Adding edge banding to a piece of plywood

When I make Euro-style cabinets, I generally use 1/4-in. thick edge banding. But getting this thin edge banding consistently bonded to the edge of a carcass piece can be dicey.

Because it’s thin, you can’t just put on a clamp or two and hope the pressure spreads throughout the banding. And if you don’t get uniform pressure on the banding, you’ll have spots where it’s “gappy,” creating a visually obvious glue joint. Here are a couple of solutions to this problem.

Taping down edge banding for glue-up

Instead of clamps, use masking tape to hold the banding in place. One piece of tape every 2 to 3 inches does a great job of binding the banding to the board. Pull on the tape as you apply it, stretching it over the banding and on to the carcass. You’ll be amazed at how much pressure you can get from the tape.

Clamping edge banding to plywood during glue-up

If you’re banding a couple of pieces you can use them as cauls, working against each other. With glue applied to the banding, position the banded edges against each other and tighten the clamps. Watch the banding to make sure it doesn’t slip out of alignment. This setup works best with narrow carcass parts.