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Application of PVC Edgebanding

An edgebander is the method of choice, but here are some alternative suggestions as well. September 5, 2006

We have made tops either with self-edge, T-Moulding, or wood. What is the best way to install 2mm PVC edgebanding? Does contact cement work, or do I need to use a hot glue process? How tight a radius can I get with 2mm PVC?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor E:
I guess the safest answer is another question: "Is there some method other than an edgebander?" I can't imagine doing it otherwise and I doubt a hot air would do 2mm very well.

From contributor R:
Preferred solution would be to use an edgebander if available. Otherwise, acceptable method would be to use spray-on contact adhesive on both board edges and rear of PVC edge. Mask face of board with masking tape and use scrap board cuttings to prevent overspray.

Brushing on the adhesive can be done, but not so reliable. If you have to, then use multiple coats of adhesive. Finishing of edge can be simplified by use of laminate trimmer with either a roller bearing straight bit or suitable roll over round bit, say 2mm. Use fine metal file rather than sandpaper to complete the finishing. On a melamine finished or laminated board, a sharp chisel with no nicks can be use to complete the flushing process. 2mm edging can be bent into quite tight corners, external or internal, and the use of a hot air gun at moderate heat can be used to pre-bend the edging into tighter corners. Trial and error with small scraps is always recommended.

Do not use thinners, under any circumstance, to remove any surplus adhesive. Use mineral turps, as this will not damage the PVC.

From contributor K:

No, there is only one way two apply 2mil and that is via an edgebander (pre-melt only, no hot air). Contact cement is not a reasonable solution... Trust me, I've tried.

Also, solvent (acetone) does not damage PVC. How else would you get the glue off edgebanded parts? Lacquer thinner works fine, too.

From contributor R:
I agree that the use of an edge bander is the first choice, but contributor K appears to have had an unfortunate experience with spray-on contact adhesive. I find this puzzling, as I have used this method for more years than I care to admit and it is the only reliable alternative when it comes to adhering edging to curved tops or components with internal corners that no edge bander could cope with. Nor is an edge bander of any use when it comes to alterations or repairs to edging already built into a piece of partially completed work.

In regard to the use of acetone to clean surplus adhesives, I will have to bow to contributor K's experience, as I have never used acetone for this purpose. I have always found the use of mineral turps to be the preferred option, as lacquer thinners most definitely act as a solvent on the PVC as well as softening the contact adhesive. This alters the surface of the PVC, destroying the semi-gloss finish and on darker colours can leave a ghostlike whitish appearance that would normally be cause for replacement of that edge.

From contributor K:
I sometimes have to use contact cement for PVC (rarely) because of the reasons you mentioned of radius corners. However, I hate it because the bond just is nothing near hot melt. But ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And I never had a problem with lacquer thinner marring, but I will trust you on that, because I only use it when I run out of solvent. I would still not recommend using contact cement on PVC, based on my experience, unless it is a must. Sounds like you need an edgebander in a bad way.