Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Questions about tools and jigs you want to buy/build/modify.
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DJ Parker
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Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by DJ Parker »

Hello All,

Well, some time back I built an articulating binding machine from some Blues Creek plans and have been fairly happy with it in my limited guitar building life. As you know, it has the extending arm and swivel base and the router rotates around the guitar. I have found that it has its pros and cons.

I was always curious about the machine that is stationary where the router rides up and down on an assembly so I built one of those as well. What else can you do with scraps of MDF and feel somewhat accomplished at the end of the day? Anyway, there it stands ready for a trial. Here are my initial thoughts on both machines:

Armed type:
1. Pro - This unit operates very smoothly and the arm takes the weight off of the router.
2. Con - Sawdust goes everywhere since you are revolving the router around the body.
3. Con - You have to 'get down there' and watch the unit going around the body and it does not stay perfectly vertical to the sides since there is an articulated carriage. You have to hold it vertical because in order to use it, the carriage has to be a little loose.
4. Con - Takes up more room.
5. Pro - Doesn't really matter what kind of body cradle you use as long as the sides are vertical.
6. Con - A bit unsafe with a gyrating router in your hands.
7. Pro - I put a drawer for bit and bearings.

Up and Down type:
1. Pro - Takes up little space.
2. Pro -Router shaft and cutter stay vertical.
3. Con - Carriage is too heavy to simply sit on the edge of the guitar so a counterweight or spring mechanism needs to be employed. You'll note a temporary counter weight on mine with little pulleys and approx 5 pounds of offsetting weight. Not a big deal.
4. Pro - It just feels safer. I mean, I slipped on the armed one and my thumb went right into the cutter (luckily on the tightening nut and not the bit).
5. Con - You need to build a cradle that won't get in the way as you turn the body around.
6. Pro - dust collection is possible with a stationary cutter.
7. Con - No place for bits or bearings...Have to get creative here.

I may end up selling the articulated machine in case anyone is interested.

Please feel free to chime in and thanks,

DJ
Attachments
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oldbind2.jpg
newbind1.jpg
newbind2.jpg

Matt Cushman
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Matt Cushman »

After you build a cradle for holding the instrument you can use the cradle for many other tasks. Both machines look well made. I like the vertical stationary type. I have a similar setup. I used springs to counter the router weight. I also think it is a lot safer for the operator. Thanks for showing us.

Bill Raymond
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Bill Raymond »

I built the "armed type" and really like it. I have no trouble keeping the router vertical. You must have too much play in your parallelogram carriage. I used 4 lengths of piano hinge; very little play or friction. I haven't found it to be a safety problem, though the sawdust does go "everywhere", but that's a minor problem. I like your addition of a drawer for router bits--I think I shall make the same modification one day.

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Mark Swanson
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Mark Swanson »

I have the vertical type. It works fine, but there is a limitation that bugs me at times. You MUST have the sides perfectly square to the table, or your route will be shallow in spots. This always is a problem for me.
  • Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff

Jedi Clampett
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Jedi Clampett »

do you know of any plans for binding machines?

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Jason Rodgers »

I built the extending arm ("Williams jig," right?) style and used it once so far. Worked fine, though I'll need to be careful how much pressure I put on the bearing next time: it put a dent/groove in the cherry all around the sides. I use a RIDGID lam trimmer.

Yes, thumbs-up on the little drawer you incorporated!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

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DJ Parker
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by DJ Parker »

Here is where I purchased the armed machine plans.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Binding-Fixture ... 566b6cce98

The vertical model I did myself based on the many examples out there.

Thanks,

DJ

Bill Raymond
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Bill Raymond »

Jedi, look here: http://www.newenglandluthiers.org/conte ... g_Jig.html
You'll find a link on that page to plans.

Joel Nowland
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Joel Nowland »

Here is the one I made and been using for 10+ years now.

Very simple, super strong, solid and smooth running.

Four linear bearing in an aluminum block riding on two hardened linear shafts mounted between two aluminum angle brackets. The guitar body is supported on four hard rubber lined, adjustable angle iron supports. The support are bolted down to inserts in the base and the supports adjust in and out and up and down to fit different guitar model body shapes. The body supports can bolted in different places around the support base for different models and for cutaway.

The router and the plate it's bolted to are easily switched out for different binding channel cuts.

Joel
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David King
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by David King »

I know I've mentioned this before here so I apologize in advance. When I visited Martin in 88, they had one guy cutting the channels by hand with a Dremel tool with a simple bearing guide attached. It took him about 5 seconds per edge x 4. He did have a cradle that held the body on edge. It's possible to do this job freehand with a little practice (or maybe a lot). Don't feel you absolutely need to own every jig out there to build a guitar.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Bob Gramann »

I've been cutting mine freehand with a laminate trimmer router with a doughnut base and the StewMac bit for nearly 100 guitars. You just need to hold the router straight up with the axis parallel to the side.

