What Is Edge Banding and When Should You Use It?
When creating furniture or cabinets, rough or unfinished edges are not the most desired look. However, whether utilising plywood or particle board, it is typical for the grain and finish to differ from the other sides. Sometimes raw edges aren’t a concern because they’re destined to be disguised as a cabinet shelf or a carpentry job where function takes precedence over finish. When it comes to aesthetics, though, there is a simple solution: edge banding.
What Exactly Is Edge Banding?
Edge banding is a thin veneer strip with adhesive on one side that covers the raw and exposed sides of particleboard and plywood. In other circumstances, edge banding is solid wood (typically scraps) that is glued or grooved into the piece of wood that it needs to fit. These bands can be created to match the colour of the wood to which they are attached. Edge banding, when done correctly, makes the entire board appear to be a solid piece of wood.
However, there is one (barely) perceptible element of edge banding that your houseguests are unlikely to detect unless they inspect your furniture with a magnifying glass. There were three forms of grain in wood: edge, end, and face. Each of these grains runs in a distinct direction, which distinguishes the various varieties. Edge banding, on the other hand, shows edge grain where end grain would ordinarily be seen. The difference in grain is not so obvious to the untrained — or even the trained — eye that it becomes the main point of a piece. Not to mention that edge banding, regardless of grain orientation, is a considerably more appealing appearance than the raw or exposed edges it covers.
When Should You Use Edge Banding?
Edge banding has two purposes: durability and beauty. Unfinished edges of plywood and particle board are more easily damaged. Edge banding reinforces the sides of the object it is bonded to, allowing it to withstand wear and tear better than raw wood and protecting it from the weather. You might not believe the inside of a cabinet takes as much wear as, say, a tabletop, but moving pieces in and out of a cabinet or altering shelf heights on a regular basis might have a greater impact on the quality of the piece than you realise. Edge banding is far more resistant to normal bumps, scratches, and knocks than naked edges.
However, the most common reason woodworkers and DIYers use edge banding is for aesthetic reasons. Whether or not you can see the exposed edge of the plywood you’re working with, it’s critical that the colour and texture on all sides match. It takes away a project’s “homemade” appearance while adding gloss and sophistication to an otherwise inexpensive piece of wood.
Edge Banding Is Simple
Solid wood scraps that can be cut and fitted into plywood are less likely to be used (or even have!) for at-home projects. Not to mention that veneer edge banding is much easier to apply and trim to fit perfectly. It often only involves equipment that most people already have in their homes — a sharp knife and a hairdryer or iron — and it doesn’t take long to apply.
Because projects and the uses of the wood you’ve bought and completed can vary as you go, edge banding is an easy way to ensure that each side of a piece of wood matches and doesn’t need to be refit if you repurpose the project (for example, going from enclosed cabinets to open shelves).It will also ensure that the project to which you dedicated your time and money is resistant to wear and tear.