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Binding Butt Joints - A dumb question
Author
Post
Danielb

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 22
I'm hoping to get some thoughts and techniques on the above subject. I've been intimidated by the thought of glue my wood bindings in and ending up with nasty gaps.

The bindings are a curly maple (on the thick side) and I've decided not to use purfs to keep the lines simple and clean. There will be 3 visible butt joints; 2 in back; 1 under neck.

I've been practising, but just can't seem to get a good consistent joint (Mitre box w/ gents saw; sanding blocks; watching robbie's video over and over again)

What technique(s) do you use to trim, square (in all 3 dimensions) the joints where the bindings meet? I notice most people use simple butt joint. Anyone try a lap joint?

Thanks everyone!

Dan B




Jun 22, 09 | 11:01 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Not a dumb question -- scarf joints - "beveled overlap" can be seen on some very high end hand made instruments. If executed neatly and properly centered, they look really outstanding. You are correct the gap becomes a non-issue.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jun 22, 09 | 1:23 pm
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 332
If you are a newbie and you are worried about getting a clean look, you might want to try plastic instead of wood. It'll be easier to work with.

Not long ago, I put wood bindings on my first guitar. I used butt joints. it turned out fine. I bent the bindings so they matched the curves of the guitar, and purposely had them up a little long at the joints. And while I was gluing, in sections, when I got to the end, I cut to length with a razor saw just a little long still, and then sanded it down to match. I got pretty good results.

Seems to me like a lap joint might be harder still to turn out well, but I haven't tried it.

Jun 22, 09 | 1:23 pm
llajoy

Total Topics: 6
Total Posts: 295
I always use butt joints in wood bindings on the body. What I do is work from the end wddge area to the neck. That way you can put in the first section of binding and center it. Then when you do the other side, you can push the joint together properly. This allows you to hide the the second joints which are harder to fit with the neck and heel.

When you get into the fretboard, you have a few options - round the bottom of the fretboard so that it matches the soundhole and only bind the sides, or you can make the bottom square and use miters and bind the sides and bottom. When I do this, I miter by hand with a small razor saw. Just go slow and be patient.

I have not done a headstock yet, so all I can say on this is take your time. My plan is to do the headstock on my next guitar, and I plan to cut the miters by had similar to the way I do the fretboards.

Lance.

Jun 22, 09 | 3:01 pm
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
I haven't used wood yet, and I definitely prefer the look over plastic. But the plus to plastic I guess is ease of use. Only 1 seem line under the neck since the plastic is long enough to wrap whole guitar and the 1 seem can easily be made cleanly by using the binding glue and "melting" a little piece in the seem like the stewmac video states.

Dan

Jun 25, 09 | 9:43 pm
Herman

Total Topics: 38
Total Posts: 480
Hey Dan,

Of the bindings with butt-joints I used, Maple turned out to be the hardest to keep clean. Every dust part is visable. And it is so easy to get them into the grain end. Brown woods are much more forgiving.

If you want an immaculate appearance you better take ABS-plastics. They can be melted together with acetone. But wood is so much more appealing to me. So I stick to wood and don't care too much about a little visable buttjoint.

BTW: My technique takes just a sharp knife and and some time. The joints are square. (Wayne Henderson is a sort of hero to me. Drawback is that in this way you can make 1 guitar a year in hobbytime)

Herman

Jun 26, 09 | 2:56 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
Wood binding isn't as forgiving as plastic. Make your joints CLEAN. Maple is one of the harder ones . A butt joint can be done cleanly but you have to be very careful of picking up dust. Once your channels are cut wipe them off well and blow them out. Dark wood dust will migrate with the glue and make the glue joint standout. If you can hide them under the heel or show them off.
On of the more creative joints I saw had a dark square of side wood in a diamond to show the joint separation. The builder placed a small pearl square in the middle. It looks very nice and drew your eye off the joint.
john hall
Blues Creek Guitars
Authorized CF Martin Repair

Jun 26, 09 | 3:38 am
Danielb

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 22
Thanks everyone for the advice and suggestions.

I'll stick to the maple bindings; plastic just doesnt do it for me.

Thanks Herman & John for the heads up on the dust.

Dan B.

Jul 05, 09 | 11:48 am
Danielb

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 22
Just a quick update on the progress. I did go for the straight butt joint. Dust is/was an issue. Hard lesson learned, but fixable.

Overall im pleased with the results. The joints arent invisible, but appear 'natural' if that makes sense.

Joints and bindings during sanding:



At the neck:


Maple Bindings on walnut & eng spruce:










A little bit everyday this thing is looking more and more like an instrument (1yr, 3 mos, and counting)

Im not good with the camera (like Bill and others), but think it works.

dan

Jul 31, 09 | 11:40 am
Danielb

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 22
Forgot to add one point: 2 new fingernail marks in the top!

Lesson learned: spruce really is that soft!

Jul 31, 09 | 11:41 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Hey Dan,

I did not realize that you were the Dan working on one of the KMG Black Walnut OM's -- nice job on the Maple Bindings actually nice job overall! That Walnut and the Maple came from real nice billets, I think I made about 150 sets of bindings.

As for dents ---- very easy to remove --- just take a fairly damp rag, place it over the dent and steam it out with a travel iron. I am assuming there in no finish applied.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jul 31, 09 | 2:59 pm
Danielb

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 22
Thanks Ken!

Yep, Im the same Dan working on your kit. Thanks for the info on the dents... kicked myself for not only hitting once, but then a second time in a 3 minute period with the finger nail! DOH!

But Im happy im at this point... Took me about 6 months to cut channels and bind (think i was a weeeee bit intimidated)

No finish at all, just a washcoat of shellac during cutting and binding. I got the fingerboard 'drafted' and on to the neck now!

Dan

Jul 31, 09 | 5:01 pm



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