Is It Necessary to File Edgebanding by Hand?

Most shops still have to do some hand work, even if they're equipped with an expensive edgebander. February 17, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
My production manager has our guys filing (by hand) laminate work that has come out of our $30K Brandt edgebander. Does this sound right? Do people still file by hand using those large farmer files? I'm sure they have better tools and much faster on the market, do you know of any? Shouldn't we be able to calibrate our edgebander for no filing once it is done? We spend a lot of time filing laminate jobs and it drives me crazy as a business owner.

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor J:
I can tell you that we still have to do some handwork through our 46K Brandt bander. When we run PVC it pretty much comes out finished other than some possible glue to clean off here and there, but when we run laminate strips there always seems to be some filing to do just to get rid of the chatter marks.

Keeping the cutters sharp does help, but they will dull pretty fast with the HPL. Also depending on what material we are banding we may set the trimmers slightly high just so we donít have to worry about burn-through on a possible high spot of glue from when the panel was laid up.

I have seen banders that do not require any hand work when the parts come out, however this has always been at a mfg. showroom where the bander is not being used in a production setting and is only running sample pieces. I'm sure others will chime in that they have banders that require no hand work, perhaps 30 to 46K is not enough. I guess it would also depend on what condition you want to send your parts out in. I know of a company that employs three to four people and their only job is to file and clean parts when they come out of the bander.

From contributor F:
No experience with HPL in expensive edge banders, but I do still file by hand. I do small HPL jobs on occasion and use a Beaver air file to get close. Regardless of what they advertise, if I really want to get the edge clean I still need to do some hand filing. I'd imagine the same would be true of an edge bander, but I couldn't say for sure.

From contributor L:

I have a habit of not setting the cutters too close on edgebanding laminate. It is too difficult to repair or touch-up the laminate whether you are using PVC or laminate. With a laminate edge I edge first, then laminate the panel and then use a 22.5 degree router cutter set to the appropriate depth. With a matching PVC edge (laminating the panel before edgebanding) I have to use a razor to do some cleaning. One solution is to set the edgebander cutters so they just cut the edgebanding and not move into the plane of the panel. The height gauge needs to be accurate. The pressure on the panel can cause it to vary in tracking.

From contributor J:
I have had the same issue and can't stand having the guys stand there and file next to an expensive machine. It can be done on our Holz-Her bander this way:

1. The tooling has to be sharp and it does not last long for this, but I think sharpening is less expensive than filing. I keep one or two extra sets of tooling available so I have at least one to use when I get them sharpened.

2. Use laid up panels from a factory if you can't get them flat enough in your shop. We can't do it that flat with contact cement.

3. If your machine allows, set the routers at a very slight bevel so if there is a high spot on the panel, it will not cut into the laminate very much. If your machine does not allow it, there may be a bevel tool available for your machine or have one made. I use a very slight bevel, less than 1/2 degree.

4. At this point, I either have no filing or just breaking the edge. I only go through this much trouble if I have a large quantity of parts to run, or else it takes more time to set up the bander this way than to file.

From Contributor D:
I do not use laminate for my banding. I use edgebanding and have the bottom trimmer cut almost perfect to the melamine and leave a minor lip at top. As soon as it comes out of the edge bander we just run a 3" wide blade down the edge and bam! Plus it shows no black line. I hate it when on occasion they pick a laminate they donít make a banding for!