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Routing body for binding

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I used a router table and two different bits.

I took the bearing from a 1/4" flush cutting bit and put that on a 3/8" flush cutting bit. Do some quick math... that gives you a 1/16" rabbet.

Basically, you could use any undersized bearing the same way and cut a rabbet of any depth or size that you may want. :D

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If anyone has a spare 3/8" bearing, I'll happily take it off your hands.  B)

Couldn't find one around here.  :D


Greg, find any profile cutting bit with a 1/4" shank, such as a 45 degree profile, roundover, ovolo etc, and take the bearing of that. Slip it onto your 1/2" flush trim bit, and voila - binding bit. Most hardware stores carry a cheap router bit selection, which contains both the bits you need, though usually not of the best quality.

ASM - I do it before I carve, though there a few elaborate jigs which allow you to do it afterwards. You can't do it from the back - you'd need a cutted with a 3 inch shank...

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Henrik, I just cut binding channels on the top and back of a Les Paul style guitar I'm making. I used a Dremel tool with bases purchased from Stewmac. I used the regular router base on the back because the back was flat, but had to use a special binding cutter for arched tops because I was stupid and carved the top before cutting the binding channel. :D

BTW, Stewmac has a good binding tutorial on their website now. Using a Dremel tool may not be ideal as it isn't the most powerful tool, but I went slowly and took off only a little at a time.

Here is the base I used to cut the back binding channel.


Here is the binding cutter I used for the top. It was scary to use due to the small area actually in contact with the body. If the routerbase has the stability of a 4 wheel drive vehicle, the binding cutter is like a unicycle.


Here are some pics of the results. Here is the back channel.


Here is a picture of the top channel.


Here you can see both channels.


Here is a sample of the top binding just taped in place. It is a 7 layer binding. The back will have a 5 layer binding of the same style.


Hope this helps! Good luck.

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Thanks to everyone for your advices!

johnsilver, very nice of you to post these pictures. Explains a lot! I'm not going for the Dremel, but it inspired me to maybe build a little addon to my own bigger handheld router. Luckily i'm only planning on routing channels on a flat top. Looks like a great job!

Did you route the recessed ledge for the control cavity plate free hand? With the Dremel? Probably not..

Did you have problems with the thin top maple veneer splitting/chipping when routing the channel?


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Henrik, thanks.

I made two templates out of 1/2 inch MDF for the back cavity. You could use Baltic Birch plywood or something similar. One was shaped for the cavity itself, which included room for the cavity screws, and one was shaped basically the same as the cavity plate cover. First I used the cavity template and my router with a pattern cutting bit to form the cavity to the depth I needed, then I used the second template and routed only to the depth of the plate cover. The result is a deep cavity with a ledge on which the plate rests and room for the screws. Hope this is clear. It seems my explanation is poor. Let me know and I will post a pic of the templates. I used a Gibson back cavity plate as a guide to make the templates.

I didn't have any trouble with tearout on the end grain of the maple - luckily. I followed the suggestions on the Stewmac binding tutorial that addressed this issue. BTW, that isn't maple veneer on the top. It is a piece of 5/8" thick flame maple that has been carved. It is thick in the middle and thin at the edges, so I guess it looks like maple. The back has a similar piece of flame maple on it but it isn't carved so you can see the thickness at the edge.

Here it is.

Stewmac binding tutorial

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