Finishing Wood Edge-Banding

Advice on applying finish to edgebanding, or to already edge-banded parts, without a spray setup. January 27, 2008

In the past I've put wood edge banding on any melamine parts that would show outside the cabinet (frameless). Then when I finished all parts before assembly it was a simple matter to stack the parts and, with a bit of masking, spray the whole stack. I have downsized my operation and now rent booth space from another shop. With a large project I really don't want to move all those parts to his shop and back, so I am looking for an alternative method.

Considered pre-finished banding, but won't it be raw where I trim it? Does that work? How about a PVC edge band? Does it really look good enough when I charge thousands of dollars for a room full of maple cabinets?

The current project is natural maple. I have a sample chain from Fastcap, but the samples are so small that I really can't tell if it looks good. Perhaps somebody has a method to finish the banding without spraying. Thanks!

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
If it's natural maple cabinetry, that's the easiest - you buy pre-finished edgebanding and you're done. The edges, once cut, won't have any finish, but that's not really noticeable. I suppose if you wanted to, you could use a rag with a little wipe-on finish to just hit the edges quick.

I can't help you if it's stain grade, as I use all ply construction. And as to whether or not PVC looks good, that's up to you and your clients. It doesn't look good enough to me, but I'm not giving you any money.

From contributor B:
Some of the PVC banding looks quite nice (behind doors), maple being one of them. Other woods, not so nice, red oak being an example. I have never found a white oak or cvg fir in PVC that looks nice, so I do as you - stack and spray. For no more than you are doing, I don't see why a rattle can and no booth wouldn't be okay.

From the original questioner:
Well, there are a lot of parts! 9 floor to ceiling cabinets plus others. I may try a touch up gun with the door open, but was asking if the PVC or pre-finished would do the trick. I guess I will buy some of both.

It will all be behind doors except the gaps, but I don't want any reaction from the customer. I will take another look at their brand new expensive kitchen. My stuff has to be as good. Thanks for the response. It is good to know the experience of others. I have been at this many years, but never tried or even noticed PVC or pre-finished before.

From contributor E:
Believe it or not, Rockler carries a wipe-on poly we use. It goes on pretty fast and two coats gives a nice build. By the time my guy has gone through the stack, it is dry enough to start the second coat, so one person can do a whole kitchen in a couple of hours. You just have to keep it off the pre-finished ply or keep another rag with some solvent to wipe the pre-fin down.

From contributor A:
I use waterbased (WB) finishes whenever I have to finish anything inside of a cabinet - shelves, interior parts, and edgebanding (EB). I switched to WB for all interior finishing (when not using pre-finished material) because there is no residual odor inside of the cabinet, the cleanup is easy, etc. There are a number of suitable WB finishes. I use Hood Finishing's Hydrocote Resisthane because it's inexpensive and works well. I've applied it both with a fiber and sponge type applicator (the type used to apply WB to floors) and HVLP spray. If you've got lots of edges to finish, stack them up, open the door (if you don't have a spray booth), spray, and wipe off any overspray with a damp sponge. This works well when the EB needs to be stained or painted to match the doors and trim (if the client doesn't like the look of light birch or maple peeking through from behind darkly finished fronts). Two coats work well on EB. Otherwise, the pre-finished EB works fine.