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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Woodworking Tip of The Week - Edge Trimming Panel Supports

Whenever I use plywood to build a project it usually means having to deal with exposed plywood edges that need to be covered. But you’ll find a few challenges to applying edging and making it look great.

Since I want to be sure the edges are completely covered, I like to start with the edging just a hair wider than the thickness of the plywood. Then once the glue dries, the edging can be trimmed flush. I like to use a hand-held router with a flush trim bit to do this. But the challenge is balancing the router on the edge of the plywood to make a clean cut.

To provide stability to the panels while I routed the edges, I used to clamp two panels on edge with 2x4 scraps between them. But accomplishing this always seemed to take more hands than I had to get everything clamped in place. To make the job easier, I made the panel supports shown in the photo at right.

The supports are easy to build and can be made from scrap pieces of stock. I made mine from 3/4″ plywood.

Each support begins with a long base to provide an area to clamp the support to the workbench. Next, glue up two layers of plywood to create a center divider and attach it upright on the base. This separates the two panels to be trimmed and provides a wide surface for clamping the panels securely in position. Then, to hold the plywood panels in place while I attach the clamps, just add a shorter outside support on either side.

The supports are easy to set up and simple use. All you need to do is align the two supports with one another and then clamp them to your workbench. After slipping a panel between the center divider and each outside support, clamp the panels to the divider at each end, as shown in the drawing below.

Both panels are now securely supported, making it easy to trim the edging flush. Just be sure to rout each panel in a clockwise direction to avoid kickback.
Have a nice weekend,
Phil Huber
Editor, ShopNotes