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The "right" way...

We have all heard the old expressions about there being more than one way to accomplish a task. This is particularly true in woodworking. In fact there are usually so many different methods available that it is sometimes difficult to decide which would be the "right" way.

I was talking to some guys the other day about using wood edging on laminate tops. One guy was saying that it's better to apply the wood edge first and then lay the laminate over it to cover the seam. The other guy felt that it was better to apply the laminate first so that more of the wood was exposed.

For me this was like the ad that used to run where two people would argue about whether it was a "candy" or "breath" mint. Then "the voice" would say, "Stop…you're both right." Either way would work fine as long as the banding was attached properly. That is to say, it is glued and clamped to the edge or screwed and plugged and not simply nailed on.

For me, it's almost "form follows function." If the work is intended to be a functional item like the top for a router table (as the item under discussion was), then function would win hands down because I would want the surface of the laminate to be as "unbroken" as possible. In fact, being the kind of guy I am, when it comes to shop fixtures, the top would be lucky to be graced with a solid wood edge at all. But if I were building table tops or counter tops, I would be much more open to the idea of letting the wood show which would favor applying the edging after the PL was down.

So the moral is: Many times, there is no "right" way. It's all a question of what you want the end result to be.


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