Randy Roberts
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Randy Roberts »

I agree with Bob and David, Free hand works fine. I built the extending arm parallelogram jig, but once it was made I realized I didn't really have any room to store it, and ended up cannibalizing it before it ever got used.

I prefer to use a downcutting spiral bit, so instead of the bearing I just have a piece of 1" dowel cut in half that rides the side and the router base adjusts in and out with a threaded rod to set the depth of cut in from the side. Donut of friendly plastic lets it ride flush to the top.

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Bryan Bear »

That's how I do it to Bob. Not nearly on 100 guitars though! Sometimes less is more.
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

Joel Nowland
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Joel Nowland »

It's true you can do it by hand with success. But having done it both ways the machine I built is much more precision especially with elaborate bindings and around the points of a cutaway.

I have the room and like building jigs, machines and tools almost as much as guitars. The big tail stock in the background is part of huge 800+ lb, 20" swing, variable speed wood lathe I built using heavy steel tubing.

Joel

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Bryan Bear »

I bet having room is the biggest factor in a makers attitude towards jigging. If my shop were larger than a small kitchen, I would probably have a lot more cool jigs than I do. . .
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

Patrick Hanna
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Patrick Hanna »

I've read through this thread several times. (Nice binding rigs, by the way). But I've failed to understand something which has come up in the thread: Why do you folks feel the vertical jig is safer than the armed machine? A router is always a potentially dangerous beast--I don't care how it's jigged up. We must be mindful of where our hands and fingers are at all times and we must be mindful of things that can go wrong, like slips, bind-ups, flying splinters, kick backs, etc. I can't see that one method is any safer than the other. I think it comes down to the methods and practices of the operator on either machine. What am I missing? This is a serious inquiry, as I am freakish about shop safety. Please respond.

Randy Roberts
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Randy Roberts »

One I can think of is the mobility.

With the armed type, between the lazy susan, the in and out of the beam tube, and the up and down of the parallelogram, it can come at you in three dimensions.

With the fixed type, you have to come at it to get bit.

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Among a few other things that didn't go so well on my first binding attempt was the bearing flying off! Made a funky "gggggnnnnnddddddd-TAK" sound, left a good ding in the side, and hit the opposite wall. This happened inside of 2 minutes of turning on the brand new lam trimmer and Grizzly bit set. Why do I mention this? Because I learned very fast to keep the cutting action on the other side of the guitar from my body. This orientation is possible with the arm type, but would be de facto with the vertical sliding type. I'd probably build one of those if I was going to do it again (still might consider butchering this one and reconfiguring).
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

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DJ Parker
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by DJ Parker »

Hello All,

I'd like to chime back in on this topic.
Why do you folks feel the vertical jig is safer than the armed machine?
This quote is from Patrick Hanna.
Well, I'm not 100% sure that it is. I mean, I used the armed jig a few times and have always felt a little uncomfortable with it. I like the concept of controlling the tool and the jig itself was fun to build but the bottom line is that I (we) all want a relatively easy way to ensure that we get a good, smooth cut. There so many variables; straight sides, straight router, ease of use, etc...I know it is a Ford vs. Chevy thing and to each his own on how that channel is cut but there are so many little steps that, when executed wrong, set you back. Binding is just one of them.

I had a mishap and was careless for a moment which nearly cost me the end of my thumb. Thankfully it was a close call but it pushed me to build the vertical model as a way to not have the tool in my hand. Maybe if I had built it differently.
I used 4 lengths of piano hinge;
This quote is from Bill Raymond and I would very much like to see a picture of his hinge application. Maybe Bill's design is a better method so the articulation isn't so loose feeling.

I am going to put the vertical model through its paces soon. I have it counterweighted right now but like the idea of using springs as another member mentioned so there is still some tweeking to do. I guess when you feel comfortable with the tools and the process you can concentrate on the guitar instead of worrying about each 'next step'. For example, I have never shot lacquer nor do I have the tools for it yet. That will be another Forum discussion.

Thank you all. Just sharing thoughts and knowledge here helps so much.
Happy Holidays,

DJ

Patrick Hanna
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Re: Binding Machines - Thoughts?

Post by Patrick Hanna »

Randy, Jason and DJ--Thanks for your replies. I see your point about moving the instrument into the bit and also keeping the instrument between one's self and the bit.

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