I’ve been thinking about doing a thread on binding for a while and suddenly there are multiple threads about it and one of my friends sending me e-mails. Plus, the weather is crappy outside and its too cold in the shop – maybe its time to talk about binding. First, my normal disclaimer. I am not a luthier, just an average amateur guitar builder. I’m not a pro, I don’t sell them, I’ve made many of the mistakes but there are still a lot to make. The fact that I am not a pro maybe is fitting for this group – I’m like a lot of you. I’ll show you things that have worked for me, things that I have learned from far better builders than I’ll ever be. However there are many other ways to do binding – you need to decide the best for yourself. I’m also not a finishing expert. If and when we talk about finish it will again be the way I have learned to do it but there are many many other ways. We have a whole subforum at TDPRI devoted to finishing – I suggest you consult the many great threads there. OK, with that taken care of, what is binding and why do we do it? Binding is some sort of protective and/or decorative material put around the edges of a guitar. Originally binding was used on acoustic instruments to protect the delicate end grain of spruce or cedar or other sound boards. That might not be as important on an electric guitar but its really important on an acoustic. Binding can hide the seam between the top and sides and in some cases strengthen it. And binding can be decorative – it can add contrast, different materials, and/or tie themes together. A couple of brief definitions – I’m going to refer to “binding” as the single piece of material on the outside of the edge of the guitar. I’m going to call any additional lines or inlays or mosaics inside the binding “purfiling”. Frequently you will hear both binding and purfling taken together called just “binding” (as in a Martin guitar with herringbone binding) – that’s OK but I like to use the separate terms and will here. When I talk about binding, if I refer to its “side” that will be the long dimension that is parallel to the side of the guitar, the “top” will be the short dimension parallel to the top. Bottom and back should be obvious. Binding can be lots of different materials. In days gone by it might have been turtle shell or elephant ivory – you can’t do that anymore. During the 1930’s and 40’s it might have been celluloid plastics, these haven’t lasted very well and we use more modern plastics now – mostly PVC (like water pipe, it will last forever). Wood is often used as binding, usually with its long grain running around the edge of the guitar. I will refer to wood and plastic binding here because they are most common, but there are others.