Thursday, August 27, 2009

Binding Wrap

Wood bindings can leave more gaps in the gluing than plastic bindings, so there's two things I need to deal with this: twill tape, and super glue (with accelerant).

I use the same blue painters tape to glue the bindings, but the wood's resistance can be stronger than the tape's adhesive, so to try to make the binding as tight as possible the guitar gets wrapped in some twill material.

I went to JoAnn's Fabrics last year and bought about 100 yards, though they didn't have 100 yards in any one color, so I got three different colors and tied them together. I think I was the only guy in the cloth material department. Maybe the only guy in the whole store. I kept resisting the urge to say, "I'm building a guitar. In a workshop. With, you know, power tools and stuff. Definitely not making a dress or anything. Working with wood and sharp tools."

Probably no one would believe me anyway.

So here's what the guitar looks like all wrapped up:

Some guys are able to do this in such a way that the wrapping looks beautifully symmetrical, almost like art.

I am not. I blame it on the cutaway.

That's my new theme. I'm blaming everything on the cutaway.

So that gets a good overnight dry, and I do the top binding. In spite of my efforts, there is still some gaps, mainly around the waist and the cutaway.

Here's where super glue and accelerant comes in. I loosen the binding in the area where the gap occurs so that it's flexible again and can be pushed flush to the body.

A couple of drops of super glue, spray the accelerant, and push like crazy! (Wearing rubber gloves, of course.) After ten seconds, the glue has cured and there's no gap.


So what's left is to scrap and sand the bindings. This is sweaty work, but in the end I'm pleased with the result.

Here's the top (it's been sprayed with a light coating of shellace to protect the light spruce from the dust of the rosewood, which can stain it):

Here's the cutaway, and you can see how I've mitered the b/w/b purfling. Takes a lot of trial and error to sneak up on the right fit, but I think it turned out pretty well:

And here's a view of the back and one side. Clark and I made a good decision to go with the rosewood bindings rather than the black ebony. The ebony would have been nice, but the rosewood bindings match better.

The bindings are the most harrowing part of the process, in my opinion, but a good binding job really looks nice.

Glad to be done with it though.


  1. Larry,
    Things are looking great! I like the contrast the rosewood bindings set up against the zebrawood. I also like the purfling on the back. What are your thoughts on finish?

    Fred B

  2. Hey Fred,

    I'm going to use Z-Poxy to seal and fill the pores. After that it's up to Clark as to the type of finish. On the last guitar we used Tru-Oil on the neck and an acrylic urethane on the body. It gave a nice hard and shiny finish that cured almost overnight. The guy I made it for owns a body shop and I'm pretty sure he'll let me use his spray booth again.

  3. That's great you have a spraying facility available for your use. I used Tru-Oil on the neck of my first build and am very pleased with it. I will more than likely use it on my next one as well. Looking forward to seeing the finished guitar.

    Fred B

  4. At Vermont Instruments we used Tru-oil on the entire guitar, and it turned out nice. Can't get a gloss finish with it, but the satin finish is nice, and you can't beat how easy it is--or safe.

    What kind of finish have you used?