Building with plywood is convenient and inexpensive, but the exposed edges typically look unfinished. To clean up the look without covering or hiding every edge, you can just cover them with a strip of self-adhesive veneer edge banding. This simple method makes plywood look more like a solid board without the upcharge. Read on to see how it’s applied with a regular household iron.

 

Cost: About $7 for a 25 foot roll

Time: 5 Minutes

Difficulty: Easy. Just place the veneer strip on the edge of the plywood, and then heat it with a household iron to melt the glue and secure it in place.

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Household Iron – Since adhesive may get on the iron’s plate, it’s best to use an old or inexpensive iron.

Scissors

Edge Banding Trimmer or Small Block Plane

Sandpaper or Sanding Sponge

Scrap Block of Wood

Self-adhesive veneer edge banding – choose a wood species and “width”  that matches your plywood. Most home centers carry 3/4″ Red Oak and White Birch, but other species and widths can easily be found and ordered online.

Cut List

None

 

Steps

 

1. Trim the Veneer

 

Using scissors, trim the veneer strip to a length about 1 inch longer than the board’s edge.
How To Finish Plywood Edges by Build Basic - Step 1

www.Build-Basic.com2. Clamp the Board in Place

 

Since a rough edge will be harder for the veneer to adhere to, begin by sanding the edge of the plywood smooth. Now, using a vise, clamp the board upright. If you don’t have a vise, just clamp a 2×4 on edge to your work surface, and then use a second clamp to hold the board upright against the 2×4.
How To Finish Plywood Edges by Build Basic - Step 2

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3. Position the Veneer

 

Place the end of the veneer onto the board, leaving a slight overhang.
How To Finish Plywood Edges by Build Basic - Step 3

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4. Press the End in Place

 

Preheat a household iron to the setting marked for cotton with the steam setting off. Press the iron onto the veneer to tack it in place. Remove the iron and check its placement.
How To Finish Plywood Edges by Build Basic - Step 4

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5. Finish Adhering the Veneer

 

Run the iron down the veneer to tack it in place, and then double back on a slower pass to really heat the glue and melt it to the edge of the board.
How To Finish Plywood Edges by Build Basic - Step 5

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6. Press the Glue in Place

 

While the glue is still hot, run a scrap block over the veneer to press the strip firmly in place.
How To Finish Plywood Edges by Build Basic - Step 6

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7. Trim the End

 

Once the glue has dried, use scissors or a utility knife to trim the ends of the veneer flush with the end of the board.
How To Finish Plywood Edges by Build Basic - Step 7

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8. Trim the Edges

 

Using an edge trimmer or a small block plane, trim the edges of the veneer until runs flush with the face of the plywood.
How To Finish Plywood Edges by Build Basic - Step 8

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9. Sand the Edges

 

Using a sanding sponge or sandpaper wrapped around a block, round-over and smooth the edge of the veneer.
How To Finish Plywood Edges by Build Basic - Step 9

 

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13 thoughts on “How To Finish Plywood Edges

    1. Jenn Post author

      Yes! That’s the great thing about veneer—it’s actually a very thin slice of real wood with a pre-glued backing. That meants it takes the stain just like the rest of the plywood. Just be careful to choose a veneer that matches the species of the plywood so that it all takes the stain the same way. Hope this helps! –Jenn

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