Do Edgebanders Provide Perfect Output?

Few, if any edgebanders will consistently produce panels that can pass your thumb's feel test and none will without continual tending by a good operator. December 27, 2006

I have an older SCMI basic 2 edge bander. I still have to do some filing, etc. Is there an edge bander that, when the panel comes out, it's 100%? What does a scraper and buffer station help accomplish? I am looking at a Holz-Her 1432 SE for 10K. Is this a good deal?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
I don't know if the Holz-Her is a good deal or not. I have an SCMI Selecta D. At other shops I have worked at, we had edgebanders ranging from a top-of-the-line Biesse to some POS no name thing. In all instances, everything came off finished. It is all about the operator and how well maintained the machine is. Depending on what edgebander you have now, if it is paid for, you may be able to afford some repairs. 10K probably won't buy you much of a machine unless it is a new, stripped down edgebander. The scraper and buffer are for doing 3mm and are invaluable. I have a heater on mine also, Leister, that is essentially a heat gun on steroids and heats the panel before going to the buffer station, leaving a smooth as glass edge. If you don't do 3mm or hardwood edging, a new 10K bander wouldn't be a bad thing. But 10K on a used bander will get you a lot of options. I can't find any info on the Holz-Her you asked about other than a couple of photos, but it doesn't look big enough to have all the bells and whistles. But it is all about what you need.

From contributor L:
I looked at edgebanders at IWF. I had most of them run a panel that I had a strip cut off of, and carried these home. I assume the techs had all the machines dialed in for the show and the machines did as good a job as you could have hoped for. I had lots of people look at the samples and asked opinions and found two that did a much better job than the rest.

For a hot air machine, the Mini-Max ME-15 did a fantastic job. A very close second to the best job. The best machine was the Cheisa Pro. I think it was the 8. It ran either 24k or 32k. I know it would run shop made hardwood edgeband. It's a glue pot machine. Anyway, those two machines were far better than the rest of the machines. Noticeable quality difference of finished product. I would consider both machines to have a 100% finished edge when they came off the machines. Those were the only two.

From contributor P:
I have a Mini Max ME 15. It does a great job of applying the tape, after I figured out how to fine tune it. But I still have to scrape off a little of the chips on both sides. I do that simply with a 4" razor blade on a handle, from the local hardware store. A sharp chisel, wide, would probably also work.

I go to the 5 setting for pvd, to create about 420 degrees on the dial. I spray Teflon spray on all parts that the tape will touch... brass channel, finger before it, plate before it. Before doing that, the tape would often foul up after just a few boards passed through it.

From contributor M:
Just understand that no edgebander comes with that technician sighting down, fondling and stroking those panels as they come off the bander. You'll have to do that yourself.

From contributor R:
Contributor A's response is good. I would second his doubts about the value of a 10K machine that sold new for over 40. I suspect it has been rode hard and put up wet. If you don't know, then stay clear unless you have a qualified Holz Her tech to go over it. I wouldn't buy any used bander without a good look-over by an unbiased tech. They are extremely complicated machines; you wouldn't know one end from the other. Holz Hers are good machines, but if you don't see it run with your own eyes, walk away. And just seeing it run a few pieces wouldn't necessarily tell you anything.

P.S. You should never need to touch a piece that comes out of a well tuned bander except to put it in the rack.

From contributor Z:
We recently bought a brand new 1310-6 Holz-Her edgebander for 25K. It is an excellent machine. Instead of a glue pot, it has glue cartridges which heat up fast and are not messy. Also has a PLC unit that has a friendly user interface and is easy to learn and operate. Plus it can be upgraded by adding other stations such as rounding unit and a return unit.

Edgebanders are pretty complex machines and if not running properly, they will drive you nuts. We had bought a used Cehisa edgebander before and it was, let's say, very moody, and it drove us nuts.

Like everyone else, I'll recommend that you have it checked by a qualified tech. If you can afford a little extra or are willing to lease, I would put that money towards a new machine. You don't have to get one with a computerized interface. Also check out Felder - they have a compact edgebander which is pretty inexpensive.

From contributor T:
When we have the machine dialed in properly, they look great. Holz-Her 1411. The scraper is only used on 3mm PVC radius edged stuff. We run the buffers on half-mil PVC also, but not the scraper.

Here is some food for thought. Do you want a glue pot or a cartridge machine? Our 1411 is a cartridge machine and is hot-to-trot in about 3-4 minutes. Most glue pots I've seen take a lot longer to heat up. The cartridge machines are a lot cleaner I've observed also - no stuff falling in the glue pot, dust, etc.

From contributor U:
It takes more than just a good machine to produce a perfect edged panel. Anyone who tells you that their machine always gives perfection also has gold to give away. Your thumb is a precision instrument and can feel .001" to .002" of an inch. We expect a machine to produce that finish. To achieve this consistently, you must start with the panel. Ideally, it must be freshly cut and not exposed to the open atmosphere for much more than 48 hours or the edge swells, and perfect copy of the edge is impossible. The squareness of the panel is just as important. If your material is being cut on a standard table saw, you can only expect to achieve a minimal degree of quality. Minimum equipment to cut your panel material is a slider or vertical saw that is correctly installed by factory personnel and properly maintained.

The edgebander is a big mechanical copy device. It copies four sides. Granted, some machines are better designed and if previously owned, some are in better condition than others.

100% finished product is possible to a point, but it takes planning and there is a cost involved to do it consistently. The operator must be a qualified person (trained) who is conscientious of his job and knows how to achieve his goal of a high quality product. It's sad to say that the industry has spent a lot more time selling the product than it has educating the market on how to properly use the product.