If you’ve seen furniture being made, you might have noticed that wooden boards have a raw edge when cut. This raw edge, if left uncovered, can pose serious problems for the furniture. Apart from looking unsightly and scratching the skin if someone bumps into them, these exposed edges allow moisture to seep in, which in turn makes the wood warp and become lumpy. To prevent these issues, edge bands were created – As they say “Necessity is the mother of invention”. Edge bands are placed on the end of raw wood boards to cover the ends and thus seal it from moisture.
What Is Edge Banding?
The process of covering the raw edges of wood panels with a thin strip of wood, PVC, or resinous material is called edge banding. The narrow strips themselves are known as edge bands. Commercially, edge banding is done using industry-grade heat applicators and a hot-melt adhesive. For modular furniture, the material used is mostly PVC which is easy to fix and has a long life.
Note: Membrane press finish furniture does not require an edge band because the membrane material itself is used to fold over the edge of the wood. This conceals the cut edge and offers protection.
Why Should My Furniture Have An Edge Band?
Modular furniture is made using engineered wood. As such, the wood is treated and made resistant to moisture by treatments. However, wood has a natural tendency to absorb water. This tendency cannot be removed completely – it can only be reduced. Edge banding protects the wooden panels in your furniture from moisture, thus reducing the effects of atmospheric humidity and liquid spills. This means that the strength and durability of the wood increases. So, the next time you spill coffee on your table and it drips down the edge, thank the edge banding for protecting the wood.
Is PVC The Only Material For Edge Banding?
Conventional carpenters use teak wood bands to cover raw edges of wooden boards. Edge band tape can be made from PVC, acrylic, wood or wood veneer. However, most modular furniture use PVC edge bands. That’s because PVC is impermeable which means that it reduces water absorption to a large extend. Also, modular furniture comes in a much wider variety of colours and shades than the options available for real wood. PVC strips can be produced to match the exact shade and finish of your modular panel, thus creating a seamless look. Also, as compared to real wood bands, PVC (and other commercially used edge bands) are easier to use on curved surfaces.
So in essence, the main reasons that PVC is such a popular choice for edge banding are:
- PVC edge bands are impermeable
- PVC edge bands come in varying shades and colours and can be custom-made
- It can be easily used on curved surfaces unlike real wood bands
How Is Edge Banding Applied?
Essentially, an edge band is a thin strip of impermeable PVC that is cut to fit the size of a wood panel. It is then applied to the raw edge using a strong adhesive. A heat roller is then used to melt the adhesive and glue the edge band over the wood. The ends are trimmed flush and bent so that they cover the wood and do not have any sharp ends. Any surplus glue is scraped off and the finished edge is buffed to give a flawless finish. The machine that is used for this process is called an edge bander.
If Edge Bands Are Glued To Wood, Won’t They Come Off Easily?
The most frequently used glues for edge banding is PVA (Poly Vinyl Acetate) and PA (Polyamide) hot-melt glues. These are pliable under high temperatures. They are also durable and tough under low temperatures. They dry clear and most importantly are water-resistant. A good furniture provider will always make sure their pieces have the best glue for edge bands which will keep them from coming off and chipping easily. When you are making your purchase, you should ask the seller what kind of glue they use for manufacturing.
Are There Different Edge Bands For Different Wood Materials?
Yes. While you can use PVC bands for almost any type of wood, the thickness of the band will differ. It is important to use the right band for a particular material to ensure strength and durability.
Which Edge Bands Are The Best?
There are a variety of edge bands available in the market; from pre-glued ones to 3D acrylic tapes. The best one for your furniture depends on the type of material your furniture is made of.
Hope this article has given you an insight at what goes into the manufacture of your modular furniture. In case you have further doubts about edge banding, do leave a comment and we would be happy to answer your queries.
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