Plywood and melamine-coated particleboard have plenty of advantages over solid stock, but you do need to cover their unsightly edges.
The easy way to dress up the edges of sheet goods. Plywood and melamine-coated particleboard have plenty of advantages over solid stock, but you do need to cover their unsightly edges. In our shop, adhesive-backed edge banding does the trick splendidly -- and doesn't require any special tools.
Edge banding comes in species to match most hardwood plywoods including birch, cherry, mahogany, red oak, walnut, and white oak. It's also available in white, black, and almond shades of polyester plastic for edging melamine-coated particleboard. You'll most commonly find it in 13/16"-wide strips (for 3/4" sheet goods) in lengths of 8', 50', or 250'. This wood-veneer or plastic "tape" is backed with a hot-melt adhesive that forms a tough bond with plywood or particleboard edges. If you don't find it at your local home center, call the sources listed at the end of this article.
Edge-banding's advantage over solid-wood edging We've found commercially made edge banding to be easier to work with, faster to install, and better-looking than solid-wood edging that we make in our own shop. That's because commercial edge banding requires no clamping, produces no glue squeeze-out, and is less noticeable than solid strips that are 1/4"-or-so thick. You can even apply edge banding to curved edges -- try doing that with solid strips! And edge banding holds up great so long as it's applied properly.