Trimming Edgebanding on a Curved Edge

Good suggestions for clean, efficient trimming of edgebanding applied to a flat surface with a curved perimeter. June 21, 2012

Any tips for manually trimming 1mm PVC banding? I have a number of curved pieces that I'll be applying the banding to with contact cement, but am looking for the best way to trim it. I tried a laminate trimmer with flush bit, but I had to file the edges flush, which is a step I'd like to avoid.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
You can try a follow up run with a beveled bit in the laminate trimmer, which can get you a bit closer for short money. You can pick up an air file made by companies like Beaver. Will also get you significantly closer, for a bit more money. I haven't found anything that completely eliminates a little hand filing for a nice clean edge, but these will minimize the amount.

From contributor B:
A Hoffman lipping planer works well.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. So far I'm trimming what I can with the flush bit, knocking down the section that the flush bit won't reach (inside radiuses) with a plane blade, hitting it with a 1/16" roundover bit, then filing flush. Lots of steps, but actually goes fairly quickly once you get moving. Does the lipping planer do the trick? I may go that route eventually.

From contributor J:
Lipping planers are great… for flat work. I can't imagine how you would set one up to work cleanly on curved work without a lot of jigging up. I use mine for trimming solid edging flush with plywood. In which case the blades can just brush the hardwood veneer of the ply. If you're working with laminate or melamine, I don't see it as a better option than the trim router.

From contributor G:
I assume he's talking about a flat panel with a curved edge, where a lipping planer would be just the ticket.

From contributor J:
You may be right, but even on flat panels I wouldn't necessarily go with a lipping planer over a jigged trim router, especially on melamine or laminate. I have done fairly easy curves, approximately 56" circumference, with the lipping planer on veneered projects, and you're right that it works pretty well. But if it's tighter curves, I think you might run into problems.

With the lipping planer, generally speaking, I want to have as little blade extended past the banding as possible. On a straight edge this is very easily accomplished. On a curved edge it's going to be somewhat difficult to keep the cutter tight to edges, so you'll need much more blade exposed, increasing the odds of hitting the surface of the piece. Or alternatively have the blade clearance such that it will require additional passes with another tool to get it flush.

I guess I'd have to see exactly the type of parts the questioner is trying to do to in order to say for sure.

From contributor G:
Good points, contributor J. I wonder about just using a very sharp chisel on the banding. Might be worth cutting the handle off a chisel so it can ride flat on the panel.

From contributor J:
I think it might be worth a try. But you're right about being careful! That 1mm PVC is pretty thick so you need a good amount of push to keep the chisel moving. I was trying to do it on some white melamine a couple weeks back since my edgebander isn't exactly tuned to precision, and found it a bit hairy. On a big enough job I might even be inclined to buy a cranked neck chisel and get it razor sharp to try out.

From contributor L:
Use the blade out of a plane. Route away most of the banding first, then clean up with plane iron flat on the panel.

From contributor P:
I use a Betterly trim router. It works great on straight and curved sections, and the adjustability is very precise. Can't remember what I paid for it, but whatever it was, it was worth it.

From contributor A:
I've had good success with these bits in the past. Amana started making these about 10 years ago.

From contributor O:
If you're talking about a flat panel with a curved edge, I've used a 6" jointer knife flat on the surface. Pull it rather than push it.

From contributor N:
We use a Richards roller scraper well sharpened, and then file.