Edgebander Options

Cabinetmakers discuss the advantages of different edgebanding materials and equipment. September 21, 2005

I am wondering about the small hot air tabletop edgebanders. We build face frame cabinets and for the most part only band shelf edges. We currently use a household iron. I see they are only a few hundred dollars. If they are worth it, what is a good brand to get? Any help is appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor B:
Sure, they are two or three times faster than using an iron. They can't do PVC, and melamine edgebanding isn't the greatest, but the can apply real wood edging.

From contributor A:
We are a small face frame shop as well. I recently picked up a table top edgebander from Woodworkers Supply. It's a nice tool for just over $200. The tape guides are better than the Freud. I bought it for the sole purpose of applying pre-finished tape for shelves and it works great.

From contributor S:
The pre-glued edgebanding is a polyester material or real wood. Hot air melts the pre-glued side just as an iron does. PVC edgebanding is not pre-glued. This type of edgebanding that comes in different thicknesses is used with the nicer edgebanders with glue pots. However you can purchase a PVC peel and stick egdgebanding. I have not been too impressed with the quality of the adhesive used with the peel and stick, and it can also be expensive.

From contributor F:
Pre-glued PVC is available, but has a short shelf life. PVC also distorts if the machine uses hot bar technology and has a memory that the smaller machines are really not able to deal with successfully. The best results from tabletop machines are with pre-glued polyester or melamine and wood veneer edging.

From contributor H:
Don't beat yourself up - if this is the only edge banding you do, I would suggest buying plastic snap-on – it’s very durable and fast. I buy it from Charles McMurray Co. comes in 12' lengths cost less than 20 cents/foot. P400-34TAN comes in white, tan and walnut

From contributor B:
Years ago I used a hot air edgebander and melamine tape. I thought it was pretty good - until I popped for a real edgebander and started using PVC. Compared to PVC, melamine banding seemed ridiculously brittle and easy to chip. Then I discovered 1mm PVC (instead of the standard .5mm stuff) – wow. 1mm PVC is the bomb works very well. It is very durable and has that look of quality customers can see.

From contributor J:
I wouldn’t suggest spending your money on one of the tabletop edgebanders. They never saved me any time over a good vice, iron, wood block, trimmers and sanding block. The big problem is they don't trim the stuff and they require too much set-up and adjustment. Stay small or go big.

From contributor D:
I recently purchased the Freud table top edgebander and found it to be quicker than the iron. I am just starting to build boxes at home and found the quality of the pre-glued edgebanding I have used so far to be poor. The edgebander has worked great, but the melamine material does chip easily on the ends. This is not from the machine, but from handling the boards before trimming. For shelves I find the table top to be great. For box edging it is fair and for door edging it is poor. I am still trying out new methods and material. I have not tried the wood material yet.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor R:
I build fixtures/cabinets and have a Freud hot air edger and it is really a great way to apply all types of edgebanding (PVC, melamine, and wood). The edging that I prefer is PVC, because it is durable and suits my purpose. I have edged over 500,000 feet with it. I can get some PVC colors pre-glued but the ones I can't, the place where I buy it sends it out to get glue put on it. It is not that expensive for just your common colors. It does require different heat settings according to the climate when applying the amount of glue, or the type of edging itself. Once it is set, it works great.