Edge-Banding for Prefinished Plywood

Cabinetmakers discuss the advantages of various edge treatments for prefinished plywood. July 9, 2005

I currently use 3/4 birch plywood for all of my cases and clear coat after the edging is applied. I am exploring the use of pre-finished plywood. On shelves I use iron-on wood edging. How do you guys who use pre-finish plywood do your edging on shelves? Do you iron on and then touch up the edging, or use the stick-on pre-finished stuff. For euro cabs, I plan on using edging to match the doors and brushing or spraying the edging to match. Any help is appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor W:
We use only PF 3/4 for our boxes. We use PVC tape from Canplast that very closely matches our finishes. They have hundreds of stock colors. We use an automatic edge-bander for all edging.

From contributor M:
I use a lot of pre-finished maple and I buy pre-finished to match iron-on tape. I have no doubt that they make birch the same way. Right now I am paying $50 for a 250' roll, it’s not cheap - but well worth it to not have to finish it.

From contributor J:
To Contributor M: I haven’t seen pre-finished iron-on tape. Does the heat not harm the finish?

From contributor E:
I know that using pre-finished plywood made my life a lot easier. Something that I have seen done to speed up time and make it look better is a thin piece of trim nailed on the front of the shelf. It is pre-finished and can be done quickly. I still use the method of the tape that I have to stain because I am a small business and save money when I can. I am curious about the pre-finished tape though.

From contributor M:
To Contributor J: No it doesn’t hurt the tape - as long as you keep the iron moving. It really doesn’t take much to bond either.

From contributor P:
Pre-finished edge-banding is sold for every species that comes in pre-finished sheet stock. In the past, I have strictly used this, but last year switched over to PVC edge-banding. We use an automatic edge-bander to apply the edge-banding.

At first I had a big aversion to using plastic, but it actually works great and has a much lower failure rate. Also with real wood edge-banding, when the edge-banding is trimmed to the sheet stock, the edge of the banding is a slightly different color because it doesn't have finish on it. The PVC doesn't have this problem. Also, if you are hand trimming the edge-banding, the PVC is less problematic because it has no grain pattern to tear out.