and while I have seen it run a few test panels, I really haven't a good idea of the quality of glue line it will produce.

Also while we're on the melamine topic, is PVC edge banding the norm? I called my supplier to order it today and that was his suggestion. It has to match the melamine so I don't have much choice anyway. But curious what others are doing? I've done very little melamine stuff in the past, but with the economy the way it is and with the custom closet guys charging the way they do, I think this is a logical addition for my business. Hopefully the learning curve with this bander will be fairly shallow as I'm really jumping right into the deep end.

From contributor Y:
I don't know the model number you have, but most (though not all) entry level Holz-Herís have the same basic components as their higher end machines. You should get excellent results if your machine is in tune and setup properly. I should qualify that further that it is not an older machine that has the scissors mechanism on the front and back trimmers or the old 'low-freq' grinder motors. I use Johnson Technical services for my edgbander help and I would highly recommend them to help you if you need any in that area. PVC on Melamine is the norm, we run it day in and day out.

From the original questioner:
It's the Express 1434, not exactly sure how old it is, but it looks like it's been taken care of. I don't have it in my shop yet to do too much research, but the trimmer motors look similar to grinders, or even beefy laminate trimmer motors. I don't expect it to produce perfect results, just to apply and trim the banding leaving as little hand work as possible. I'm just not in a position where I can afford one of the better machines that produce a panel ready to install. With the quantity and variety of work I do, it will likely only get used a couple days a month - at least for the near term. I have a local tech ready to go and he has done work on the machine in the past. So with his help I should be in good shape. If the melamine work leads to more business I can always upgrade down the road.

From contributor J:
Setup on these banders is key. I have an old Holz-Her and it is a work horse. The one I now have I actually bought as a parts machine but on closer inspection it was better than my old one so I ended up putting the best parts on it and it now works better than my old one ever did. When I picked it up I asked the old owner if it worked. He told me it would put the tape on but did not trim too well and you had to use a sharp chisel to clean the edges. When I asked him some basic questions about cutters and adjustment I quickly figured out that he didn't have a clue and since he had bought a new Brandt I took the Holz-Her. Have the Tech who sets it up for you train you on adjustment and maintenance when mine was first set up the guy took almost a whole day training us on the necessary items. It does make a difference. I have the brown glue to use on dark colored jobs. I also have white that I use for large white melamine jobs.

Most of the time natural is used but on a large white melamine job the white really comes out nice. Dorus was recommended to me when I first bought the machine and it is all I use. Costs a bit more but I have never had edgebanding come off or major problems with the heater or nozzle. Good luck with your machine it will be a real time saver. I wouldn't even think of doing a melamine or laminate job without an edgebander. I hate to say it but the next thing you will be looking for is a good panel saw to get good clean cuts I know that is what happened to me.

From the original questioner:
I already have the Holz-Her 1265 vertical panel saw on my list. If I do decide to swap out the glues how difficult is it? I asked the seller today but he has only run the natural color so didn't know. Do you have to just run scrap panels until you drain the remainder of the glue? Or is it possible to remove it? I do plan on having the tech over, but not sure his schedule will allow him to come by before I run the first batch of panels.

From contributor Y:
You have an older machine there from a little research I have done online here. Yes, simply purge the glue, you can do this simply by actuating the limit switch for the glue (can't remember which one but it will be one of the first switches). You don't have to spend a bunch of time feeding panel stock, purge it in a handful of seconds by operating the limit switch when it gets up to temperature. The only thing I don't like on this machine are the trimmer units. They are the older type that are essentially angle grinder motors.

For light use you will be fine. The machines I ran previously, we swapped out the bearings in the motors every 250-300 hours, as well as the brushes or else you were going to be buying a whole new motor unit when (not if) the bearing seized (and they are not inexpensive!). Keep your ears tuned to these little motors and address any possible issues early, it will save you big time money! Having a really good tech to get it dialed in and teach you to do it is huge.

Handwork after using an automatic edgebander is unacceptable and a huge waste of time and money. Get used to setting it up right, not settling for almost and it will become second nature to you and take no more time than to have a poorly set-up bander. Keep this one little rule in mind and you'll stay pointed in the right direction. This is not one machine. It is a compilation of many machines, each requiring its own individual setup to ensure a good product. Set it up in sequence, starting with proper air pressure (good dry air is important), the straight feeding of the tape, then glue, and then pressure rollers and on through the machine, only turning on the next station after you are sure of the correct function of the previous station.

It is easy for a problem to be caused by different items. Just like your shop, if a cabinet is built out of square what caused it? It could be a number of things. If it originated with your tablesaw being out of square, nothing else you do in your process will fix it. The problem must be addressed at it. If you are going to be doing much PVC work, having buffers will increase your quality (both look and feel) rather significantly. You could probably make a home-made contraption to scab on to the end of your machine that will do the trick, if you do not already have them.

From contributor Y:
I forgot to mention - pull the old cartridge out, put in your new color, and then purge. This will minimize the loss of precious glue.

From contributor L:
With a thin glue line the natural works well with anything. I tried switching to white once (sample cartridge) and the minimal gain was not worth the changeover. The only time I'd consider a changeover is if I got a big black job. ESI sells HKP in singles? HDL sells six packs, but only the Jowat. I really like the HKP25, but itís been getting more and more expensive than the 21 - now almost two times - and I'm starting to wonder just what makes it premium and if it's really worth it. Contrary to implication, HPL still needs to be primed to get a good bond with the 25.

From the original questioner:
I got the bander and had the tech give it a once over. I can't say I'm getting perfect results, but still a heck of a jump from using the iron. He had it working pretty good but one of the trimmers has already gone out of whack and is rubbing the bottom edge (he did show me how to adjust so I'll have to address it pretty soon). Though I may also have him come back for another look. He did confirm that if I wanted a perfect edge this was not the machine to buy. No surprise there though. I thought I would need the dark glue for the dark chocolate color panels I am doing but it turns out the natural isn't too bad. I had bought a couple black from a place I found online that sells individual pieces but I underestimated how much glue I would use. So I went back to the natural and although not as good as the black, it was still ok.