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Plywood Edging Bits

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Unlike the other edge-banding bit sets we looked at, the barrelshaped PlyPrep bit doesn't create male and female workpieces. Instead, it cuts a shallow cove into the edge of a plywood panel. Because of the cove, you can "clamp" the banding with mere masking tape: Glue causes the panel's interior plys to swell to meet the banding, creating a tight-fitting joint.

To use the bit, set it up in your router table so the groove in the center of the bit aligns with the center ply of the plywood. Then, adjust your fence so the top edge of the plywood just intersects the cutter. This allows the bit to remove little (if any) of the plywood's outer veneers. Solid-wood banding can now be glued to the freshly cut edge.

  • Because the plys swell to meet the banding, we found we could successfully "clamp" the banding onto the plywood with only masking tape, yet still achieve a tight seam between the banding and plywood.
  • Fast setup: You prepare the joints with one bit -- no bit changes or fussy height adjustments needed.
  • You can rout an edge treatment, such as a chamfer, bullnose, or round-over, on the solid-wood banding.
  • The dimensions of the plywood panel equal the "short" (heel-to-heel) dimensions of the banding for making mitered corners when banding all four edges.

  • Color and grain differences between the plywood veneer and the solidwood banding can detract from the seamless look.
  • Panels must be cut undersize to account for the thickness of the banding.
  • If you don't center the bit properly on the plywood's thickness, the bit may remove too much material at the top or bottom edge, causing your banding to tilt slightly up or down.
  • Not available for 1/2" plywood.

The bottom line on edge-banding bits

If you're looking for a fast, clampless way to band panels, the PlyPrep bit does the job, and for not a lot of money. It's also the best option for panels that you want to wrap completely in banding and show no end grain. Gotta have that seamless look? Then opt for a set of Edge V-groove bits. Remember, though, that these bits work best on shelving and other workpieces where you want banding on only one edge or two opposite edges because mitering corners is a hit-or-miss process.

©Copyright Meredith Corporation 2005


Comments (9)
dalegj37 wrote:

When making picture frames from barn wood siding, I first use strips cut from the edges of the barn wood plank. However, the remaining center part of each plank has raw edges that need to be covered or the wood is wasted. Can this method of covering plywood edges be used to cover the edges of the barn wood planks center wood?

5/4/2013 03:01:33 PM Report Abuse
Rich J. wrote:

I use the tongue and groove bits for my projects, took a little trial and error to figure out, but they work fine. I usually cut the edging first then figure the final sizing of the plywood panel. This seems to save me some time.

4/7/2012 06:55:29 AM Report Abuse
Joe J T wrote:

To cut strips for edging, I start with a board, milled approx the same thickness as the panel, center the router bit to cut a v-strip. I then rip off the v-strip outside the blade at the table saw. I use my jointer, router table set up as jointer, or a hand plane and sand paper to trim the edges after gluing into the panel

4/5/2012 04:35:07 PM Report Abuse
Joe J T wrote:

To set up, I insert the v-cutting bit in the router table and I raise it to the center of the panel thickness. I use the bit to score a line at the midpoint, then flip the panel over and check that the bit is at the same level as the score. Next I set the fence by gradually moving it back until it is cutting a sharp edge on the top and bottom of the panel.

4/5/2012 04:28:52 PM Report Abuse
Joe J T wrote:

I have used this set for about a year and am very happy with the results. It creates a durable and invisible (my preference) edge One of the "cons" mentioned is the problem when trimming the panel to final size and making a 1/64" oops and ruining the panel. I cut the panel to final size before I cut the. I leave the edging proud and trim it back to the veneer or the face of the plywood. By the way, the panel is not ruined: simply run it over the v-cutter again and insert a new edge

4/5/2012 04:24:47 PM Report Abuse
winterseliza wrote:

It sounds like this could be one of the harder router bit sets to use. I found one here ( ) that looks somewhat easier to use. What do you guys think? I'm buying it as a gift for my husband. What set should I get? Thanks for your help.

11/10/2011 12:43:29 PM Report Abuse
plpercar wrote:

I bought this set and couldn't figure out how to get it to work proerly. It kept getting very wavy on me. I went through a lot of wood trying to master it but finally gave up!

4/16/2010 01:04:28 PM Report Abuse
stevied12 wrote:

No mention of a 60 degree tongue and groove? I've used that on a few projects (with the banding emphasized instead of hidden) and it works very nicely. It is very similar to the v-groove, but when used with a flush trim bit gives very nice results. Plus, it gives a stronger joint than any of those mentioned in this article.

4/8/2010 05:29:54 PM Report Abuse
keithlarsn wrote:

I used hardwood "V" strips to cover the edges of hardwood-veneer plywood on a large armoire. I used my tablesaw to cut all the bevels, both in the plywood edges and on the hardwood. I cut the bevels on the solid hardwood board edge before ripping the strip off. It was a lot of work but it came out really nice. I used a sacrificial fence and a good blade on my tablesaw for the "V" groove work. A good tablesaw and fence is a must, I'm sure for the tolerances to work.

4/8/2010 11:24:14 AM Report Abuse

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