Dying Plywood Edging

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Forum topic by qball posted 08-28-2012 01:59 PM 1713 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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49 posts in 3366 days

08-28-2012 01:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dying plywood edging

I am getting ready to undertake something similar to David Marks cherry and wenge corner shelf (link below). I am planning on using oak with some type of black dye for the plywood edging. I watched The Wood Wisphers Understanding Dyes video a few times now and I am wondering how deep do dyes typically penetrate the wood? My concern is that if I glue up the dyed edging to the plywood pieces I will sand threw when cleaning up the joints. I thought about tape, but since some of the pieces are curved I don’t see how I can tape up the plywood after the glue up to dye the edging since it’s kind of hard to get tape to follow a curve. There’s also the issue of the dye bleeding threw the tape. I really want to achieve the look of the ebonized edging using the oak but I’m just not quite sure how to pull it off. Any ideas?

2 replies so far

View ChrisK's profile


2017 posts in 3321 days

#1 posted 08-28-2012 02:52 PM

Looking at the design in the link, the edge banding should take the curve quite nicely. What kind of banding are wanting to use? I just purchased red oak banding for a project and it came rolled on a 6” diameter. How tight are you bends? I do not have a lot of experience with dye so I can not speak to the sanding thru issue.

-- Chris K

View Roswell's profile


77 posts in 2558 days

#2 posted 09-06-2012 07:02 PM

My hands are dyed with a water-based aniline dye as I type this, and it’s been a pretty fun learning experience. Let me make a couple of suggestions for attacking this one. Something I just learned yesterday: give yourself something to sand. Meaning: dye and finish your edge banding prior to installing. If you get the finish thick enough, you can lightly sand your glue without sanding through the dye. Dyes don’t penetrate that deep.

You don’t really have to completely finish the banding prior to glue-up if you want, you can just put a waterproof seal coat on top of the dye to fix it in place, and then any squeeze out won’t absorb the dye. Also, be aware that dyes will not penetrate most glue. So even if you get a small smear on something and wipe it off, it will prevent the dye from penetrating into the wood and thus look funny.

If I were doing it, I’d try to stain and seal/finish the edge banding prior to installation. Once the glue got slightly firm, but not yet hard, I’d use a cabinet scraper to shave it off rather than smear it. If for some reason you must dye the edge banding after you install it, you can apply the dye with a thin rag wrapped around your finger with darn good precision. Another technique to minimize the glue headache would be to tilt the project back at about a 45, and ensure that as you apply the edge banding, the force of application causes the glue to come out the bottom of the banding, and run under towards the shelf itself.

Another option I’ve never explored: use the veneer edge banding that you apply with an iron rather than glue.
As someone here told me, there’s a lot of good information on finishing at Charles Neil's website

This is just my .02, and I probably should get some change back, but good luck. I think that project is going on my to-do list.

-- _Never argue with an idiot. They'll just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience_

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