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How to finish the edge of plywood

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Forum topic by Andrew posted 985 days ago 10330 views 0 times favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Andrew

285 posts in 1002 days


985 days ago

I am planning to make a varation of CDavy’s plywood toybox. I don’t think he’s active on the site, so I thought I’d ask here.

How do I go about finishing the exposed plywood edges. I’d just glue a strip of wood to the edge, but the curve would make it difficult. Do I just get a thin strip of wood and glue it? Or is it possible to get the edge smooth enough? I’ll be painting, not staining.

Also – i am a beginner. What’s the best way to do the joinery? I own a router and a biscuit joiner. Or should i just screw it together and plug the holes with wood filler, since it’ll be painted anyway?

Here’s a pic of the box:

Thanks

-- Andrew - Albany. NY


37 replies so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3336 posts in 1829 days


#1 posted 985 days ago

That’s not how I would do it…....there’s a better way…...

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

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Andrew

285 posts in 1002 days


#2 posted 985 days ago

Which is, Rick?!

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

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TCCcabinetmaker

925 posts in 990 days


#3 posted 985 days ago

Either cut square pannels and attach curved wood to them, or Make it outa solid wood is what I’d guyess Rick is thinking.

Not really a good way to finish the edge of plywood unless you want to do alot of puttying and extra coats of paint.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7686 posts in 2687 days


#4 posted 985 days ago

ALL OK here.

Nothing abnormal…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3336 posts in 1829 days


#5 posted 984 days ago

Nope…..sorry TCCcabinetmaker…you missed it too…...

What I would use is iron-on edge banding…It’s easy to use, and covers all the exposed edges of raw plywood….even on curves like the toybox. It comes in 25’ rolls, and you can either get it at woodworking suppliers like Rockler, Woodworkers Supply, Lowes, or Home Depot. It has glue already on the back, and comes in widths of 3/4”—13/16ths”.....The ply wood today is not 3/4” wide, so the 3/4” banding should work. Go to Google and look up applying edge-banding. There’s a video on how to apply it….cut off the length you need, pre-heat the iron on cotton setting, and start applying it by ironing it on, making sure it sticks down good…don’t stay too long in one spot….you’ll scorch the banding. It’ll work on curves, straight, and rounded curves. Once you get a strip ironed on, let it cool for about a minute, and take a J-roller, or a small block of wood and press it down making sure the banding has stuck down good…..trim off the edges where needed. Do that all the way around the project till you’ve covered all the exposed edges….just take your time and do it right. Once all the edges are covered, go back and sand off or file the over-hanging edges flush with the plywood..it comes off easily once cooled. Be sure to “butt up” all the edges where the banding meets…..Once all the edges are cleaned up, and checked, you’re ready to paint…I build custom furniture, and have used edge-banding on all exposed plywood edges….especially on carcusses and drawers (sometimes ), but most times I use hardwood edging on all drawer faces….Nearly all of the cabinets in my shop have edge banding on them…even drawers…..I’ve used hundreds of feet of this stuff, and it works…you can stain it, paint it, or just leave it natural, but in your case, just paint it…..that’s it…piece of cake….One thing I would suggest: make a couple of test pieces since you’ve never used it before….figure out how it works first before tackling your project…...good luck….

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3336 posts in 1829 days


#6 posted 984 days ago

On the joinery…..since all you have is a router and biscuit jointer, I’d just use butt joints…Glue it and screw it and paint it (once all the edges are covered). If you had other tools….?

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7686 posts in 2687 days


#7 posted 984 days ago

If you had a band saw, you could make your own iron-on edging…

Joint (plane or sand) edge of long solid piece of wood.
Cut 1/16” strip off edge.
Joint (plane or sand) the edge again.
Cut 1/16” strip again… for as much as you need (want).

Spread a very thin even coat of TTB III to the cut edges and let dry completely.

Apply with iron just as you would the normal strip material designed for iron-on applying.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3336 posts in 1829 days


#8 posted 984 days ago

Joe,
I don’t think he has a bandsaw..just the tools he mentioned. That’s why I suggested the iron-on edge banding…...but you idea is certainly notiable…..:)

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

View OnlyJustME's profile

OnlyJustME

1562 posts in 1012 days


#9 posted 984 days ago

With a router and a straight edge you could use rabbits and dados to help lock the pieces together and then glue and screw it.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Rick's profile

Rick

6454 posts in 1667 days


#10 posted 984 days ago

What the “Other Rick” said! “Piece Of Cake” is right! Method he’s explained Very Well covers it ALL.

It’s the ONLY way I go with this. I can buy it UP here at Home Depot as short as 9/10 Feet up to 25 Foot Rolls in, I THINK 2/3 different Widths and 3/4 different species of wood. Also Vinyl. Stain it or Paint it (wood).

I use the Same Iron I use to Press my Pants and Shirts (Live Alone… POOP!) no harm to it at all. You can also buy an Oval Shaped Hot Iron designed for the Job.

Just out of Curiosity, last year I Glued (only) a 6” piece on a flat piece of Ply just to see if it would stick without Ironing, using regular Carpenters Glue. Not Instant as in Ironing but 2 days later NO WAY it would come off! Sharp Chisel needed to get it off.

Not sure what that proves, other than if the Power goes off you can still “DO IT!”. The Wood Banding Also. ..LOL…

-- COMMON SENSE Is Like Deodorant. The People Who need It Most, Never Use It.

View Andrew's profile

Andrew

285 posts in 1002 days


#11 posted 984 days ago

Wow thanks for all the responses! I guess I’m getting some edge banding…

As for the joiner, Rick you said “If I had other tools…” Which other tools did you have in mind? What’s the best way to do the joinery? Maybe it’s a good excuse to buy something.

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1709 days


#12 posted 984 days ago

I’ll offer a minority opinion here. If you are going to paint it – why worry about the edges at all? We put edges on plywood to hide the edge “grain”. The paint will do that, especially if you put on a second coat (maybe 3 coats on the edges). You can sand that edge quite smooth. Another option is MDF. With it you can get a very smooth edge.

You also asked about joinery. On simple boxes like this, my first choice would normally be pocket screws but screws don’t hold very well in plywood (or MDF). I would probably do a simple butt joint and secure it with dowels. The picture below is not of plywood, but you can see the dowels securing the joints. I think dowelling like this would give you a pretty solid joint in plywood (or MDF). FYI – this was one of my “no hardware” projects until the recipients put a metal plaque on it saying “made by Uncle Rich – 2009”

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1867 days


#13 posted 984 days ago

IF I were doing a paint grade project, and wanted to say hide any gaps or imperfections in the edge grain of plywood, I would fill the edge with wood filler, sand smooth, and then prime, sand, paint etc… Especially for a curved edge, that is about the easiest way I can think to do it… However, don’t try this if you are staining it, it’ll never look right…

On the joinery, I agree with richgreer, dowelled butt joints have served me exceedingly well when working with plywood boxes. Screws tend to blow out in ply and MDF…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Andrew's profile

Andrew

285 posts in 1002 days


#14 posted 984 days ago

Do I need a dowel jig to do dowels? Or can I just screw through both? I also have a drill press (as of last night). What about using biscuits (the poster of that project said he used glued rabbits and biscuits).

Or what about butt-joints with just countersunk screws & wood filler?

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2799 posts in 1878 days


#15 posted 984 days ago

Being this is a toy box, I wouldn’t use iron-on-tape. The tape is too easily ripped off . Paint would be more permanent.

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