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Thread: First Time Binding Questions

  1. #26
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenS View Post
    The StewMac binding channel cutter is fantastic --
    https://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tool...outer_Jig.html
    Steve
    That jig looks like a solution of problem that doesn't exist:

    The problem: The arch of the guitar top, and especially the back, will change the router alignment. Without the TrueChannel, a standard router base will tilt, causing the routed channel to be too deep or too shallow; the bindings won't fit right. TrueChannel keeps the router vertical for a square ledge. Bindings fit correctly.

    I think I'm quite good at geometry and just don't get it... First the arch of guitar back (think D-28) is not so severe to cause any real problems, you follow the SIDES of the guitar anyway. And you would have to be really poor at holding the body during routing to cut bad channels on ordinary router table.
    Adrian

  2. #27
    Registered User O. Apitius's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    There are many different ways to cut the binding ledge that produce good results. You just have to find the method that suits you. I've tried a fair few ways to rout the channels over the years. Personally, I've always used a laminate trimmer or a full-size router for the job. Here's a few of the methods I have used.


    Laminate trimmer with modified base. The mandolin is held on its side.


    Router table......


    .......and my favorite, the "Canadarm". In this photo I'm using it to trim the excess wood from the plates.
    https://www.instagram.com/apitiusmandolins/
    What is good Phaedrus? and what is not good? need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

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  4. #28

    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    I created an L-shaped contraption that allows a Bosch Colt to float up and down on a pair of full-extension drawer slides but stays perpendicular to the table. Archtop instruments necessitate adding a wooden outboard base attachment that is shaped to match the recurve so the depth is always registering on the outside edge of the rim, not the rise of the top/back. I bought the Stewmac carbide bit along with the appropriate bearings I needed for the sizes of bindings/perflings I use. It won't get you inside a scroll, but I get pretty clean results and it saves my aging finger joints. It's a bit of an investment (I already had the trim router) if you're a hobbyist just making one, but a poorly executed binding job really detracts from an otherwise nice instrument.

  5. #29
    Registered User artdeco's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    I modified my tool to make it easier to hold square to the body. I generally use 3-4 passes to get to the depth I need.
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    MLAtkinson
    ...do guitar players get GAS?

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  7. #30

    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    I like that. So the chamfer clears the arched body while the extended guide runs along the side. What did you use to make the extension?

  8. #31
    Registered User artdeco's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    The extension is simply a socket head cap screw, of arbitrary length with an aluminum tube surrounding it. I was initially concerned that the tube did not rotate, but has not been a problem. The chamfer seems to be the important feature allowing the tool to be used while maintaining squareness. Again, several passes. Patience is key.
    MLAtkinson
    ...do guitar players get GAS?

  9. #32

    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    That solves one of the problems with this device, the other one is that the depth adjustment can change without warning if the set screw wasn't torqued down properly.
    Also, people don't usually oil the collets of their Dremels, which can help the bit from drifting down during use.

    Finally found that picture of Jimmy D'Aquisto and his technique... looks like a big shaper arbor, probably attached to a monstrous electric motor in the foreground... From Irving Sloan's book on Steel String Guitar construction.
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  10. #33

    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    I went ahead with my unmodified Stewmac tool and cut a pretty decent channel yesterday; successfully installed the binding today. I have a Siminoff version on the way, but I got impatient.

    Meanwhile, I've been looking at lots of methods for cutting the channel, and Marty, your photo looks like another version of a simple cutter setup with depth guides for both directions, and the body held freehand the whole time. It seems to me that I would be better able to judge the "levelness" of the entire body held up to a fixed cutter than I would a small hand held cutter against a fixed body. It would be like O. Apitius' center picture with the body held freehand. I think that's what Austin Clark is doing in the video posted by Bill McCall. Maybe that's what O. Apitius is doing in his top photo. Anyway, I think I may eventually give that a try. I'm close to wrapping up my first build, and I just have to do this again. You all have been very helpful.

