|Attaching Wood Edging to Plywood
|LAST WEEK'S TIP. Last week, I suggested
three different ways to hide the edges of a plywood panel with solid wood
edging. To read the tip, Click
Last week's tip dealt with different
ways to attach solid wood edging to plywood. (To
see this tip, click here.) But deciding how to align the edging is only the
first step. You also have to glue and clamp the edging to the plywood with even
clamping pressure so you don't end up with any gaps. Easier said than done.
Some plywood panels are pretty large, requiring long clamps or lots of them. So
here are a few tips I've found helpful.
Gluing. When I glue a
strip of edging to plywood, I like to use yellow glue. It has a shorter working
time, so it sets up quickly, which helps keep the edging from sliding around.
I also use a small brush to spread the glue on both the plywood and the
edging. It helps to get a uniform coat for good adhesion. I've never had much
luck with foam brushes because they tend to snag on the plywood edges. Instead,
I use an inexpensive bristle brush. It carries a lot of glue and spreads it
pretty evenly. Plus, you can rinse it out with water and use it again.
Also, I usually like to apply two coats of glue to the plywood edge.
The end grain on the plywood absorbs glue like a sponge. So I let the first
coat soak in and then quickly come back with another
Clamping. After the glue is applied, the
in place. Clamping is a numbers game. The more you can use the better. Ideally,
I'd put a clamp every six inches or so. Unfortunately, that would take a lot of
clamps for some of my larger projects.
But there are other ways to
clamp edging without buying a wall full of clamps. One method uses a caul (a
board with a slight bow across its length), see drawing at right. By clamping
each end of the caul, the bowed center forces the center section of edging
against the plywood so there are no gaps.
Another method uses a board and a handful of wedges, see
drawing at left. Opposing wedges are pushed under a scrap board to apply
pressure to the edging. You can use as many wedges as you need to exert equal
pressure, as long as you don't spread the clamps out too far. Usually two or
three wedges for every 18" span works best. This is also a good way to put
pressure on a stubborn area that you can't get to stick.
But what if your clamps are too short?
This is often the case when gluing edging to the top or bottom of a long panel.
If your longest clamps are too short, simply clamp a board to the plywood as an
anchor, see drawing at right. This anchor will allow you to use shorter clamps
and still get good results.