Custom Search


Binding the guitar (back), End graft

First of all I decide on the binding to be used.
Originally it was planned to be using red colour binding (blood wood) but because the body itself is a bit reddish brown, the contrast does not come out good.
So after discussing with the owner, we decided to use ebony instead as it provided a good contrast with the backs as well as the top.

Bloodwood binding (not so good contrast)

Maple binding (good contrast with back but not so good with top)

Ebony binding (good contrast with back and top)

After all is done, I finally began to cut the binding.
The binding jig works relatively well, but I did some tweak to the binding jig to make it track better.
The top part was extend a bit to make it more stable while the side reference is made closer to the binding bit.
After both channels are cut, I use my chisel and files to correct the binding channel itself.

Binding channel cut

All the debris

Binding channel

Binding channel

The part need the heel had to be cut by hand using saws and chisels

After that I spend some time to correct the channel dimensions using chisels, files, and rabbet planes.
Then I cut the end graft channel using saw and chisels.

Checking the fit of the end graft

Apply the glue

Glued and taped down.

Holding jig for working on the end graft

End graft done, some gaps but can be easily filled.

Next I began the binding process.
At first I wanted to use the binding jig for working 1/2 the sides of the guitar, but in the end I just go without it as it's easier to access all parts of the guitar while working.
First I glue the purfling using white glue and CA.
The CA will hold it in place while the white glue gives it strength.
Next I began glueing the binding.
After measure and cutting, I began at the end graft area.
As I tied the ropes, I began to glue the binding also.
Similarly I use CA at certain points to help to hold it.
At some portion I had to use big clamps to force it in place due to the spring back of the binding.
Finally as I reached the heel area, I cut the excess and glue in.

Glued the purfling using white and CA glue.



Binding glued and tied. Clamp are used for areas that doesnt want to conform to the channel.

Close up

Close up

After scraping the binding, the binding looks good without major gaps.
The gaps can be closed easily with some CA and clamps.
Next will be the other side of the binding.
To make them fit I tie the 2nd binding flush with the channel and mark the length at the butt end.
Then I trim it using a saw.
When I started binding I started with the butt end instead of the waist.
When I reached the heel end then I measure and saw to length and adjusted with chisel.
This way the fiting is perfect without any gaps due to overlength or underlength.

After planing and scraping the excess

Clamp to close some minor gaps

Binding at the waist

Trimming at the heel end using chisel for a good fit

2nd side done

Next I plane and scrape down the 2nd side too.
Good no major gaps.

Planing the excess

Butt joint

Heel joint

Back binding done.


Making the jigs for binding cutting

All along I am using the default trimmer router base for routing the binding channel.
It works well to certain extend, the only problem is that the binding channel reference is always to the top or back of guitar.
For the back where the curvature or doming is quite pronounced, the binding channel will be skewed.
So this time round I decide to make a jig that allows the binding channel to be routed with reference to the sides instead.
Most binding jig out there is based on this principle of referencing the sides instead of the top.

So I began to make the jig it actually quite a simple design, it acts like the router holder but with a longer guide so that it can reference the sides better.
Basically it acts like a marking gauge.
So I make the base and the guide rail separately and the way to secure them togehter is very similar to my circle cutter jig.

Making the guide

Checking the squareness

The binding jig

Next I need to make the holder for the guitar.
Normally, I just put it inside the solera with the side mould.
But in this case, because of the longer reference sides needed, the side mould cannot be used.
So I decide to modify one of my previous solera to be able to clamp down the body while exposing most of the sides for the binding cutting.
However, the solera has some warping so I added some wood members to correct the geometry accordingly.
Also I added a special way of clamping the body down.
As there is no neck attached, the clamping has to be a bit special.

I also drilled the dowels for rope tying for the binding.
I created a structure too to allow me to work on 1/2 the side of the guitar independently.
But this will make it more restrictive during the binding stage.

Drilled and glued the dowels for the rope tying for the bindings

Make the structure that allows 1/2 side of the binding to be done independently

Checking th geometry of the solera

Patched the rear end of the solera to correct the geometry

Holdng the guitar body. The clamp acts like a T-track clamp

Testing the binding cutter jig.


Close the box!

Finally the day of the box being closed.
First before starting I will do a dry run of the process.
This helps to familiarise with teh actual process as well as keeps all the need tools and materials within the reach.
This is especially so if you are working with hide glue.
Clamps, wood blocks, hair dryer, hide glue, etc..
Just closing the box, I did a last check on the fit and plane fresh surface on the lining.
Then I began the process.

First I heat the rims with the hair dryer.
Then I proceed with applying the hide glue.
As the hide is already heated I can carry the bottle and apply it rim the rim in quick fashion.
Before gluing the back, I heated once again with hair dryer
Then I proceed with gluing in the back.
The clamp and blocks were applyed in place.
First the heel and end block.
Followed by blocks at the upper and lower bout.
Then the waist.
For the waist part, I apply an addition flexible wood strip to spread the force over the entire brace.
This is because the brace is glued to the rim not the back.
Similar for upperbout brace, I use blocks to spread the force across the brace area too.
Finally all blocks done.
Also for aligning the back, I use pins in the heel to ensure the alignment is centred.

Dry run

Glue the label

One final look before closing the box

Heating up the rim.

Box is closed

Another view

Another view

Next day I release all the cramps and started to trim the overhang...
Damn I slipped and cut my middle finger on the wood...
Anyway I use planes and chisel to trim the wood is sure hard to plane.

Clamp released

Closed box

Trimming the back overhang


Making the back

I started to thickness the back while waiting gluing other parts.
The back is a damn dense wood which is very hard to plane.
I think this process will take some time.

Closer view of the dense wood

Full view of the back

Thicknessing starts

Now more planing and scraping time.
Thicknessing this wood is a pain in the ass.
It is very taxing on the tools too.

Planing the back, you see my dog hole clamp in action here

Back is 465g now

More planing and scraping in progress


Planing with scrub plane

Scraping in action

Finally all thicknessing is done.
The weight is reduced to 353g

All tear out removed


Next I close up the box with clamps to mark the position of the back braces.
I insert my arm into the box with a pencil to mark the position of the back braces.

Mark position of back braces.

Next the 3rd back brace is glued onto the back.

Heat up the back surface

Heat up the glue

Glue and clamped

The brace is shaped accordingly

Almost ready to close the box

Shaping the back brace

Glue the back seam reinforcement made from spruce off cut.
The pieces are glued using the radius jig to give it a pre-curved shape
The other 2 back brace are also glued to the body rim.

Back seam reinforcement glued from spruce off cuts

Back braces glue to rim.

Next I shaped the back seam reinforcement to a nice curve profile.
Also I check that the reinforcement is at the right place not interfering with the back brace and end block when the box is closed.

Shaping the back seam reinforcement

After using chisel and plane I also sand the back seam reinforcement

All done.

Checking the fit with the back braces and end block.

Glued the back radial braces

Carving the back radial braces

Back all done.