Entry-Level Edgebander Purchase

Advice on choosing an affordable but reliable and capable edgebander. March 5, 2008

I opened a closet organization company this year and have already expanded beyond my original business model. Originally, I was having various shops around town cut my jobs and I would install them. This no longer works due to the slow turnaround time and the inability to customize as I need. I recently set up a shop so that I can manufacture my own jobs. I have acquired all the equipment I need except an edgebander. I am on a very limited budget at the moment and need to find one for under $10,000 if I can. However, I do not want to save money now only to spend it in maintenance later. I know nothing about edgebander brands, but found new Lobo Machinery banders in my price range. Is this a good brand? Is there another brand that I could buy used that would last? Or are the horror stories about buying used not worth the savings?

Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor M:
Buying a used edgebander can save you a pile of money. But you need to have a wide knowledge of the machine and how it works before you buy one. They can be a sinking ship if you have to start throwing parts in. Good used machines are out there. If you are as busy as it sounds, you are not going to have time to get a used machine up and running. Buying a new one might be a better idea. Then you can get tech support and training. I am partial to Brandt edge banders.

From contributor L:
We've been running an IDM49 for quite a few years; its been very good. IDM is now part of SCM. A bander takes more care and knowledge than almost any other machine in the shop. Keep it clean, know how to adjust it properly, and it will last a long time.

Banders are one of the best paying machines in the shop. Get one that will do more than what you think you need, a little heavier made, true high frequency motors, scraping and buffing. The more pressure rollers it has, the better it will handle thicker banding. I've noticed that banders that claim to handle up to 3mm will struggle with it, but will run 2mm okay. You will want a machine that can control the glue well enough that you don't have to do any or very little hand clean up. The banding should come off the machine flush, rounded over, and clean.

Saving a little up front money can cost you a lot of labor down the road in filing and cleaning. Not only are higher feed speeds more productive of your time, but also the glue has less time to cool before the banding is pressed tight, so the bond is better. Many machines will have an optional hot air blower between the glue application roller and the first pressure roller to keep the temperature near where it should be. Place the machine away from cold drafts and keep the banding and board warm. They can be great machines if you approach them correctly.

From contributor J:

Exactly as contributor M says. I also have a horror story about my first (used) bander. With that behind me, I bought a new Brandt. By far the best investment I've made for my shop. I've become spoiled, and the rare few times I have had an issue (minor), my world stops and I realize just how much I have come to depend on its reliability. Tech support is a major thing to consider and Stiles has been extremely good about keeping me up and running. For sure, it's not a tablesaw where you can look underneath to see why something is not working right. When you've got an issue, and inevitably you will, it's essential to have access to a timely fix. It's worth working through the sticker shock with these.

From contributor C:
If you are spending anywhere near five hundred a month on edgebanding labor, you should look at a good glue pot machine - flexible, easy to change type of EB. It took me way too long to buy a new Brandt KDN210. Quick warm up, perfect results, even buffed, more capacity. Very worth the money. Call Stiles, the customer service has been excellent. They do not want your machine down at all and they make that clear. They even called back to see if all was working okay 30 minutes after a consult about an adjustment.

From contributor T:
Great advice - thanks. What would I expect to pay for a decent new bander? Sounds like Brandt is the way to go. What is a good model in their line that will easily control 3mm? Contributor L mentioned that a machine rated for 3mm will do 2mm well. Does this mean I need to get a 4mm machine to do 3mm? Is there such a thing as a 4mm?

From contributor P:
Lease it.

From contributor L:
Why lease? I've looked at leasing several times and can't see it. It has always added a layer of costs and nothing else. Work with your local bank if you need money for most anything. At least you have a better opportunity to get adjustments made in payments if needed. Do you have a credit line setup for your business?

From the original questioner:
We are working on a line of credit from our bank but won't have that until the end of the month. I am interested in the lease option. From my understanding, when you lease equipment, you don't own it, so if it breaks down, it is fixed by the leasing company. Are the repairs usually covered under the lease agreement, or do we have to pay for them? And what about the end of the lease - do you automatically own it, or is there a buy out?

From contributor R:
If you don't look at Holz-Her then you aren't looking very hard; no glue pot to go bad or clean out. The 1310/1315 are excellent machines. They'll handle 3mm no problem and some even have corner rounding - a nice touch in closets.

From contributor L:
You are responsible for the repairs. You usually have to make first and last payments up front. Typical lease is 60 months, but can be otherwise. You decide before you lease what end of lease option you want. In order for the government (IRS) to consider it a true lease the buyout has to be "fair market value." Otherwise your lease is considered a purchase and must be depreciated. As things now stand, a small business can take rapid depreciation on a purchase for up to a little over $100K as long as you have made enough profit to cover it. Any depreciation not used in the 1st year can be carried forward. This provision allows you to totally duck income taxes in many cases. If you aren't making a profit it has no benefit. If you are reasonably profitable it's usually a better deal than deducting your lease payments. Talk to your accountant. You may also need to ask how your state views lease payments versus purchases of capital equipment for sales tax purposes.