Incorporating a banding is actually quite straightforward. It only requires routing a grove and then gluing your banding into the workpiece. All banding is virtually 0.040” thick. Test your electric or hand router on a piece of wood scrap until you get the right thickness. Once set, all you need to do is stay inside those lines.
By far, the easiest way to apply the banding is by incorporating it in the final phase. For example, on a rail application, it will be easier if you put the banding in it before incorporating the rail. The same method also works on other application, such as stiles, tabletops, and even turned bowls.
Some bandings are meant for specific uses. The Singer ’25 and ’31 bandings, for example, are designed only for sewing tables. Both of them are equipped with 50-cm band at the central portion, marked off in millimeters and centimeters.
You can incorporate either of them into any piece of your furniture. Lay the measuring rule somewhere in the side or top of your furniture to get the most benefit of these bands.
Gluing the Banding
Some people use banding to give unique accent to their veneered woodworking project. If you plan to do the same, there are 2 important things need to be done. First, your piece should be ready for the gluing. Second, not all glues work for this project. Per my experience, there are only 3 types of glue that work well for banding: hide glue, fish glue, and 2002GF glue.
If you want to apply the banding into a solid wood, you need to take more caution. First of all, the banding should be parallel to the grain. If you apply the banding across the grain, it may soon be broken by stresses. This often occurs due to humidity changes. You can use an inlay tool, power router, or router plane to insert a groove in your wood. This should be enough to hold the banding. Alternatively, you can glue the banding onto your piece and later incorporate it in the piece.
Tips: It is very important to keep the banding parallel to the grain
There are also some cases when there are 2 pieces of banding and both of them intersect on a panel. In this case, you should always glue one of them at a time. Wait until the glue dries before laying the second piece down. When they meet at a corner, make sure the pattern matches perfectly. Once you have adjusted the ends and the pattern nicely coincides, you can proceed to mitering both of them into corner. Work out from the corners to avoid any imbalance. Then, cut the banding.
The ideal width of your banding should be adjusted to the actual size of your work piece. Wide bandings, for example, would look nice on large pieces. However, there are some exceptions that you should remember. Narrow geometric bandings is one of them. They look good on both small and large pieces.
Finishing Your Banding
After spending some time in woodworking, you’ll learn some nice tricks that will help save time and effort. For example, I usually apply my banding higher than surrounding wood to deliver smooth finish. The actual height usually depends on the banding. One important thing I learn is all bandings have saw kerf marks. Some marks are deeper than the others, but they are usually less than 0.01 inch. You will need a square-edged scrapers and sandpaper to deliver a smooth banding. Make sure you scrape at various skew angles to deliver a perfectly smooth surface, without any chatter marks. Once it has been dressed and installed, you can finish the banding with the same topcoats and sealers as the rest of your piece.