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    Adorn Your Projects with Shopmade Banding

    more on woodworking safety

    Tools and Materials

    Who hasn’t gazed at a piece of ornate Federal period furniture and marveled at the intricate bandings that often adorn tables and cabinets from this time period? Bandings, with their beautiful geometric designs, are a great way to decorate not only intricate furniture, but simpler projects like picture frames and boxes as well. And while ready-made bandings can be purchased from woodworking retail stores, they’re often either expensive or poorly produced—with many being made of a light colored wood with the design simply stamped onto the band using dye.

    If you think producing your own bandings is way out of your league—you’re wrong. By following a simple set of steps that start with an initial glue-up, and move on to sawing, re-orienting workpieces, and re-gluing—most anyone with a moderate amount of woodworking skill can crank out beautiful bandings from their own home shop. Best of all, bandings are a great way to use up scrap wood!

    Follow along in this two-part series as I show you how to make a simple banding from maple and walnut. Inlaying a design like this in picture frame stock, or perhaps around a simple box is a great way to make a good-looking project shine that much more.

    Adorn Your Projects with Shopmade Banding Part II

    Be sure to check out Part II of our two-part banding series as we carry out the glue-up and re-sawing of our shopmade banding.

    How to Make

    Bandsaw the Mapleclick to enlarge

    Bandsaw the Maple: I began by bandsawing thin strips of maple (about 1/16-in. – 3/32-in.) off the edge of a 3/4-in. thick board.

    Bandsaw the Mapleclick to enlarge

    Rip the Walnut: Next, I ripped some 3/4-in. wide strips of 3/8-in.-thick walnut.

    Bandsaw the Mapleclick to enlarge

    First Glue-Up: The first glue-up is pretty straight-forward. I’m simply gluing the maple to the walnut. Notice how I’m using a base with a fence screwed onto it. This just helps to keep the two pieces aligned. I butt the workpieces up against the fence, and then set a caul over the workpieces and clamp it up. One thing to keep in mind: be sure to cover the jig base and fence with some clear packing tape. This will prevent the workpieces from sticking to your glue-up jig.

    Bandsaw the Mapleclick to enlarge

    What You're Left With: After allowing the glue to dry for a couple of hours, here’s what you’re left with. You’ll notice that the maple is a bit wider than the walnut. That’s ok. You can zip off most of it at the bandsaw and then flush it to the walnut in the next step.

    Bandsaw the Mapleclick to enlarge

    Plane it Flush: I placed both workpieces into the vise and used a block plane to trim the maple down flush with the walnut. Stop planing once your blade begins to engage with the walnut. Of course, you could also do this on one piece at a time. After you’ve planed one edge flush, you can use that as the reference surface—placing it against your bandsaw fence to true up the opposite edge.

    Bandsaw the Mapleclick to enlarge

    Crosscut Sled for the Bandsaw: Before you can proceed onto the next step, you’ll need to craft a simple crosscut jig for your bandsaw. I cut a small piece of scrap wood that accurately fit into my bandsaw table’s miter slot and attached that to a 1/2-in. plywood base. Just be sure that the two pieces are attached to one another at a perfect 90-degree angle. Then, glue on a fence and make a kerf cut with the saw, slicing through the plywood base until you just hit the fence. Now you’ll get sharp, zero-clearance cuts!

    Bandsaw the Mapleclick to enlarge

    Slice Up the Components: Now let’s put our crosscut sled to use. I used a small C-clamp to attach a stop block to the fence for repeatable cuts. For my banding, I set the workpieces with the maple side facing up and cut a series of 3/16-in. wide pieces. One thing to note. I should have used a stop block that wasn’t quite as fat. That would have allowed me to push all the way through the cut without trapping my little pieces between the block and the blade, which resulted in my having to use a small scrap to push each piece out from between those two points. You only learn through trial and error!

    Bandsaw the Mapleclick to enlarge

    Completed Components: Here’s what you’ll wind up with: dozens of little components which, when glued together in the orientation seen here, will form the base for your banding. Check back next Thursday, November 21, 2013 for the conclusion of our shopmade banding series.