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Neck Binding--how To?


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I am binding a neck for the first time (frets over the binding--not Gibson style)and I am set on my fret tang clipper etc, I am more concerned with when to apply the binding and how to get the measurements correct.

This will be a Gibson scale neck that is 1 11/6 nut width. The fretboard has already been radiused to 12" (prepurchased that way). Do I trim the fretboard to sixe first, then bind and then glue to the neck or glue it to the neck and then route the binding channel with a rabetting bit or some combination thereof? I have only made ynbound necks thus far, so any help is appreciated.

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The big problem is keeping the router flat, which it cannot do on a pre-radiused board when cutting channels...at least, not without significant work involving other jigs. I would bind the board before fitting it to the neck, but I myself would rough carve the neck profile first in case your blank decides to move after removing material and potentially releasing internal tensions. You can re-true the face you'll glue the fingerboard to if this happens, and it can.

I prefer to radius a fingerboard after it's on the neck, but that is just me. There are as many opinions on the ordering of this process as there are builders ;-)

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I prefer to radius a fingerboard after it's on the neck

+1 on that. I glue the fretboard onto the neck blank, bindings already attached, trim the blank to the right taper, and carve the neck as close to the final shape as possible before i radius the fretboard

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I prefer to radius a fingerboard after it's on the neck

+1 on that. I glue the fretboard onto the neck blank, bindings already attached, trim the blank to the right taper, and carve the neck as close to the final shape as possible before i radius the fretboard

Thanks again! Unfortunately, I have a pre-radiused fretboard picked out by the customer. Another member said to taper cut the board first, gue on the binding, glue to the neck blank and use the fretboard as the bearing guide when trimming the neck to size. What do you all think?

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Keep the back of the neck blank uncarved, flip the blank upside down, place the router on the back of the still flat neck and use a laminate trimmer bit with the bearing running against the fretboard binding. Stabilise the neck + fretboard with clamps or something like that

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I think I tried something like this once, but can't recall how well it went. If you use router rails, and you prob up the ends of the rails, so that the router doesn't actually sit on your work, you can do it. It's a mess of a set up, but hey.

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Yeah. Thats the kind of job which should make you start to question why you're buying preradiused fingerboard when binding the board when a radiusing block is a few bucks! ;-)

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It's not that we're criticising the use of a pre-radiused board, however the re-arrangement of procedures (radiusing after mounting on a neck blank) simplifies a lot of subsequent procedures and potentially avoids issues further down the line. Despite a pre-radiused board being convenient in some circumstances, it does have its own problems such as binding, which you have found. :D

Getting back to the original question, you would be better off binding the board before you mount to the neck. You just need to make sure that your neck won't pull the board out of whack if it moves, as that can totally undermine the advantages of a pre-radiused board in the first place.

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Yup, don't get me wrong, just wanted to push that there are IMHO better ways to do this job.

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Yup, don't get me wrong, just wanted to push that there are IMHO better ways to do this job.

Thanks, everyone! I have ordered an unradiused board through LMII--I can use the radiused for another build. I will NOT be fretting/binding Gibson style with the "nibs", but rather bringing the fret top over the binding. Any tips would be appreciated.

So, Binding before gluing to the neck, eh? I was hoping to mount the FB, then use a router table and bit to take away the excess for binding. I'd like to heard agruments both ways...

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No "argument" to be had really. It's just a sequence of steps which luthiers tend to adopt depending on their preferred techniques, tools and the demands of the project at hand. I prefer my own steps and other luthiers their own, although a basic logic underpins it all; there are specific pitfalls which experience leads you to avoid.

Some very respectable luthiers actually bind and completely fret their fingerboards before mounting them to necks. You really need to be in control of what is happening to get that down pat though, in my opinion. The first step in avoiding a trap is knowing of its existence, to quote Thufir Hawat.

I wrote a tutorial on how I tackle semi-hemispherical fretwork, which in hindsight I could do with updating on a couple of points. The basis of that idea - tang nibbling and a degree of "pre-fit dressing" - might actually help you achieve your aims. Hackjob Semi-Hemi Fretwork :D

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So, Binding before gluing to the neck, eh? I was hoping to mount the FB, then use a router table and bit to take away the excess for binding. I'd like to heard agruments both ways...

That's how I do it. I bind before gluing to the neck.

Just keep in mind that when you glue the binding to the sides of a slotted FB, glue will want to go into your fret slots. You'll have to clean them carefully while glue is still soft or better still, use something to fill the slots that will be easily removed later. I was thinking about trying a bit of paraffin at the slots ends for my next build with wood binding.

Now, if you were going to do it the Gibson way (with the nibs) there aren't many alternatives to radiusing, fretting, binding all before gluing the FB to the neck.

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