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Tips For Applying
Tee Molding

Looking for
a quick, easy
way to put
a durable edge
on a project?

By Brad Holden

Tee molding might be the perfect answer.
Installation could not be simpler: just rout the
slot and tap the molding in place. There’s no gluing,
no ironing, no finishing, and it’ll stand up to years of
abuse. Used extensively on store and restaurant fixtures,
tee molding is also a great choice for shop cabinets, kid’s
furniture or any other place where a durable, impact
resistant edge is a plus.
Tee molding is available in a huge array of colors
and profiles so let your imagination run wild. Use
it to add bright colors to a child’s playroom
or bedroom. It can transform the ordinary,
like a set of laundry room
shelves, into a colorful highlight.
Check out the eight great installation
tips in this article. They’ll
insure hassle-free success the first
time you try tee molding.

Use the right bit

Use the appropriate sized slot cutter
to cut the slot for the barb. If the slot
is too wide, the barb won’t hold
properly. If it’s too narrow, it can split
the substrate. Suppliers specify what
size cutter you need for each tee
molding – don’t cheat. Some manufacturers
allow you to swap out different
sized cutters on a single arbor
(see photo right). Others sell each
cutter size as an individual bit. (see
Sources, below)
Click any image to view a larger version.

Massage out the kinks

Remove kinks in the barb before installation. Tee molding
comes in rolled coils that can cause kinks in the barbs. The kinks can
get hung up on the substrate slot and make barb insertion a real chore.
Use a hair dryer to warm the kinked area. Then massage the kink out.
If heat doesn’t do the trick, as a last resort you can cut out a kink with
a utility knife.

Notch around a tight curve

Cut “V” shaped notches in the barb
where the tee molding bends around a
corner. Three or four notches cut with a
utility knife are usually enough. If
you don’t notch the corners,
the barb will “bunch up” in
the slot so the molding
won’t seat properly,
and it could split the

Tap lightly

Tap tee molding into the slot
using a rubber mallet. Use only
enough force to seat the molding.
You’re not pounding in a
nail here. Excessive force can
cause the molding to compress
and stretch. Eventually, it will
spring back to its original shape.
This could leave gaps along
the edges where it was
trimmed flush to the
surface and at the
joints where the
ends meet.

Trim the excess

Trim any excess with a razor
blade. A straight edge razor in
a holder, as shown, provides
the best control.

Warm up a tight bend

Use a hair dryer to install large profile
(thick) tee molding around tight corners.
A little added warmth makes tee
molding much more pliable. Consider
room temperature to be a
minimum for tee molding installation.
Cold molding just won’t cooperate
when you install it.

Make perfect butt joints

Cut molding about 1/2 inch longer
than needed. Then trim about 1/4 inch
off the barbs at each end. Install one
end and overlap the other.
Cut through both layers with a utility
knife and a straight edge. Keep the
knife at 90 degrees to ensure a square
cut and a tight joint.
Voila! A perfect joint.


Note: Product availability and prices are subject to change.

Outwater Plastics Industries, Inc.,, 800-631-8375, 25’
minimum order. Size of slot cutter specified for each
molding. A complete cutter assembly includes the arbor
and a slot cutter.There are nine different sizes
slot cutters that use the same arbor.

Woodworkers Hardware,, 800-383-0130, One size slot cutter assembly (basic T- edging (13/16″ — almond, black, brown, tan,
and white. 1-1/2″ — almond and white). The 13/16″ is available
in 25 foot rolls.The 1-1/2″
comes in 50 foot rolls.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker May 2007, issue #128.



May 2007, issue #128


Purchase this back issue.

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