Guitar Making Tip Number 877 is about installing your binding strips. Most instructions have you installing them all at once. Though it takes longer, installing them one at a time or in stages can be much easier. Here is how.
Gluing Down Binding Strips
Most guitars that have more than one binding strip will have three. When you have to glue them all down, it can be a little on the difficult side. The struggle can be even more if you did not bend the strips well before gluing.
As in all things, the preparation and execution of one step tends to determine how well the next step will go. A well performed previous step can mean that the next step goes much easier.
When you are attaching the binding strips, getting them as close to perfect before gluing them in place is a huge help. It’s difficult enough to complete this process, so there is no need to make it harder by having to wrestle the pieces into place due to poor bending. Spend the time getting your bends right, and the next step in the process will make binding your guitar even easier still…
Bind Your Guitar One Strip at a Time
It is going to take more time, but binding your guitar one layer at a time will help. Not only is the process easier, but it’s also less stressful, and the results are cleaner. When you bind one strip at a time, several things happen that make the process better.
First, you are going to have a much easier time working the purfling strips in place without the binding and the other strips in the way. Especially in the case of very thin black/white purfling, it’s very easy to wrap this around the body.
Next, installing the strips one at time gives you a better chance to seat the strips completely in their rabbets. It’s a shame to see gaps in a binding design, because it’s a simple matter of pressing the strip all the way down. It’s not lack of skill that causes gaps. It’s simply not seeing it because you are so focused on everything else that’s going on when you are trying to wrestle three strips in at once.
Scrape or Block Sand Each Strip
One thing that will add a little time to the process is sanding. However, it needs to be done in order to get the best look from your binding strips. After you glue in the first strip, you are going to have some glue squeeze out that happens. Here is what you do.
Start with a cabinet scraper if you have one and lightly go over the glue spots. You do not need to do the entire strip. Focus on the areas with glue and try removing them without taking off any wood. If you do, just smooth out a larger area removing as little as you can.
If you do not have a scraper, simply use a small block and some 150 grit sandpaper. Also, you can use a really sharp chisel if you are comfortable. Either way you go, remove all the glue residue and run your finger across the area to ensure you removed it all. Then, you can start attaching the next binding strip.
Guitar Making Tip Number 877 Wrap-Up
Gluing the binding strips on the guitar can be a stressful part of the build. However, if you apply some of the tips that you just learned, the process can be easier. This will mean better looking guitars, and less hair loss throughout the build.
Bind the guitar with one strip at a time. Sure, it’s going to take longer, but who cares? It’s a handmade guitar, and you are a custom guitar maker. If you were a factory then you wouldn’t have time to be perfect. Thankfully you are not.
If you have any questions on Guitar Making Tip No. 877 please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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Tip No. 877 is from my book, 1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners, which has a thousand more great tips to get your first few builds on the right track. There is no secret to guitar making, just a lot of small things that you need to get right. These tips will help you.