Guitar Making Tip Number 881 is about trimming your binding. The level of aggression that you will need to trim your binding strips depends on how well they were installed. For the majority of strips that cannot be done with hand tools alone, here is a solution.
The Book Store is Now Open! Happy Building!
Trimming the Binding Strips
The binding process is one of the more fun parts of making a guitar. The bending is easier, the routing is fun, and so is the gluing. It’s not often that you will use masking tape as a clamp, so it’s also a little entertaining too.
When you install your binding, just as in any other step, the better you do determines how much more or less difficult the following step will be.
If you inlay your bindings very over-sized and leave lots of hangover, you will have to trim a ton more afterwards. In contrast, if you can attach them almost perfectly in their rabbets, you may just have to hand sand the piece and you will be flush.
For most people, they do a better job than the first example, but it takes several guitars to hit the second example. For you, here is my process for trimming the binding strips as a middle of the road example…
Free Woodworking Tips Delivered Every Monday! Add Me to the List!
Start on the Top as You Trim Your Binding Strips
The first thing you need to do is flush the top of the binding with the top of the guitar. This is easily done with a cabinet scraper. You can also use a chisel if you are skilled with the tool. A power sander does well, and so does a sanding block.
Once the tops are level, you should inspect the piece to make sure that the surfaces are as good as they can be. In the next step, the success or failure will depend on how well this step is executed. Take the time and execute it well.
Go over the piece in a glancing light, and address any areas that need additional work. You can also use a larger sanding block to distribute the sanding out in a wider path, which will create a more even surface too.
Attention New Guitar Makers!
Do You Want to Avoid Lots of Beginner Mistakes?
- Worried that a guitar is too big of a project?
- Do you wish there was a way to avoid mistakes?
- Would you like a seasoned guitar maker to show you over a thousand actionable tips to help you get started?
In this book, you will get all of that and more. Learn from the mistakes of others, and avoid the hassle and waste that comes from making lots of mistakes.
In the Book You Will learn:
- How to avoid common mistakes that new guitar makers face in the beginning. This saves you time and money.
- Critical tips and ideas about each part of the guitar, broken down into sections for clarity and depth.
- Easy, Quick Knowledge that comes from knowing what to avoid as you build.
- How to overcome the beginner lack of knowledge, and pull off a great guitar build.
Learn from the Mistakes of Others Instead of Making Your Own!
After the Top Move to the Sides
Once the tops are trimmed, it’s time to flush the sides. My tool of choice for this part of the process is the router. If you are so close that a scraper or a sanding block will do the trick, then skip the router. However, the router is a really quick and efficient way to flush the trim.
Use a flush cutting bit with a bearing on the bottom and carefully go around the guitar. Make sure to watch the grain direction and not tear out any chunks. The flush trim bit will take the profile from the side of the guitar, and match it to the binding strips.
Check your work after you are done. Look over and take additional passes in areas that need it again. Once you are satisfied that the binding strips have been flushed to the sides well, the process is complete.
More From Westfarthing Woodworks
I give away the majority of my woodworking, wood finishing, and guitar making tips, but I also have several books if you want to take the next step.
You can see them in my Book Store, and they are all on Amazon.
Also, if you want to Join the Facebook Group, you can do that as well. We are just starting to grow a fantastic community and I would love for you to be part of it.