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First binding instalations need a fix.

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First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Bob Howell » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:03 am

I'm building my first two guitars and have started on the bindings, It is not going well, too many gaps!! So 1st to fix it. I know steam, so I tried putting on a teapot and heating up an area at a time. But this does not look good for the guitar. So much moisture. At this point tape does not work well so I'm using light bar clamps on short sections at a time. I put on a coat of shellac to protect the wood before cutting the channels, so it has some protection.

I used hhg all the way, so I can easily fix it. At this point I'm wondering if I should just remove it. I installed two strips of perfling at the same time. It is in better shape.

In the future I will do a better job of fitting but that's another story.
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Brian Evans » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:47 am

what material for the binding, what kind of glue? You can coat with shellac and glue to it, glue sticks as well to shellac as it does to wood, as a rule. I would never use steam to try to bend wooden bindings on the guitar itself, if that is what you are doing. Wooden bindings, in my experience, have to be fitting perfectly before you get the glue out, which is why I use celluloid... :) My go-to if things start to suck is to step away from the guitar, take 10 minutes out, and figure out how to re-do it, not how to fix a bad job in the middle of said bad job. My current build, I made two necks, I cut the fingerboard off the first one, and I routed the binding off the back when I got the side heights wrong and had to redo the leveling.

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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Bob Gramann » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:01 pm

I use hhg to do my wooden bindings. I bend the bindings on a pipe and install them a piece at a time as they come off the pipe while they are still relatively flexible. Letting them harden a couple of hours makes the job much more difficult. The binding tape sold by LMI and StewMac is plenty strong to hold it in place. When I remove the tape, if I find any gaps, I moisten the area and heat it with a small iron to push it into place. (I stole the iron from my son who used to use it to shrink mylar on the planes he built.) I like to use EIR for the bindings. It bends easily, but if it breaks while bending, I can cut a scarf joint there and go on. The scarf joint is virtually invisible and allows the binding to be made up of smaller pieces that are easier to handle. I cut my bindings from EIR planks most recently purchased from Gilmore woods. I'm not sure what I'll use when those are gone.

John Greven had an article in the GAL magazine quite a while ago that showed how he cut his purfling channels after the binding is installed. I like his system and often use it when I'm going to have purfling. One of its advantages is that small gaps disappear when they become part of the purfling channel.

All that said, as easy as it seems it ought to be, I find that binding a guitar is more difficult and bit by bit fussy than I would like it to be.
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Todd Stock » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:44 pm

Channels milled with the SM and LMII bits, the Williams jig, and cleanup with a cutting gauge on the upper back where the slope will reduce channel depth by 10-15 thou. Fox-bend binding with side purfs, making sure to break the edge (outer-upper and inner-lower) for good fit. Tail block end joints on binding and purfs cut before install, and the neck-end joint cut on glue-up to avoid having to estimate the additional length needed with glue, etc. Binding/purfs go on with fish (good tack and very long open time), taped on with strapping tape (shoot a coat of shellac on the body prior to milling the binding channels to eliminate fiber tear-out from tape), then use the long rubber bands on a tie-down jig (3/4" ply at net shape for body, deck screw every inch, and 1/4" cork at edge of body...1/2" wide works well). The bands apply a few hundred pounds of pressure and bring the binding into even the worst-to=bind sections (like Florentine back binding in the cut) to accommodate dome of back or top.

Yes - more fixtures, but have not had even a hint of trouble with gaps, etc. in the decade since going to this approach. Archtops get a higher cork rim, but bind up the same.
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000C Top Bound2.jpg
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Bob Howell » Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:34 pm

omloosebindings.jpg
This is what I'm fixing. Bindings were bent on pipe and then side binder to smooth out; about half is good. HHG used so Steam will losen it.

Rosewood binding I made with b/w side perfling. I can cut off more.

Do I have to cut it all out with router or repair?
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Peter Wilcox » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:02 pm

I see the problem as being that you're trying to fit a length of binding into a channel that is just a little shorter than the binding. I think if you can completely loosen one end of the binding/purfling up through the gap, and then reglue it from that point to the end, it will close that gap. Then you'll have to cut just a little off the end to get it to fit again.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Bob Howell » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:10 pm

I'm looking for the best way to do that. Tried steam but stopped. Now thinking of heated knife or hot rag combo.
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Bob Gramann » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:40 pm

Dampen (put a few drops of water on it and wipe it off) it a bit and use the edge of a hot iron. Loosen it and make it shorter so it will fit as Peter suggested.
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Bob Howell » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:13 am

Thanks, I'll try this
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Todd Stock » Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:03 am

A model airplane covering iron works well for local heating...wet paper towel can provide the moisture reservoir.
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Bob Howell » Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:36 am

Todd Stock wrote:A model airplane covering iron works well for local heating...wet paper towel can provide the moisture reservoir.

Looked one up on Amazon. Looks like a soldering iron I have with a nifty shoe stuck on the end.

