Adventures in Banding
For me, perhaps the most intriguing aspect of federal furniture is the lyrical banding and stringing that often adorns drawer fronts, aprons, and legs. While we’ve covered stringing before at FineWoodworking.com, bandings haven’t received too much attention. With that in mind, I figured I’d head into the shop and craft some barber pole banding. The process is relatively straight-forward and if you’d like to see more on this subject-with a bona-fide expert like Steve Latta-let us know in the comments section below.
More Inlay Ideas
How to Make Barber Pole Banding
I begin by milling up some 1/4-in. thick strips of walnut and maple, and then glued them up in a block, alternating the woods. Next, I built a simple crosscut sled for my bandsaw which could be used to slice off thin sections of the block at a 45-degree angle. The sled is nothing more than a 1/2-in. MDF base, a hardwood fence and a quartersawn oak runner that fits into the bandsaw table’s miter gauge slot.
Crosscutting the pieces at the bandsaw leaves a bit of “fuzz” on the workpieces. To clean them up a bit, I glued down some 220-grit sandpaper onto a piece of flat glass and sanded each piece somewhat smooth. I was careful to make the number of passes over the sandpaper consistent from piece to piece. Maintaining a consistent thickness among these workpieces is important.
Next, I glued a long string of my walnut/maple workpieces down to an 1/8-in. thick piece of maple and clamped the sandwich together using some MDF cauls. Once the glue was dry, I glued on another piece of 1/8-in. maple to complete the banding “sandwich.”
Once the packet was dry, I cleaned up the block and resawed my bandings at the bandsaw.
Let Us Know Your Thoughts
Remember, if you’re interested in learning federal-style banding techniques, please let us know in the comments section at the bottom of this blog post.
2) Alternating wood species form the basis of the pattern. I began by gluing up alternating strips of walnut and maple.
3) Tight glue lines are key. For this reason, I used plenty of clamps.
4) A simple crosscutting sled for the bandsaw is then used to cut a series of workpieces at a 45-degree angle.
5) Ready for glue-up. All that's required for the banding glue-up are the workpieces you cut at the bandsaw and two 1/8-in. strips (or slightly thinner) of maple to form the outer layers of the banding "sandwich."
6) Light sanding cleans up the fuzz left behind after bandsawing. I simply attached a piece of sandpaper to some flat glass and ran my workpieces over it, being careful to make a consistent number of passes from workpiece to workpiece.
7) Glue up requires you to glue the crosscut pieces to one of the resawn maple pieces. In this photo I am also seen applying glue to the beveled edges of a workpiece. All the pieces should be glued together, and also glued to the thin maple strip. I used a bit of painter's tape to keep things from sliding around too much.
8) A couple of cauls and several clamps gave me a nice tight glue-up.
9) At this point, you're ready to complete the "sandwich" by gluing on one more strip of thin maple.
10) The final glue-up.
1) These simple barber pole bandings were crafted using a simple combination of glue-ups, crosscuts and resaw cuts.
Once the glue-up is complete, you can get to work truing up the block and start resawing your final bandings at the bandsaw. Mine were cut to a thickness just under 1/8-in.