The Editors Mailbox

The Editors Mailbox

Adventures in Banding

comments (22) July 16th, 2014 in blogs

Ed_Pirnik Ed Pirnik, Senior Web Producer
thumbs up 28 users recommend

1) These simple barber pole bandings were crafted using a simple combination of glue-ups, crosscuts and resaw cuts.
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 thats 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 painters 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, youre ready to complete the sandwich by gluing on one more strip of thin maple.
10) The final glue-up.
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.
1) These simple barber pole bandings were crafted using a simple combination of glue-ups, crosscuts and resaw cuts. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

1) These simple barber pole bandings were crafted using a simple combination of glue-ups, crosscuts and resaw cuts.

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, 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

Basic Stringing Techniques

How to Make a Checkered Inlay

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.

posted in: blogs, banding, barber pole

Comments (22)

Dane_J Dane_J writes: Ed,
shouldn't the pieces end with alternating woods so that when you put them end-to-end it is still contrasting?

also do you plan-ahead for corners that wrap around, so that the wraps do not end up being odd sizes?

BTW -- I would really enjoy more Steve Lata... I am planning to do his table(Im using cherry vs walnut)
Posted: 8:56 pm on July 25th

Posted: 4:01 pm on July 22nd

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: MDcustom: NICE EYES! Yeah, I realized the "sandwich error" once I began gluing up the sequences. But then I felt: "heck, it's still a repeating pattern, l'll keep it."

Funny enough, I spoke about this on the podcast we're releasing this Friday. It was featured in one of our regular segments on Shop Talk Live. Again NICE CATCH! I was wondering how long it would take for someone to notice:)

Posted: 9:15 am on July 22nd

daddymunster daddymunster writes: Ed,

Thanks for your quick response. However, I think you are side stepping and minimizing a key point in your response.

"That little crosscut sled for the bandsaw is one that I've had for quite some time. It is the most efficient way to cut banding material due to the narrow kerf size. That's why it's commonly used. Not just by yourself. Barber pole banding is not an uncommon variant of banding but rather, a pretty common one."

1.) I would be willing to bet my 40 years of woodworking experience that you or other woodworkers did not use a band saw crosscut sled or the band saw specifically for the purpose of creating wood inlay bandings until after the publication dates of my blog and/or my woodworking videos.

2.) Yes, as I have previously pointed out in my tutorials, using a band saw with the cross cut sled is the most efficient way way to cut banding material due to the narrow kerf size. The band saw along with the band saw crosscut sled method is very accurate. This technique that I have developed is also much safer to use than previous common methods that involved the use of a table saw.

3.)"That's why it's commonly used." Be honest Ed. How many woodworkers have you seen use the band saw and the band saw sled method prior to the publication dates of my articles and videos on the subject of making wood inlay banding? In truth the answer is zero.

4.) Yes Ed, you're right. "Barber pole banding is not an uncommon variant of banding but rather, a pretty common one." I could not agree with you more.

I think it is great that you have an interest in wood inlay banding and want to do a mashup of the various methods. It appears we have a common interest in this wonderful facet of woodworking. More woodworkers should know about it.

As you well know from visiting my site I have invested considerable thought, time, and energy in regards to creating wood inlay banding. The same can be said for the special band saw sleds that I created for the variety of banding designs.

My intention from day one was to make an original contribution to the woodworking community. That is what I have done. As a result, many woodworkers like what I have produced and have shared freely with them.

Ed, here is the part where I lay my saber down. I invite you to do the same.

You have produced some excellent woodworking content as well Ed. I give you credit.

Keep up the good work,

Posted: 7:15 pm on July 21st

Yukonjohn Yukonjohn writes: Three pluses: Federal Style, Steve Latta, and shop-made banding. Creating a video to go with it it would be even better!

Posted: 6:26 pm on July 21st

MMathern MMathern writes: Yes, I too would love to see more of Steve Latta's teaching on banding or any other federal style techniques. It would be great to have some spare time to try the techniques. Thank you!
Posted: 2:48 pm on July 21st

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Yes Bob, I have seen your website in the past. In fact, I had been considering putting together a mashup of a variety of different methods for producing several different bandings from across the web.

