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Binding Help/advice Sought


al heeley
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I have had a search thru the forums but not found much info on binding. I want to add some cream binding round the perimeter of the guitar body for my new project, solid mahogany single cut stained dark, but will be left natural/oiled.

Do i need a mini-router + Stew-Mac special jig for cutting the channel or is there another way? I have a full size router but its a big heavy piece of kit.

Any tips or guidance appreciated. I don't want anything fancy, just a single cream binding strip maybe 3-5mm wide. Thanks!

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3-5mm wide!?

Is height, or width? Standard LP style binding is 1.5mm wide and 6mm (.25") tall. The rebate for 1.5mm binding can be cut very cheaply by swapping the bearings on 2 very common router cutters. If you have a generic router cutter set (as often provided with a router) it will contain a flush trim (laminate) bit, and a few different profile bits (roundover, bevel, ovolo etc). Swap the profile bearing with the flush trim bearing and voila - binding cutter.

Credit to John Catto for this excellent tip.

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6mm high will be ok, 3mm wide would be perfect. I got a pack of assorted bits with the router, 4 of them have the bearing sleeves on them, I've used the round-over bit, it works well. I'll check when I get home but I'm pretty sure all the bearing collars on my bits are the same diameter so this handy hint will not work.

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3mm is *hugely thick*. I don't know where you'd get binding that chunky, let alone how you'd bend it around the horn of a tele without stress fractures (to see what I mean look at the horn of most Gibson LPs - nasty white stress lines in the binding at the very tip of the horn).

As I said, 1.5mm is pretty much standard give or take .5mm or so.

Edit:

Ok seems stew mac carry a .120 inch binding, which is prettymuch exactly 3mm. I still don't think it'll look approprate, but that's your call not mine. You'll have to find another way to cut the channel, maybe a rebating bit with a 'tyre' for the bearing. I've turned PVC tyres for custom binding sizes, but that won't be possible without a lathe.

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I got this from stew-mac:

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_...uter_Guide.html

You need very steady hands and a dremel. I have had some good results from it, but it definatly has a knack to it, not my favorite purchase.

I recently got these from them:

http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Special_...er_Bit_Set.html

Very easy to use and fits in a standard router and i have sizes for almost any binding/purfling. It only really works on flat top guitars so i route and install the binding beforehand if i intend on carving the top.

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Wez, try knocking one of these together and mounting it on a flat work board - it lets you cut binding channels after you've shaped the top, which removes less material, and puts less strain on your cutter - which produces cleaner channelsand prolongs cutter life on expensive specialist bits!

All it does is lift the router base 2.5" above the worktop, the poor mans overhead router :D

carve_with_jig.jpg

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3 mm would be heck-O-chunky binding. I never use thicker than .09" myself. Actually most of my binding is wood and I prefer to work with thinner (in the .04"-.06" range- it just bends better) binding and stack it with perfling or stack it with fine line black and white on the edges (very clean and tight looking IMO).

If you have a carved top. A jig as Setch suggested is a real good idea. It will keep your router perpendicular to the body for an even route. I have a slightly different set up (overly complex-Setch's is better).

Peace,Rich

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Actually most of my binding is wood and I prefer to work with thinner (in the .04"-.06" range- it just bends better) binding and stack it with perfling or stack it with fine line black and white on the edges (very clean and tight looking IMO).

Rich, do you use wood laminates for the B-W layers, or plastic?

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I'm not Rich, but I do play him on TV.

I've got a real liking for wooden purfling/binding, and find commonly available .5mm veneer looks pretty nice as purfling. 1.5mm constructional veneer makes nice binding stock. If you want finer than .5mm purfling lines you can use a well setup plane to slice very even, fine layers off a blank of the correct size for your needs.

This is a Pau Ferro & Curly maple purfling with dyed sycamore binding on a current build:

DSCN8394.jpg

I used a very similar scheme on my June GOTM, but with a wenge binding strip made up of 3 thicknesses of .5mm veneer.

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Setch, your router jig is excellent, I'll try get something similar knocked up this weekend, but my router is a big heavy fat thing, looking at your pic all I see is lots of potential flex in the platform. Do you get it to stay quite rigid?

Touchstone have some 6mm x 2mm cream binding that will do me nicely, each post the binding is getting thinner...!

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each post the binding is getting thinner...!

Well - keep posting and you'll save yourself a headache :D

The router shown is a trend T5 - 1/4" collet, pretty light. Use good quality ply and don't hang the thing out too far and you should be OK. I think that was good grade marine ply I used, nice and rigid. Worst case, go thicker, or beef up the edges with a bit of aluminium angle section.

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I'm not Setch, but I am a Setch wanna be :D

I use my own Maple/Ebony sometimes(although only if I don't have pre-cut fine fiber on hand). I find fiber is a great choice though. It's whites are quite brilliant, and in general it bends better and is much more stable. The only fiber I use though is fine line (.01-.02") anything wider is generally my own binding (it is much cheaper to make your own). Oh.... I find fiber also miters better (cuts smoother).

Peace,Rich

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Yeah i have see that one before. I dont use many jigs though, i havnt got anything against them its just my woodwork goes to pot very quickly on anything that isnt guitar shaped :D

Also i am not doing much body binding at the moment, much prefering my accent lines:

14_08_06_1422.jpg

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yes thats beautiful. Is that the prs-type faux binding made by masking/sealing the edge before staining?

The clues in the pickup cavity!!!

...

A thin wenge veneer and thick maple veneer stuck down before the top is glued on.

The top is cranberry coloured acrilicized (SP!!) maple from gallery hardwoods so i havnt had to dye anything to get that colour and the lines are sharper than anything i would get if i took dye near a guitar.

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