Edgebanding with Aluminum Laminate

Aluminum does not spark, but even the thin edgebanding will wear out tools faster than wood or plastic banding. October 20, 2013

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
We have a project requiring edgebanding cabinet doors with a textured metallic laminate from one of the major laminate manufacturer’s. If I use our automatic edgebander will the knives trim well or will it result in excessive wear quickly, degrading the trim finish? The material is a .025 thick aluminum with textured finish, no backer. Does anyone have experience with this operation they could share?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From Contributor H:
When you try to run this you will have issues. In order to run aluminum the track speed of most edgebanders will be too fast. Also the tooling will spin too fast and will throw sparks. This can lead to a fire. It is better to run this by hand. Cutting aluminum can be done. But you will want to run the track speed as slow as possible and it will definitely wear out the knives quickly. You won't be able to slow down the trimming motors. They will be running at too high of a speed.

From Contributor B:
I've run phenolic back metals (aluminum). The aluminum is so thin it hardly acts like metal. Aluminum doesn't spark it is a non-ferrous metal. You may have to do a touchup run by the edgebander (without the glue station on) or by hand, but you can use the edgebander for 90 % of the work. Try out a few test runs to see for yourself.

From Contributor W:
I agree with Contributor H. No backer .025 (even 6061) - no way. Just out of curiosity why not the thinner p-lam type?

From Contributor A:
I know exactly what material you're talking about because we've used it many times. It does have a tendency to wear your tools out slightly faster so you'll have to keep an eye on that. Aluminum will not spark and the speed has never been a factor for us. Like Contributor B said the material is so soft and thin, its properties are very similar to laminate. If you don't have buffers on your edgebander you may want to just touch the edges and corners with a 220 sanding block.