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Les Paul Custom Multi-ply Binding


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Stewmac.com has a number of different plastic bindings. As for laminated bindings, they have a couple like black/white/black and white/black/white and another one or two. If they don't have exactly the combo you desire, just make your own combo, its actually really easy. The plastic bindings will actually glue together with just some acetone. Just take a brush and dip it and then slide some on the binding and press it together. I recently did something like this as I wanted the outside binding to be fatter and white, while having a black/white/black on the inside. So, I bought some regular white binding and some b/w/b binding and glued them together.

Also Stewmac has a little binding laminator, but honestly there isn't much need as you can make your own for free and they are easy, plus there are different ways to do it. Here is mine, just made it in a couple minutes, found a bit that was the same width as the binding and it worked perfectly, its extremely simple and may seem stupid but it worked great and I was able to do much longer sections at a time. LMI is another place that has a number of different bindings, including some fiber wood type bindings which come in black and white like plastic. Best of luck. j

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No problem! However, I did just realize that the laminated black/white/black binding I bought actually came from LMI (Luthiers Mercantile International) and their site is www.lmii.com, stewmac doesn't carry any of the prelaminated plastic bindings, only the dyed wood fiber stuff. They carry regular black and white in different sizes, but LMI carries some prelaminated bindings which save you some work. Anyhow, best of luck with your project. J

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I just tried to laminate some bindings for the first time for a repair as I had no laminated binding matching the damaged one. I have always heard about this way of doing it and I made something really similar to JM’s jig. But I had some big troubles. My bindings came apart as I tried to get them out of the jig. And the bindings stuck better to the wooden jig than to the other binding. Had to cut the binding from the wood in one section!

Now to my question: How long do you let the acetone “soak” on the binding? I tried to brush it on and only felt like the acetone evaporated. So I kept brushing the bindings with acetone until the felt a bit sticky to the brush, pushed them hard together and waited an our and a half. Is that too short time? Any help here is really appreciated.

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Hmm, I'm not sure what happened. I basically take a glue brush dip it in the acetone and just brush a 6-8inch section and immediately place it into the jig. I have paper towel or rag on hand for any squeeze out since that will really soften it too much. After that I generally pull it out in a couple minutes and move down to the next section. Upon finishing the length I have glued I let it rest overnight to ensure its solid, though I know it takes much less time than that. The only problem I can think of is too much acetone and it ended up squeezing out into the channel and softened the outsides of the bindings, thus gluing it to the wood. It doesn't take much acetone really, one good swipe of the brush seemed enough, I could visually see some acetone on the binding and quickly squeezed them together into the jig. On my fretboard I used scraps of binding as my glue, I just put them into a glass jar with a lid with some acetone. It melted into a paste and I adjusted it to the right thickness and it made for excellent glue and seamless joints.

The piece of MDF I use for that jig, I had brushed with shellac because I wanted to avoid any MDF dust from getting into my binding. I doubt that would have anything to do with it though, it was just precaution for dust. If the binding stuck to the wood, then I think it was too much acetone squeeze out. Even if the acetone disappears from sight the binding generally should soften enough to glue up, it takes seconds for it to become soft and with how quickly acetone evaporates it should dry quickly as well. I would say try it again, use just a generic glue brush, dip in the acetone, maybe even tap some of the acetone off the brush then brush a 6-8 inch section and stick it in the jig and let it sit 3-5minutes, which should be plenty, pull it out carefully and move onto the next section. Try using very little acetone and after drying in saying 15 minutes, if it seems to come apart way too easy than use a bit more. Hopefully, that'll help some. I have another 50inch length of that same binding I need to do, so I'll try and take more pics and really detail the process. Best of luck and if I didn't answer everything, just ask and I hope it works out for you. Jason

PS: Out of curiousity, where did the binding come from? I've tried both Stewmacs and LMI stuff and they seem to work fine. I just mention this in case its a different type of material that doesn't take well to this type of process. As always there are other ways to do this, I just like it because you are not adding any extra material between the laminates, plus it goes nice and quickly once you have it down.

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Thanks a lot for the reply Jason.

I pretty much followed the same routine as you describe. I didn’t brush both sides that might of cause be an explanation. I thought that it might be easier to handle if i had only one side of the binding sticking to whatever it touched (minor problem as things turned out). I didn’t notice any squeeze out at all. As the bindings rather seemed to dry I can’t really imagine that would be a problem. But I’ll try the shellac trick for the next run.

I might even try an alternative material for the jig. I have same nylon/Teflon whatever board and I might as well rework the jig with that. Then the binding should hopefully not stick to that. And I will test if the material is affected with acetone first…

I used a combination of various bindings I had in the shop to make up for the slightly odd binding I’m trying to match. I think that the outside thicker one came from SM, and there was exactly the same (I think, it looks that way) multi binding you used from LMII in the3 middle and some e scrap I had that I shaved don to the correct, slightly thicker inner layer. The LMII binding seemed to be the one that softened the least when brushing acetone on it.

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