Back to my roots.
I started off building and flying model airplanes in the 50's
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Brian Evans » Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:12 am

I find the waist of the binding the hardest part to get perfect. Next time I do wood bindings I will probably start with fixing the waist in place perfectly, and then pulling the binding around the upper and lower bout curves. I use CA glue, so I get a great bond with about 30 seconds of pressure over around 3" and then move on to the next section. You could almost bend the outside curves right on the guitar, using one of those model airplane irons.
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Bob Howell » Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:38 pm

Todd Stock wrote:Channels milled with the SM and LMII bits, the Williams jig, and cleanup with a cutting gauge on the upper back where the slope will reduce channel depth by 10-15 thou. Fox-bend binding with side purfs, making sure to break the edge (outer-upper and inner-lower) for good fit. Tail block end joints on binding and purfs cut before install, and the neck-end joint cut on glue-up to avoid having to estimate the additional length needed with glue, etc. Binding/purfs go on with fish (good tack and very long open time), taped on with strapping tape (shoot a coat of shellac on the body prior to milling the binding channels to eliminate fiber tear-out from tape), then use the long rubber bands on a tie-down jig (3/4" ply at net shape for body, deck screw every inch, and 1/4" cork at edge of body...1/2" wide works well). The bands apply a few hundred pounds of pressure and bring the binding into even the worst-to=bind sections (like Florentine back binding in the cut) to accommodate dome of back or top.

Yes - more fixtures, but have not had even a hint of trouble with gaps, etc. in the decade since going to this approach. Archtops get a higher cork rim, but bind up the same.

What are you using for the rubber band. It wins the prize for style.

I know inner tube and pond liner strips were popular but what better options are available now.

I assume the cork is to protect the bow of the side next to plywood.
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Todd Stock » Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:42 am

Rubber bands are from SM - a lb for about $22, which is enough to do a guitar...these last a few years before atmospheric degradation does them in. Unlike rope or tape, the force exerted is constant and - as long as the glue allows some movement - will pull things in nicely.

The bands are the best option I've found, after bungee cords, inner tubes, exercise bands and lots of other stuff...with 2-1/4" deck screws on the fixture, there is room for as many wraps as necessary to pull in even the most recalcitrant stretch of binding. To repeat - we just do not see gaps or wide spots in bindings with any of the binding schemes or cutaway styles we build.

We use cork sheets from Staples - about 6mm thickness, cut to 1/2" width and shaped to the contour of the body...we fix this to the base with medium CA. When binding the top, there's no real need for shims, and for binding the back, a few 1/8" or 3/16" cork shims (prob 3mm and 4mm material) works well in the upper bout area...insert prior to banding.

Cutaway fixtures are made to flip (two screws hold the fixture to a 1-1/4" x 3-1/2" x 6" piece of poplar that clamps into a repair vise and gives working room around the entire setup. Work the waist first, which cinches up the binding in the most problematic area, then work out from there to move to the neck and tail areas. Cutaways get a couple of small HDPE blocks under the bands if needed to prevent any tendency to twist, but most go in without trouble. While there is usually a lot of force applied to the body, it is oriented such that it's not a problem if the body is supported.

For arch tops, we use an additional 1/2" or so ply ring glued to the base to allow a deeper carve to be clamped...a layer of cork gets glued to this ring to cushion the work. Fully carved back and top are easier to clamp than flattops due to the constant side with, so no shims needed when working the back.

The downsides to to the system:

- Needs a base plate for every body, and it's worth while to make up a solid and cut base (although the cut base works OK for full body, the full body does not work as well for a cut).

- Only one plate is bound at a time, and fish or hide needs to dry overnight where there is some twist or edge-set in the binding.
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Doug Shaker » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:15 pm

Todd-

Can you show a few close-ups showing how you use the cork, top and back, please? Your previous photo of the base plate makes all else
obvious and I think I know what you mean about the cork usage, but I'm not sure.

Looks way better than what I do, though.

-Doug Shaker
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Bob Howell » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:55 pm

Ordered the rubber bands from SM today. Starting on the holder now.

HHG sounds like it will dry too fast. Do folks add urea. Saw a caution about it creeping. Maybe add more water and do half a side at a time. In no real rush.
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Barry Daniels » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:18 pm

HHG is challenging for bindings, especially for a beginner. I like to use fish glue for binding because the open time is very long. You can have the glue bead exposed to air for 30 minutes and it is still good to go.
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Bob Gramann » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:19 pm

I do 3 or 4 inches of binding at a time with the hide glue, taping tight as I go. No additives. If I don't get a segment down in time, I just add some more glue. HHG reactivates itself and you can easily wipe up the squeeze out.
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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Todd Stock » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:37 am

Fish is easier for binding for folks the have not done much hide, and the long, long open time makes final fitting of the back's neck butt joint doable on the body. Hide can be used for binding, and with a little warming after the bindings are on and the bands in place, will provide the same degree of movement where the glue un-gels and allows the glue line to thin. The advantage that Fish has is that it takes 30-45 minutes to dry enough to resist thinning of the glue line...and that thinning is what we want. Titebond - besides drying too fast - does not allow the long open or closed/not set time that fish does, so the only time I use it is when binding with cellulose nitrate/wood/fiber combos, and even then, I am more apt to use CA.

The shots cover the variations - for a full body 00 14 fret body built as either an archtop (e.g., guitar-shaped octave mandolin) or flattop, a ply riser and cork layer on the rim works, while if the fixture will always be used for flattops, cork alone is good enough, The shims seen in one shot are to handle the smaller radius on the back of some guitars - we have a box of 1/16", 1/8". and 1/4" material to shim where needed - takes 30 seconds to get the shims set once the box goes on the fixture. Shims are not needed for the top (i.e., when binding the back) with a typical 25-30 foot radius.

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Re: First binding instalations need a fix.

Postby Doug Shaker » Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:06 pm

Thanks. That makes it clear. I didn't quite have it right and this helps a lot!

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