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Bending Wood Bindings


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I am looking to get some wood bindings, either from Stew Mac or LMI, however I can not find solid evidence that says whether or not I can bend the binding around the body of the guitar without cracking it. I do not own a wood bending set up, so that is out of the question. Even those two websites have vague details about non heated bending. Any input?

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I have no direct experience with this BUT !!

the other day at the timberyard I was trading stories with a canny old craftsman who makes clocks and he uses a LOT of binding.

while we were talking he showed me on a piece of binding he had in his hand... he held it hanging by its end and pointed out all the natural curves, he said that he always bends the natural curves the opposite way around a radius immediately before a tighter radius - if that makes sense, I.E - in a figure 8 he would use the natural curve in its opposite radius at the bottom of he 8 (the longest circumference) and then the wood will naturally want to curve around the tighter radius at the top - if that makes sense..

anyway, he didnt say that he steamed the wood, he just said that he wet it !

good luck.

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I have no direct experience with this BUT !!

the other day at the timberyard I was trading stories with a canny old craftsman who makes clocks and he uses a LOT of binding.

while we were talking he showed me on a piece of binding he had in his hand... he held it hanging by its end and pointed out all the natural curves, he said that he always bends the natural curves the opposite way around a radius immediately before a tighter radius - if that makes sense, I.E - in a figure 8 he would use the natural curve in its opposite radius at the bottom of he 8 (the longest circumference) and then the wood will naturally want to curve around the tighter radius at the top - if that makes sense..

anyway, he didnt say that he steamed the wood, he just said that he wet it !

good luck.

Jayden, I don't follow what you are saying exactly. I am assuming the joints would still be at the butt and at the neck?

Just wetting bindings will work if you are making large radius bends, and the wood is able to handle the pressure(and of course the glue holds). Heat IS the way to set wood into a new shape permenantly. You should cut some strips of binding and just try to tape them in place around a guitar body. First using only water and then give heat a try. It is not dificult to heat and bend wood.

Peace,Rich

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no, this guy showed me a figure of 8 that would fit into the soundhole of many acoustics - Like I say, I have no direct experience of this other than meeting the guy, I have his details written down on a piece of paper in the truck - its parked over the road so ill did them out tomorrow.

all I can say is im relaying information from that was coming at me at 100mph :D he was a real enthusiast and craftsman that made grandmother clocks out of burr timbers etc.

I can understand if this info was of no help at all - all I can recall is the info itself and the speed I had to absorb it at :D

good luck.

Jaden

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no, this guy showed me a figure of 8 that would fit into the soundhole of many acoustics - Like I say, I have no direct experience of this other than meeting the guy, I have his details written down on a piece of paper in the truck - its parked over the road so ill did them out tomorrow.

all I can say is im relaying information from that was coming at me at 100mph :D he was a real enthusiast and craftsman that made grandmother clocks out of burr timbers etc.

I can understand if this info was of no help at all - all I can recall is the info itself and the speed I had to absorb it at :D

good luck.

Jaden

That is cool. I am curious. I know that he did not take .06-.08" Ebony or Figured Maple wet them and just twist them into a couple 1" radius circles* figure 8 that would fit in a soundhole (that will not happen without them snapping), I have bent thin(.02-.03") binding for rosettes with minimal heat(mainly just warm water), but I actually use the spring back to my advantage to get a tight fit. You should definatly give bending a try even if it is just using some scrap for the heck of it. I really get a kick out of the process of bending.

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Well bending wood dry is no problem if it's real thin and a flexible sort of wood. I mean if you're using green yew or something you can tie it in knots, but not so with other woods. As others havae noted you should build/buy a bending iron and stem bend your bindings. It's not that hard after a bit of practice, so don't worry about it too much.

One thing I must absolutely stress from my own first experiences with wood binding is to be very careful with your wood selection. I started out trying to do bloodwood because I think it looks awesome but I couldn't get a radius tighter than about 6" before I'd break it as the wood is quite brittle. Also it scorches very easily, so even if I managed to bend it enough it would be so charred that after scraping it off like a burnt piece of toast there was nothing left.

Then I tried rosewood. Hallaleuja that was easy! Get that wood up to temp, a little steam, and BAM you can bend anything down to about 2" without trying too hard if you're patient and don't rush it. I determined rosewood likes radii larger than 1.5" (my horns are 1" diameter! I broke a TON of binding sticks before it worked).

There are other woods with bendable reputations, but in my experience rosewood is a great starter.

Dave

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