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I'm thinking about making a table top with a veneer surface and then framing the edge with eight segments of solid wood. For discussion's sake, the idea is to have a circular table with a plywood veneered center that is 38" in diameter, and then frame that with a 4" wide ring of inch-thick solid wood. The total diameter of the top would then be 46 inches.

It's not clear what the process is to align the top surface of the veneered center to the top surface of the solid wood frame. I would have a very thin veneer butted against a thick frame. What concerns me is how do you account for any misalignment of the top surfaces so that the finished table top is one smooth plane? I would be afraid to handle that with sanding, due to the thinness of the veneer.

Is there an good explanation somewhere of how this process is done? Or could someone explain it here?

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    You don't typically aim to do that, partly because of the near impossibility of doing it with absolute accuracy (even a couple of thousandths out is enough to be felt) and more importantly, doing it consistently. So, instead you aim to get it close enough that your flushing process comfortably deals with the excess. While you don't typically do this by sanding alone, it is fairly common for the final surface to be final sanded after the flushing operation; and the veneer could often do with being sanded (lightly obvs) anyway.
    – Graphus
    Mar 1, 2022 at 18:09
  • So, what do you have in the way of tooling? If you can get the solid-wood edge really very close to flush you can take care of the excess with a scraper, but it was more common to use a plane (very carefully). These days it's probably most common to use a router in one of a couple of different ways.
    – Graphus
    Mar 1, 2022 at 18:11
  • You're going to bend a 1-inch thick piece of solid wood into a 38" diameter circle? I hope you have a big steamer box and a lot of clamps!
    – FreeMan
    Mar 1, 2022 at 18:52
  • No. It would be a segmented edge. Probably from eight pieces. It would add 8 inches to the diameter.
    – Jim
    Mar 1, 2022 at 18:54
  • I updated my question. I realize now I should not have called it edge banding. It should probably be referred to as a frame.
    – Jim
    Mar 1, 2022 at 20:32

2 Answers 2

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As I mention in my Comment, one of the ways this was done traditionally was by hand planing, and I'd have no hesitation in recommending this basic approach to anyone comfortable in the use of planes for any rectilinear tables or cabinet sides. But because it can be tricky to plane straight through from one piece of wood to another that's at a different angle this may not be the method of choice here, although it is certainly doable this way with care and attention.

So, given your constraints I think the way to do this is with a router, but because of the width involved not the way this sort of thing is typically done by router (using a pattern bit). I was fairly sure I saw a video on this method on Nick Engler's YouTube channel, Workshop Companion, but didn't realise until I went looking for it again just now that it was their first ever episode.

I think you'll find it just perfect for what you need to do, Best Router Jig Ever for Precise Flush Cuts.

I think the concept is most self-explanatory once you see pics of similar jigs:

Flushing router jig

The only thing that isn't immediately evident is how to set the bit just slightly higher than the router base (a few thou, >0.1mm) which Nick gives a nice trick for.

As mentioned in the video, jigs such as this are also perfect for flush-trimming plugs or dowels if you don't wish to do this by manual methods:

Ideal for flushing plugs or dowels

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You apply the edging/banding and then you have to trim it. This is a typical use for a trim router, for example. Your banding will never go on perfectly, if only because it will not be perfectly straight when compared with the circumference that is your reference. I'd advise concentrating on getting a nice glue-up of the banding without worrying to much about how much of it is proud of any perpendicular surface.

There are specialty planes for this, but a block plane will probably work just fine. Many of the specialty tools can create bevel at the same time that you may have to consider because the veneer might be quite thin.

If you have a trim router you can use a flush-cutting bit that uses the top surface of the table to cut the excess. you could shim with layers of tape if you wanted the edging to be more proud of the surface. Thicker edging will require multiple passes.

I'd experiment with test pieces before you attack the actual table with spinning blades. I don't think the small amount of rocking where the flat of the router meets the radius of the circle will be a problem, but you could add some shims to the bottom of the router to have it sit on three points so at least the attitude of the cutter stays the same.

Since I now see that this "banding" is actually a significant thickness of solid wood, the time-honoured way of doing this is with a hand-plane. (Though a router would still work.) There are profiling/edging planes that can follow an edge and cut a profile, but a careful hand with a block plane should work. You could plane close and then finish with a cabinet scraper.

Then use the plane or a trim router to put a nose or a bevel on the outside of the edging for comfort!

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  • Thanks. Hand planing might be the answer. Maybe I should not have called it “edge banding” since it is a solid piece of 1”x4”. I just don’t want to harm the veneer while working that edge.
    – Jim
    Mar 1, 2022 at 17:51
  • Ok, maybe edit your question and make sure my lazy eyes can't miss those details?
    – user5572
    Mar 1, 2022 at 17:53
  • Last sentence, first paragraph. But I understand. Happens to me all the time. I’ll try to come up with a picture. :)
    – Jim
    Mar 1, 2022 at 17:55

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