Edge Banding over a Dado

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Forum topic by chris8 posted 04-26-2017 07:57 PM 2469 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1578 days

04-26-2017 07:57 PM

Not sure if this is the correct forum or not but seemed to be the best match…

I’m designing some frameless, door-less, closet cabinets from 3/4 maple ply – floor mounted, 81” tall x ~18-24” wide x 15” deep. Will be a mixture of fixed and adjustable shelving. Normally I’d run a standard dado to support the fixed shelving, but this will be my first experience doing edgebanding (along the exposed facing edges). My question is, how do I edge band the fixed shelving joints?

- If I edge band the pieces first, then cut and assemble, I’ll have an easier time finishing the pieces (stain), but am worried about tear out cutting the dado through the now-finished edge band, and the possibility of chipping the edges on the face when I insert the shelf into the tight dado.

- If I cut and assemble then apply edge banding to the finished piece, I don’t have to worry about tear out, but then I don’t get the benefit of easier finishing (will have to stain the assembled piece) and am not entirely sure how I’ll trim the excess edge banding in the corners. The methods I have seen online include a specialized tool or a block plane – both requiring an ‘open’ side to pass through.

- Option C would be to skip the dado altogether and simply butt-joint the shelf to the carcass and glue & screw. Seems shaky though.

Am I overthinking this or missing anything obvious?


12 replies so far

View TungOil's profile


1382 posts in 1301 days

#1 posted 04-26-2017 10:24 PM

how about Option D- cut the carcass sides, cut the dado’s for the shelves, then apply the edge band. come back with a sharp razor knife and clean out the excess edge banding where the dado is exposed in the front. I’ve done it this way many times, as long as you are careful trimming the edge banding around the dado it comes out perfect.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4174 days

#2 posted 04-26-2017 10:54 PM

Option E. As tung oil said, cut the dados and add the edgebanding. Band the shelves and stain as you like. Assemble from the back and let the edge band stay in the front. The shelves will not look like dado mounting.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4454 days

#3 posted 04-26-2017 11:08 PM

I have not done it in awhile but I think what
I used to do was cut the dados, edgeband
and then chisel out the front edgeband. With
care it comes out pretty clean.

Another way to do it is set the shelf back
a bit. I’ve use biscuits and screws generally
but a router-cut stopped dado works.

In frameless casework the case back is really
important structurally. Dados, screws, biscuits
and dowels are all acceptable joinery methods
but none of them will hold a case square without
a back on it.

View chris8's profile


7 posts in 1578 days

#4 posted 04-26-2017 11:10 PM

Awesome – knew I was missing an obvious answer. Thank you.

Papadan – just want to be clear, the way I interpret tung oil’s great suggestion I would run the edge banding pre-assembly, then cut a small piece from the edgebanding on the carcass side face in the profile of the dado (just using a sharp knife to do what the dado stack would have). That would show the dado when I insert the shelf, no?

Not that I am concerned with the look of a dado, just want to make sure I’m not missing something (again).


View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4174 days

#5 posted 04-26-2017 11:13 PM

Yes Tungoil said to cut out the banding at the dado, I said to leave the banding and it wont look like a dado joint.

View JayCee123's profile


200 posts in 1571 days

#6 posted 04-26-2017 11:44 PM

I usually edge band all my pieces first, then cut for biscuits or dominos. As mentioned above setting back the interior shelves (appx 1/8”) adds to appearance, IMO.
If you choose to edge band after assembly just use a sharp chisel to trim intersecting banding at the corners. Overlap the banding and cut through both layers at one time, as if your trimming wallpaper. The same chisel can also be used to trim edge band over hang on the inside corner, and your regular trimmer takes care of the outside edge.

View pontic's profile


797 posts in 1415 days

#7 posted 04-27-2017 12:58 AM

Option C D E all doable. I just finished veneering my Kitchen cabinets uset all those techniques. I HATE EDGEBANDING!

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

View TungOil's profile


1382 posts in 1301 days

#8 posted 04-27-2017 01:01 AM

if you are going to use a dado stack in the TS to cut the dados and are only planning to apply the edge band to the front (visible) edge, you can edge band first and dado the case sides with the edge banding leading- there will be no chip out as long as you feed with the edge banding on the leading edge.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View builtinbkyn's profile


3009 posts in 1747 days

#9 posted 04-27-2017 02:41 AM

I always used a good file to trim edge banding.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View TinyWoodShop's profile


1 post in 358 days

#10 posted 08-18-2019 03:31 AM

I have built some bookcases with this exact situation. I run half-blind dadoes for the shelf—at least that is what I think they are called. I don’t run the dadoes on the uprights through to the front face of the bookcase and then notch out the shelves to accommodate the partial dado. That way, all you have to do is veneer complete lengths of wood and never have to worry about cutting your added edge veneer for a dado cut.

It has worked great for me and look good too.

Good Luck!

View gwilki's profile


355 posts in 2280 days

#11 posted 08-19-2019 08:49 PM

I’m with papadan. I can’t see why you would want to see the front of the dado joints. Edge band the gables/sides, then edge band them. Don’t cut the edge banding what the shelves are.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View gwilki's profile


355 posts in 2280 days

#12 posted 08-20-2019 11:58 AM

I can’t see how to edit my previous post.

I mean to say “dado the gables/sides” then edge band them.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

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