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Binding Process


The Unpacked Kit
Ribbon Lining
End-Piece Set
Guitar Top
Top Bracing
Guitar Back
Back Bracing
Attaching the Back
Attaching the Top
Edge Bindings
Fitting the Neck
Truss Rod
Fitting the Nut
Grain Filling
Attaching the Neck
Attaching the Bridge
Saddle and Nut
It's Done!

Binding a guitar is the process of cutting a channel along the edge of the body, and gluing in a (typically) plastic strip. The purpose of this is primarily to hide all the end grain of the top and bottom of the guitar. It also adds a decorative touch. I started with the bottom, figuring that if I screwed up, the bottom isn't as visible as the top. Plus, the top has two strips that are glued into place, instead of just one like the back has. The second, innermost strip on the top is actually called purfling, and is there just to add more decoration to the top of the guitar.

This is where choosing the more expensive Dewalt laminate trimmer really paid off. I needed to cut a groove along the edge of the back that was 1/16" wide, and 3/16" deep. I went to both Home Depot and Woodworkers Warehouse looking for a rabetting router bit that either had a set of multiple sized ball-bearing guides, one of which would let me remove only a 1/16" width of wood, or a bit that would do just a 1/16" wide cut. Well, there doesn't appear to be any such beast! Fortunately, the Dewalt laminate trimmer comes with a variety of bases, one of which accepts a guide that extends down the side of the router, and out underneath the router bit, and has a ball-bearing guide at the end. This allowed me to use a simple (and relatively cheap) 1/2" straight bit, and because the guide on the laminate trimmer is infinitely adjustable, I could get exactly the size cuts that I needed for both the top and back binding. If I had bought one of the cheaper trimmers, I'm not sure what I would have done to accurately cut the groove for the bindings.

This picture shows the groove routed into the back of the guitar to accept the back binding strip. It has already received the first primer coat of adhesive.

The next page shows the binding strip clamped into place.

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