Woodworking Jigs & Fixtures
August 25, 2012
Edge Banding Trimmer
Edge banding plywood is one of those tasks that ranks fairly low on the woodworking enjoyment scale. It's tedious, at best and made worse if after you've gone to the trouble of gluing on the trim, botch it with a bad cut when trimming off the excess.
There are primarily two types of edge banding used in woodworking: The first is a thin veneer tape, just wider than the thickness of the plywood. It usually comes with heat-activated glue already applied - just heat it with an ordinary clothes iron or heat gun to activate it and press it on. The second type are solid wood strips, glued to the edge of the plywood panel. These strips are cut from the same type of wood as the veneer on the face of the plywood. Accurately cutting off the excess from either of these types of banding is when the trouble usually starts. Since I do a fair amount of edge banding myself, I made a jig that is easy to build, simple to operate and to adjust.
Here's a video showing the features and a short demonstration of the jig in action:
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The jig uses a small laminate trimming router, clamped into a solid hardwood block:
It's mounted on a arm that allows it to pivot up and down:
A flush trim bit is used in the router.
The arm pivots on a 1/4" bolt that can be tightened or loosened to adjust the angle of the router to the work. The 2"x4" that this is bolted to needs to be beveled on this edge by 2 degrees:
An oval cam adjusts the arm to an approximate height, to match the thickness of the plywood being cut.
A small spring holds the arm down, to keep the router bit in contact with the work:
My bench is 24" wide, so I made the jig that wide and added tabs on the end to slip down over the bench to secure it:
It provides a broad, flat surface to support larger panels as I trim them.
I've made a very basic SketchUp model, a starting point for your own version of this trimmer, if you choose to make one. It is modeled after the one above, and the measurements can be taken from it and changed to fit your size bench and router. It is available here:
You will need to download and install SketchUp to view these plans. SketchUp is free and available here:
This is a project that could save hours in time and frustration, if you find yourself with a lot of plywood edges to band. It's relatively easy to build from scrap material and common hardware, is easy to adjust and operates flawlessly. Too bad I didn't have this when I build the cabinets for my kitchen.
Thanks for reading,