Intro: Edgebander (Edgebanding Machine) - for Laminate or Veneers
Edgebanders start at around $300 and run up into the thousands.
This project cost me nothing and saved me hours.
Edgebanding can be boring tedious work, especially when you have hundreds of board feet to band. I made this edgebander when I was making a shelving system for a new walk-in closet and had literally hundreds of feet to band.
Step 1: Parts List/materials
Iron (I had an old one laying around)
Sheet of birch plywood or anything with a smooth surface. ( I used mostly birch ply that was left over from another project)
Screws (I used old drywall screws from the gutting of the closet)
Make a plan, your iron will most likely be a different shape than mine. I didn't get too granular with the instructions here. You are basically taking two boards and screwing them together perpendicularly to form an L. You want this L to be long enough to support the average length of board that you will be banding. Mine is 30" long and 8" deep. Most of the boards I was banding were about 24"x16" or at most 16" deep. Cut out a section of the upright part of the L for your iron. I also cut an angled slit for the banding to feed from the spool.
The bottom board should have an 1/8" gap to allow the edgeband to overlap the board edge. See Close up photo. This can be created with a dado on a table saw or use a router, you could also add a layer f ply when assembling the L to create this.
I created my bander at a tilt, so that I wasn't constantly hunched over when operating at average counter height. You can also choose to create yours flat.
After creating the L, I cut pieces of wood with and angle at one end to create the tilt, I then mounted the pieces to a larger board (about 36" x 12") and then mounted the L to these.
You want the work surface to be soft and smooth, I used birch ply that was sanded with a find sand paper such as 200 grit or more. You can also use MDF or laminate for your work surfaces, or you can cover with un-textured laminate (Formica) Make sure you countersink any screws used directly on the work surface, fill and sand holes.
Place your iron on it's side in the section you cut out for this. I cut several pieces of wood to hold the iron in place, you may need some shims to adjust the angle of the iron face, use a framing square to check your angles.
The out feed section of the L (the upright section after the iron) should be long enough to allow the banding to cool after it passes the iron, it should also be sturdy enough to press the banding firmly into the wood. One idea that I didn't implement, was to add 2 or 3 rubber wheels to the out feed side.
I added a small platform with a large dowel to hold the banding spool.
Step 2: Use It
I used squeeze clamps to secure the bander to my work table.
Turn on the iron to medium heat (no steam)
Feed the band from the spool to the start of the iron face.
Press the edge of your board into the band and slowly push your work piece forward. You will get quite good at judging the speed at which you need to move your work piece, obviously to don't want to burn your banding. When the glue backing on the edgebanding begins to bubble, it's had enough, speed up or slow down your feed according to this.
I keep a pair of scissors, sharp box cutter or xacto knife nearby to cut the banding when the end of your piece has passed the iron.
I have used my edgebander to band hundreds a feet for a large shelving system. It works quite well.