  11. #34

    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    With skills like D'Aquisto's, you can use basically anything and make it work. Sloan says, "The shaper is designed to avoid the problem of curved surfaces, but much depends on D'Aquisto's skillful maneuvering". Same is true with a gramil or any other binding cutter jig, it just goes slower so you have more time to react and learn before you have those hours under your belt.

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  13. #35
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    I know that D'Aquisto binding router! It is on display at the National Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota, along with most of the D'Angelico /D'Aquisto workshop.

    I was there on a completely deserted afternoon in the middle of a very hot summer while driving back from a Guild of American Luthiers convention. I was pretty sure that the only folks in the whole building were me and the old woman working the door..... Sensing that this might be a once in a lifetime chance, I went big... I jumped over the barriers and spent about 20 minutes checking out everything- opening drawers, handling all the tools and the half finished instruments, even carving a little with his world famous planes that have been used as the basis for several modern interpretations. 'Definitely one of those days where possibility of getting arrested was well worth the opportunity!

    I've also been lucky to handle the D'A collection backstage at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and several other serious collections. At some point you can expect the results to be published, including blueprints from several of the instruments and 2 of the 3 known D'Aquisto mandolins.

    I unsuccessfully tried to get a grant a few years back to revisit the museum as a live artist recreating an instrument using the original tools and methods.

    The big binding machine is just an arbor with a fixed cutterhead, nothing special at all. A router would work much better and have more versatility, and be infinitely safer. D'Angelico used a simple hand held violin builder's binding and purfling cutter. Jimmy and John were rather old school in their methods. They used a Rockwell tablesaw and then hand held on a belt sander to thickness guitar sides. (!!!) The magic came from Jimmy being a great guitar player who apprenticed the best guitar builder in the world at a very young age and then spent the rest of his life building approx. 1000 instruments. Knowing exactly what he wanted the outcome to be, then use whatever tool was on hand and not stop until it got the desired results. That is completely different from having very little experience and trying to find a tool based outcome.

    As I said earlier, no matter what tool I use, getting it perfect is mostly a matter of hand finessing the channel for an hour with little more than a popsicle stick and sandpaper.... but knowing exactly where to use it. Pick one tool, and then practice it until you master it, rather than endless tool consumerism...

    j. condino
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  15. #36

    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by grandcanyonminstrel View Post
    That is completely different from having very little experience and trying to find a tool based outcome.
    Absolutely. Many of my "clever shortcuts" I devised in order to avoid having to do things the "hard way" have been much more painful and time-consuming than just learning to do things properly.

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  17. #37

    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    I’m curious about what kind of bit you’re using, or any others that have had some success. I ended up giving up on the standard router bit and used a thin spiral cutter and made multiple passes.

  18. #38

    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    If you're referring to cutters for the Dremel, I'm using the one from Stewmac. It turned blue on the tips right away in spite of feeding slowly and taking small cuts. It still cuts fine, though. When I contacted Siminoff about their Dremel adapter, they recommended the Dremel cutter.

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  20. #39
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    You probably didn't feed it fast enough. With routers too fast is bad (tearout etc) and slow feed is bad as well as you need the chips to take away the heat. If the cut is too shallow it will cause the same. Experience will show you how fast and how deep to cut different species of wood for best cut results AND longevity of tool.
    Adrian

  21. #40

    Default Re: First Time Binding Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by HoGo View Post
    You probably didn't feed it fast enough. With routers too fast is bad (tearout etc) and slow feed is bad as well as you need the chips to take away the heat. If the cut is too shallow it will cause the same. Experience will show you how fast and how deep to cut different species of wood for best cut results AND longevity of tool.
    I also slow my routers down to half speed or less, I find they cut plenty clean and don't burn. For the minute amount material being removed it's more than adequate. Avoid underpowered routers and keep the carbide clean and sharp, pitch build up is bad for your cuts.

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