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    Hardwood Edging—Twice as Fast

    If you ever find yourself having to apply hardwood edging to several shelves—say for a bookcase built using furniture-grade plywood, you could rip each 1/4-in. strip of hardwood edging individually, then glue and clamp each strip to each shelf—again, individually—but there’s a better way.

    You can kill two birds with one stone by ripping hardwood edging to a thickness of 5/8-in., and then glue the strip between two plywood shelf blanks. Once it’s dried, go ahead and scrape away the squeeze-out (better yet, wait about an hour for the glue to gel up, then peel it away with the aid of an old chisel), and rip the workpiece in half. In this manner, you’ll wind up with two shelves—each with 1/4-in. of edging on its front edge.

    Why use a 5/8-in. thick piece of edging instead of a 1/2-in. piece? You’ve got to account for the 1/8-in. kerf from the tablesaw blade.

    Once you’ve ripped your shelves apart at the tablesaw, you can go ahead and use a bearing guided flush trim bit on your router to flush the edging to the plywood. Word to the wise: don’t try flushing the edging with a block plane, you’re liable to nick the plywood’s delicate outer veneer with your plane blade. Don’t ask me how I know that—just trust me!

    Rip Your Shelf Blanks
    I began by ripping my shelf blanks to width at the tablesaw
    Rip Your Hardwood Edging
    Next, I ripped my hardwood edging. My goal was to edge each shelf with 1/4-in. of hardwood. I ripped the stock down to 5/8-in. to account for the 1/8-in. kerf of the tablesaw blade. See text above concerning this point.
    Two Birds—One stone
    Glue two shelves together with the 5/8-in. strip in between. I like to apply glue to both the edging and the plywood—as the edges of the plywood tend to suck up a lot of adhesive.
    Dealing with Squeeze-Out
    That consistent line of squeeze-out is actually a good thing. It means I've got a good joint, with glue spread evenly straight on down the line. I'll come back in about an hour to peel away the gelled-up glue.
    Rip Your Shelves Apart
    All that's left is to rip the one large shelf blank in half, yielding two separate shelves--each with 1/4-in. hardwood edge.
    Flush the Edges
    Your hardwood edging should be just slightly proud of the shelving (thicker). You can either use a block plane to flush the edging to the plywood (risky) or a bearing-guided flush trim bit mounted in a router.