Binding a soundhole

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Stray Feathers
Posts: 618
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm
Location: Ladysmith, BC

Binding a soundhole

Post by Stray Feathers »

I used a tile-mosaic rosette for a dreadnought I started, hoping for a more subdued or elegant look. But the rosette ring was too big, and left too much wood between it and the soundhole. So I decided to try binding the soundhole to add an accent line. As I thought more about this, I also added two BWB purfling lines inside and outside the mosaic ring. But I continued with the binding plan, using information from the liutiao Mottola website - but modified. I bent a 16'' bit of rosewood binding, and laid out the bracing on the underside of the top.
I laminated a piece of scrap mahogany guitar side to the underside, to clear all braces, and then cut the soundhole through both layers.
I was not confident that my bent binding would glue flat to the soundhole edge, even using wedges as Mottola suggests. So I made the tool in the photo, starting with a disc of Baltic Birch cut with a 3" hole saw, and sanded smooth.
I marked the perimeter for ten screw holes (this is where the metric system is so much easier) using a sewing measuring tape. I drilled holes for some hex head metal roofing screws I had left over. The problem I did not anticipate was that my 1/4" wrenches were all too thick (deep) for the hex heads on the screws. I looked long hard, and unsuccessfully, for "thin-head" or similar wrenches, but not in that size, and not "right now". So I made a little wrench out of a leftover bit of hardware from a long-ago IKEA purchase, which worked fine. I used a strip of plastic I was given (possibly binding?) as a caul to protect the binding from the screw heads.
I am pretty happy with the result. One detour came when I was not happy with the way the two additional purfling strips turned out - there were gaps. So I routed them out slightly wider - I had to sand the soundhole plug down a little for a snug fit to provide a centre for my circle cutter. Then I fitted two BW strips facing each other in each groove. It's a little more heavy-handed than I would like but it's okay.

If I were a machinist I'd like to have made this out of aluminum say, tapped for as many screws as needed, but this one works. Some time I will remove the washers and grommets from the roofing screws, or replace them with hex head screws, but you know how "some time" easily turns into "yeah, right". For now, it's time to start bracing. Bruce W.
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Posts: 170
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:38 am
Location: Seattle

Re: Binding a soundhole

Post by BEJ »

Nice solution, a lot of innovation comes from trying to fix a screw up or mistake. Now you have a neat tool to create something different from the get go. Will file for future reference.

Bruce J
Posts: 1682
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:14 pm

Re: Binding a soundhole

Post by MaineGeezer »

That's a clever idea.

When I bound a soundhole, I made a tapered plug that I could press into the soundhole with the binding wrapped around it. I tried to make the plug with as little taper as possible (to make the sides as vertical as possible), so the fit became fairly finicky. Your adjustable version doesn't have to worry about that.
Don't believe everything you know.
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When things are bad, try not to make them any worse, because it is quite likely they are bad enough already. - French Foreign Legion
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