However I do not appreciate the comment you've left here. In fact, that is putting it mildly. To echo your own comment: Libel is the act of defamation taking form in printed text. I do not appreciate having those sorts of statements leveled against me. Ever. Period.

That little crosscut sled for the bandsaw is one that I've had for quite some time. It is the most efficient way to cut banding material due to the narrow kerf size. That's why it's commonly used. Not just by yourself. Barber pole banding is not an uncommon variant of banding but rather, a pretty common one.

I will not allow anyone to defame me, other contributors to our blogs, or other folks leaving comments. Therefore, I am taking the offensive comments down.

However, I do feel there is valuable information for folks interested in banding on your site and I think folks should check it out. I'm leaving a link below.

In summation: while it is unfortunate that you felt the fact that our two methods being spot on similar was some sort of plagiarism, it does not grant you the right to make wild accusations. Again, I will not accept that when foisted upon myself, our anyone leaving comments in a blog post on this site.

That said - Bob's site has some pretty cool stuff on it and you can find it here:


Posted: 8:40 am on July 21st

atogrf1 atogrf1 writes: I have taken Steve Latta's class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking and learned more in the two days I was there than in a month of research online.
I have used the techniques I learned on many projects and have expanded from there.
He is an incredible teacher and someone who is not only knowledgeable, but passionate about Federal Period Furniture.

Keep his articles coming!!!!


Posted: 7:44 am on July 21st

projim projim writes: Defenitely count me in to learn more about Federal Period Banding.
Have tried it before with no success. Help Steve. Thanks.
Posted: 4:48 pm on July 20th

RicS RicS writes: Yes, teach us more. This is great stuff to try out on a slow day, when I have one.
Posted: 8:16 am on July 20th

Stevo5 Stevo5 writes: Yes - would love to see more of Steve Latta's teaching on banding or any other federal style techniques. Thank you!
Posted: 6:28 pm on July 19th

InVT InVT writes: would enjoy more - especially some notes on techniques of the period.
Posted: 5:23 pm on July 19th

RRoller RRoller writes: I too would love to see more written on banding techniques and stringing if possible. I'd also agree with Mike Davison in asking for advice on which projects are best accompanied with each addition.
If at all possible, I'd prefer video's. Thank you so much!
Posted: 12:15 pm on July 19th

mrfluff mrfluff writes: I have a collection of banding that I would like to find some use for as well as some guidance on best techniques. Also very interested in making my own banding and have saved all the articles I read on the subject. Video instruction though is best I find.
Posted: 10:51 am on July 19th

MDCustom MDCustom writes: Be sure to start and end the "sandwich" with different species of wood! Otherwise, you will end up with a 'double-wide' band when re-gluing the pieces together into the long strip (as seen in the above photos)

Posted: 9:49 am on July 19th

user-42046 user-42046 writes: Would love to see more on banding. Also articles on hot sand shading techniques, bluebells, etc. as are seen on those beautiful federal pieces. Thanks!
Posted: 9:47 am on July 19th

RPCabinetmaker RPCabinetmaker writes: Yes, more on banding by Steve Latta. I've read his articles, seen him speak and demonstrate, and watched the videos. He's an excellent teacher. Bring on more.
Posted: 9:38 am on July 19th

wan wan writes: Yes, please let Latta write more on banding!
Posted: 4:59 am on July 19th

OldMan OldMan writes: Yes, I would be interested not only in how to make your own, but also some trusted sources for purchased banding as well.

Posted: 3:40 pm on July 16th

fuzzy1 fuzzy1 writes: Count me as another yes to learning the Federal Period banding techniques.
Posted: 3:09 pm on July 16th

jackd4u jackd4u writes: Being new to the woodworking world, and trying to learn techniques on my own, I would be very open to learning more about the Federal Period banding.
Posted: 2:28 pm on July 16th

Mike_Davison Mike_Davison writes: I always enjoy and vale the Federal Period content from FWW and Federal Period banding would be a welcomed addition. It would be interesting to not only cover the techniques, but to cover how it was done 150 years ago and what specific banding is correct/best for specific pieces.

Thumbs up on the magazine, the web site and the podcast!
Posted: 2:11 pm on July 16th

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