Review Katana Edge Band Set from MLCS

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  • Katana Edge Band Set from MLCS

    Summary
    The setup for both bits in the set took some time to get right, but once set up properly the bits made mostly clean cuts. The reasoning behind the bearing placement on the bit set escapes me but all in all, the set performed well and functioned as advertised.

    I started a kitchen remodel and my wife decided she wanted frameless cabinets instead of face frames, so this involved new territory for me. Learning the 32mm process went pretty well and I did a couple of test projects for the shop. The one piece I didnít deal with in the test projects was edge banding the cabinet boxes. After all, this was shop furniture so an exposed plywood edge isnít a big deal. For the kitchen, that would be a no go. I looked into different edge treatments using glue on veneer, thin strips, and a variety of router bit sets. I ended up selecting the Katana Edge Banding Set from MLCS.

    MLCS Bit Picture Click image for larger version

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    The bit set itself is heavy, and razor sharp. For the edge band, I set up the bit in my router table and started doing some test cuts in pine. While the setup took a bit of fiddling to get it centered vertically on the edge, it didnít take too long to get it right. In pine, I could cut the full depth and the cut was clean with absolutely zero tear out. When I switched to maple, I got some splintering on the tongue. I shimmed the fence out about 1/8 of an inch and made the cuts, removed the shim and finished the cut. The cuts came out much cleaner but there were still some splinters. Fortunately, the splintering would be embedded inside the plywood and where the visible edge meets the plywood, the cut was perfect. The final step in the cutting process was to rip the edge banding off the boards at the table saw.

    First Cut Picture
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    Completed Edge Band
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    One comment on the setup of the tongue bit. I would have expected that this bit would have had a center bearing which would have made setting the depth a no brainer. There is no bearing on this bit at all.

    Cutting the groove in the plywood gave similar results as with the tongue bit. Setup took some trial and error on scrap pieces to get it right. And since I wasnít thrilled with pushing a 4x8 sheet of plywood across the router table, I set up this bit in a handheld router and clamped a straightedge to the plywood. Another excellent use for my track saw rails. Again, attempting to hog out the entire groove at once lead to splintering and peeling of the face veneer. Cutting this in two passes made the cut come out completely clean. This bit has a bearing, but since you are cutting the entire edge from the plywood, there is nothing for the bearing to ride against. I suppose if you were setting this up in a table with a fence, the bearing would make sense, but the way I used it the bearing turned out to be pointless.

    Plywood Edge picture
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    Gluing the edge band into the plywood is a simple process. The edge band pieces fit into the groove snugly and with a thin layer of glue, I doubt theyíll ever come out. Clamping was a bit of a pain. With only 8 four foot clamps, there were still some small gaps between the edge band and the plywood. I ended up using all 16 of my clamps on each sheet which meant each sheet took about an hour. I put a sheet on my bench, cut the grooves on both long edges, glued in a piece of edge band on both long edges, clamped it, and waited half an hour or so for the glue to set and repeated the process 20 times which made for a really long weekend. The moral of that story is that I simply need more clamps.
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