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Thread: Is there an easy way to trim hardwood glued to plywood edges?

  1. #1
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    Is there an easy way to trim hardwood glued to plywood edges?

    I'm struggling with edging plywood, and hoping someone can give me some guidance. I have several projects going that use walnut veneered plywood. I glued walnut strips onto the edges so I could hide the plywood edge. I made my walnut strips 1/4" thick and 7/8" wide, so I could trim it flush after gluing it on, then add a small corner radii. My first idea was to trim it with a flush trim router bit, and I struggled to hold the router square on the 3/4" thick plywood. Then I had the idea to sand it flush with my drum sander. This worked a little better than the router, but it wasn't great, because any slight warp in the plywood, and the drum sander sands right through the veneer. Then I made a right angle block to clamp to the panel to help support the router and keep it square while using the flush trim bit. I haven't used this yet, but it seems fiddly to say the least. Is there an easy fool proof way to trim the overhang off the edges and get it as close to flush with the plywood sides?

  2. #2
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    I have had good results by setting up 2 pieces of the plywood together with space in between for the router bit. The 2 pieces can be spaced to support the router trimming each edge but not so far apart it falls between them.

    Finish with an ROS careful not to sand the veneer much.

  3. #3
    If you want to do it right lipping tool is the one but it costs coin. There are other set ups you can do on a shaper or table saw. Lipping tool once set up is fast and accurate.

  4. #4
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    Cut the strips narrower. Like about 1/16" at the most wider than your edge and use a card scraper.

  5. #5
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    Woodsmith magazine had a very useful jig to hold a router parallel to the surface of the sheet goods. I can't find a picture of the one I made at the moment, but I can take one if you are interested. It took an hour or two to make it, but I've had it now for at least 10 years and it works great. Because it's hand held it allows you to climb cut, too, which eliminates tear out.

    John

  6. #6
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    Table saw cuts close enough to sand.

    ShelfTrim1.jpgShelfTrim2.jpg
    "Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.Ē
    Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)

    "Quality means doing it right when no one is looking."
    Henry Ford

  7. #7
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    Michael, fantastic idea on the second piece of plywood spaced out. Iíll give it a try.

    Warren, Iíve never heard of a lipping tool, but Iím going to check it out.

    Mike, great idea with the card scraper. After getting these strips glued on, I immediately regretted the amount of stock I left. I used rockler bandy clamps to hold the edging in place, and it worked really good. With less overhang material, I think it still would have been fine. I have a couple smaller planes I considered trying to use to flush it up, but I chickened out due to my inexperience.

    John, I would love to see a picture or 2 when you have time to snap them.

    Thank you to all of you. You have restored my enthusiasm about getting this done.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Pfenning View Post
    I'm struggling with edging plywood, and hoping someone can give me some guidance. I have several projects going that use walnut veneered plywood. I glued walnut strips onto the edges so I could hide the plywood edge. I made my walnut strips 1/4" thick and 7/8" wide, so I could trim it flush after gluing it on, then add a small corner radii. My first idea was to trim it with a flush trim router bit, and I struggled to hold the router square on the 3/4" thick plywood. Then I had the idea to sand it flush with my drum sander. This worked a little better than the router, but it wasn't great, because any slight warp in the plywood, and the drum sander sands right through the veneer. Then I made a right angle block to clamp to the panel to help support the router and keep it square while using the flush trim bit. I haven't used this yet, but it seems fiddly to say the least. Is there an easy fool proof way to trim the overhang off the edges and get it as close to flush with the plywood sides?
    This is what I did and it worked for me. The others ideas should also work.

  9. #9
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    You can also do it on a router table running the edge banded side down. Use a fence with a rabbet on the bottom that will clear the overhanging edge banding. The fence is set flush with the bearing on a flush trimming bit. A tall fence helps balance wide pieces.

  10. #10
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    Here's a William Ing video that demonstrates Tony's idea. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AddH8IgL7wY

  11. #11
    There are 20 ways to do that, depends on how much you are doing, a hand plane is fine even but its slow.

    go to 6:30. With a lipping planer you just walk down the board and its flush. Decent a size head radius so doesnt break out. There is very little to do to clean up the typical knife marks you get from a thickness planer. I still stroke sand the panel after but there is no material removal as its flush. If you work to a laminate surface you leave a small amount and trim it off with a chisel rather than running the blades over the laminate. Large shops had tool guys who made custom set ups by modifying different brands of machines.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pheAIcaAI_8

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Garson View Post
    Here's a William Ing video that demonstrates Tony's idea. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AddH8IgL7wY

    Good video! As an after thought, you need a good sharp blade (as mentioned in the video) for this method to work best.

    Tony
    "Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things easily.Ē
    Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805)

    "Quality means doing it right when no one is looking."
    Henry Ford

  13. #13
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    The trim router is a good way to do this, but you have to make a much larger base to provide the support you need to keep it level as you run it down the edge just a proverbial hair higher than the plywood veneer surface. You will never be able to control it well with the stock size base.You don't use a flush trim bit...you use a normal straight plunge bit since the router is going to rest on the broader surface of the plywood.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    williams way falls short with inconsistencies in the straightness of some plywood.

    the lipping planer rides on the wood and follows it.

    Even so here is his result, besides more clean up from a saw blade compared to the planer hes not even flush on a short board and has cut into the veneer.

    Capture.JPG
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 01-19-2021 at 9:41 PM.

  15. #15
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    Nov 2009
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    Peoria, IL
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    The easiest way is to make the hardwood edging about 3/16" thick. Then any means of flushing it up is extremely easy. Often just a card scraper. If it has a profile on it, I make the edging about 1/8" wider than the profile. Then rout the profile before flushing it up. That way you only have 1/8" to trim to the plywood. When it's flush with the plywood, run the profile cutter around it again.
    Last edited by Richard Coers; 01-19-2021 at 10:45 PM.

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