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Bending Wooden Binding?

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I'm sure it's covered in a previous thread, but searching for "binding" and "wood" at the same time seems to get me, well, 90% of the threads here.

I've worked with plastic binding with some success.

I used some ebony binding from LMI (the 1/4" by .08 stuff, with a thin basswood lam on the bottom) on some fretboards. I have a whole bunch left, partly because I buy a little extra of everything "just in case" and partly because I screwed up.

But I'm loving the look of this stuff, and the look of a lot of the wood binding on guitars I've seen around here.

So I'm going to try and bind my current project with it. I should have enough for two guitars. Which means probably not enough at all considering I've never experimented with wooden binding. But I figure I'll have it a go, I imagine the worse thing that can happen is I have to go back to plastic binding. Hopefully it works out well enough, and I just buy more of this stuff to finish the job.

But anyway - I'm planning on just practicing away at bending, see what happens - I'm concerned that I may have set myself for a difficult first wooden binding task, as my treble horn is a rather sharp curve. (Not as bad as a strat or a tele, I don't think, though.) Anyone have any tips to share? Can I wet it, and then heat it with a hand iron or a heat gun and then bend against the guitar? Or is a side-bender type of deal a real necessity? does anyone sell a side-bender type device sized just for binding? Again, this is all just experimental - I'm not certain I want to spend a lot of money on the tools for this (there's so many other guitarpentry tools I'd rather spend money on!) But any tips anyone has for a beginer with wood binding would help. Most of the bending tips I've seen have been for side-bending, is this still applicable, or is side-bending an entirely different task?

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i actually just went through bending some ebony for my current project. its an RG syle body, so i was very concerned about getting the ebony to bend into the tight radius of the upper and lower horns. same size as yours, 1/4" by .08, got mine from stew mac though. i made a homemade "hot pipe" with a 200 watt lightbulb and a soup can. althought it worked for what i needed, i later used just a regular heat gun, and had almost better results. just make sure to wet the ebony very well, and crank away with the heat gun. dont force it, just apply some pressure and feel the wood bend.

also, i have no binding or bending experience whatsoever, just basic woodworking knowledge. i didnt break one piece bending the two pieces for the inner radius on the horns. just take your time and dont rush it, you'll be fine.

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Adrock pretty much nailed it. Take your time. Bend it against a pipe or solid surface. Let the wood get to temp. and apply gental pressure (don't force the bend, wait till it softens). make use of water/team to get the heat deep in the wood. Hold the wood in place until it cools (it will spring back a bit). Try not to over bend. I find it better to have a slight under bend(although bend is very close) to the pieces. This way all the force being applied with binding tap is pulling the binding to the body. If you overbend the bend will suck up tight and then want to roll back away from the body(which is harder to pull in evenly). I generally try to use thinner( as in .02 or so) multiple layers when using wood for tight bends(much easier to work).


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