Edgebanding with No Edgebander

Alternative ways to apply edgebanding to small runs of laminate doors when you have no edgebander. September 23, 2006

For years I have worked in shops with edgebanders. Now I have my own shop with no edge bander. For veneer tape, I'm using this Rube Goldberg contraption that is a guide and reel on a hot air gun. (Forget the name, but it's made in Spain and set me back over $300.00.) Lays the stuff on real fast, all things considered.

But I'm really concerned about what to do for my first laminate cabinet job. I have always ripped strips and fed the parts into an edge bander (pre-lam the insides first, of course). I'm not sure what my options are now. When I buy laminate, will the supplier also sell pre-glued matching edgebanding? If that is available, is it a sound choice?

I know I can spray contact cement on each edge and stick laminate strips once it flashes. I have done this for years with the edges of counters, but that just seems a little inefficient for a boatload of cabinets going into a store or doctors' offices. Any ideas?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor E:
Sub out your doors. There may be local shops to do this for you. Do a search on WOODWEB for laminated doors.

From contributor H:
Virutex makes a hot glue applicator for edgebanding strips. It's basically a real glue pot with roller applicator and you run any material in strip form through it and then reheat with an iron or heat gun to apply. I believe it is in the 2400.00 range, which is cheaper than an edgebander. Outsourcing to a local shop would be faster.

From contributor D:

If you can't find a shop in your area or can't justify the cost of buying your doors out, as you mentioned at the end of your post, your alternative will be to edge the panels yourself.

I've been in your situation, too. I often stack up my panels, face to face, with one edge of each panel flush to the next panel's edge. This would be the edge that you're going to laminate. If you're using laminate or PVC tape for the edges, cut the pieces to length and rip them1/4" wider than the thickness of the panels.

Be conscious of how the underside of the ripped laminate looks. If it's all blown out, you'll wind up laminating the voids created by the blowout onto your panels. That'll look real nice. Not. The best way to avoid that is to have a good sub fence set up to both support and prevent the edge from slipping under the face of the fence.

Lay your strips next to each other and spray them up and also the face of edges of the panels you have stacked up. I always separate the stack of panels immediately after spraying up. Otherwise, you'll wind up having to pry the panels apart.

After that, it's pretty much just applying the strips, trimming them, filing them if needed, and lamming up the rest of the edges. If laminate edges are used, use a laminate trimmer. If it's PVC, then a sharp chisel with the corners blunted will do the trick.

From contributor T:
In the future, if you are going to be putting lam edges on doors with contact, buy a laminate slitter. You can slit the lam just 1/2 a hair over your finished width. They are a couple hundred, but will pay for themselves very quickly in lam savings, less trim time, less frustration with blown out layers of laminate from a saw.