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Routing question...


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Hi all, Well, I have my Maple top on the body and I am happy with the way it turned out at this point, I want to put binding on the top, all the way around the body. It's a fender strat body and as we all know, it has a curved or tapered arm rest, the rest of the body is flat, I am worried about keeping the router level so that my channel is even and at the same depth all the way around. Any suggestions on a good method for this?

deshibs :D

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Should be fairly simple around most of the body and around the arm rest, the hardest part will be the bend going down on the arm rest.

I've never done it but I would probably adjust the router depth to come up short on that edge and then slowly work it down from layer to layer.

You might want to run a 2x4 across a table saw at an angle and then sand the edges to make up a mock bout and rest to practice on first just to see how the binding will take the bends.

I know you might also need to notch the binding a little from underneath so it can make that curve.

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I routed mine with a dremel, with the router base and edge guide from Stewmac. Although I didn't have a forearm contour, the dremel method worked fine; the router base doesn't take up much room on the top of the body, so you can use it to follow the contour, being very careful to stay perpendicular to the edge. This router guide takes up even less room on the top, but it looked to me like it was more difficult to keep straight, so I went with the first setup.

The dremel router bits aren't the best, so take a little off at a time, go around several times. If you take off too much, especially on the end grain with figured maple, you'll be looking at tear-outs.

Like Brian said, you may want to leave the channel a little small around the contour, then go back with a sharp 1/4" chisel by hand and shave it to the correct dimensions (I ended up having to do this at a few points anyway, even on a flat top). You'll need to try it on a piece of scrap anyway, so that you can measure the channel and make sure you've got the edge guide set up correctly.

To bend the binding, dip it in a large pot of boiling water for 10-20 seconds or so to soften it up, then quick press it into the channel and hold it there while it cools. You may need to do this a few times, but then it will be shaped to the shape of the contour and will glue in easier.

If you use the Stewmac binding glue (I did), it swells the binding. Wait a week or two before you scrape it clean as it will shrink back a little.

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