Binding a finsihed guitar

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by IzzyDoesIt, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. IzzyDoesIt

    IzzyDoesIt TDPRI Member

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    I have never built a guitar before... I was wondering if binding a finished guitar is possible.
    I love the Fender Telecasters with a double binding front and back.
    I just got a D'Angelico Premier DC Grateful Dead guitar, she's beautiful! I love the look of the double binding on this guitar.
     
  2. IzzyDoesIt

    IzzyDoesIt TDPRI Member

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    D'Angelico Guitars Premier Grateful Dead DC_13a.png
     
  3. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    I’m sure it is possible but... if you have no experience starting on a finished guitar probably isn’t going to turn out too good
    And it will never look as good as if it was bound before finishing

    Are you planning on trying this or do you want it done ?
     
    Dismalhead likes this.
  4. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Afflicted

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    Difficulty will depend on if the top and bottom is flat or contoured. If flat a router will easily be able to cut a proper channel. If it's contoured it gets more difficult.

    Then you have to think about the finish chipping and breaking off where you cut the channel. That's what I'd be concerned about. I wonder if you scored the finish at the height of the binding all the way around to kind of break it into two pieces if that would prevent chipping. Then getting the binding perfectly flush with the body will require scraping and sanding which could further damage the finish.

    I'd say if you're planning on refinishing the whole guitar go for it. If you're not, be prepared to refinish it afterwards because it may not turn out too great.
     
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  5. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Afflicted

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    there was a time when all that work was done by hand... no power tools. just something to think about
     
  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    if the finished guitar has a roundover on the edge, it's going to be hard to make a channel for thin binding...

    you'd need to start with a flat/square edge body blank to get a binding channel like the ones you see...
     
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  7. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I bind almost every guitar I make, usually in wood, but plastic when it seems to fit the style of the guitar. I always do it before finishing because I end up doing a lot of sanding and scraping of the binding after its installed. The glue up can be very messy too - with either wood or plastic I carefully fit the binding into the channel, tape it in place and then wick water thin CA into the seam. What ever gluing scheme you use there will be some squeeze out that will get on the finish and need to be cleaned up. I always finish over the binding which makes the transition from wood to binding much smoother.

    However, it can be done. Here is an old Ibanez jazz guitar the binding had simply rotted away after fifty year. The finish is lacquer which has aged to the beautiful amber on both the guitar and the binding

    IMG_3876.JPG

    I routed the old binding off trying to maintain the purfling lines which weren't rotten.

    IMG_3878.JPG

    IMG_3877.JPG

    Some of that had to be done by hand with chisels. I masked both sides of the channel and installed new plastic just like it was any guitar

    IMG_3893.JPG

    As I said before, I fit the binding into the channel dry, then wick the CA into the seam. Other people use acetone or Ducco or some sort of other cement. Scrape back the binding being very careful not to scape into the finish

    IMG_3897.JPG

    Next I applied some tinted amber lacquer to the binding itself to make it look fifty years old and to blend into the old finish.

    IMG_3918.JPG


    IMG_3921.JPG

    Not perfect, but not too bad....
     
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  8. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    The guitar in this picture has a bound body, top and back, bound f-holes, bound neck and either bound p/g or laminated one. To do that on a finished guitar would be one hell of a project, particularly if you have never built a guitar before. Its also hard to judge but it looks like there is some overstand and angle to the neck, its probably a glued in (set neck), the top may have some arch and it probably has more or less LPJr or 335 geometry. All of those things make it considerably more difficult to build.

    Here is one of mine with most of those characteristics

    IMG_3421.JPG
     
  9. 61fury

    61fury Friend of Leo's

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    You could try pin striping tape from an auto parts store. Not done it myself but I was tempted. I've seen lots of example of that on the forum.
     
  10. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

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    So the short answer is "not impossible pretty dam' difficult!" :D That's mighty fine work.

    If it's not a flat surface, that increases the complexity of it considerably, I think. If there's a significant roundover, then you need big binding. Chipping of the lacquer would be a major fear--needs a NICE SHARP bit. Overall, I'd say that in the case of the OP, it's not really worth it.

    I don't know about tape (the edges are high-traffic areas), but I do think it would be better to paint the bindings on than to route for em in this case.
     
  11. IzzyDoesIt

    IzzyDoesIt TDPRI Member

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    I have been planning to build an offset Tele for some time. I really need to get started on it. I plan to paint it orange with white binding top and bottom like my Gretsch G5420T. Plan to use standard Tele layout and components. I want it to look like a Telecaster, but with offset body and handmade pick guard to fit the new outline.

    Thanks to everyone for your input. I now have great insight to difficult a task I chose. I will not be trying that anytime soon!

    Freeman Keller you do fantastic work! Both of those guitars turned out spectacularly! You are a very talented builder.
    thumbnail.jpg Gretsch G5420T
     
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  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Thank you Izzy. Binding an existing guitar is daunting, mainly because you probably will screw up the finish and then have to fix that. However binding itself is no more difficult than many of the other tasks in guitar building. Let me ask you a question about binding - there have been several recent threads about the subject, do you think I should put together a Binding 101 discussion? I have a bunch of pictures of how I do bindings, both plastic and wood and have been thinking about doing a general introduction to the whole topic. I can cover some of the things you are talking about.
     
  13. IzzyDoesIt

    IzzyDoesIt TDPRI Member

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    That is a great idea! I for one would be really interested in such a discussion.
    I definitely want to do binding on a guitar, especially one that I built.
    Thanks for the offer.
     
  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Its running on the DIY forum right now.
     
  15. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    possible - yes

    recommended - no

    This is from a couple of experienced, professional restoration techs who have tried:

    1. Routing the binding channel almost always results in some chipping of the finish. The problem is multiplied exponentially if the top or back is not absolutely flat!

    2. Binding adhesive will creep under the finish in some areas, usually causing discoloration. There's no way to prevent this because routing will delaminate the finish from the wood in some areas and you can't "mask" to prevent migration of adhesive - since you need it to stick.

    3. Removal of even low-tack binding tape will pull off some finish. Other (non-adhesive) methods of binding "wrap" take specialized skills.

    4. The binding will not be completely flush with the surface no matter what you do, so it will ned to be scraped. This procedure - done with cabinet scrapers or special binding scrapers (smaller versions of the same thing) is normally done prior to finishing. It would have to bee done at an angle, resulting in a slanted - and odd looking binding surface.

    5. You will have a seam between binding and finish, with loosened finish in many areas These are prone to being "caught" by some kinds of cloth, sharp objects etc resulting in chipping. Moisture can also penetrate these areas, cause wood swelling and delamination of the coating and/or binding.

    We've done it a few times as tests with various finishes to see how it would turn out.

    It generally turns out like poo .
     
    Buckocaster51 likes this.
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