How best to keep wood binding clean with sunburst

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by SullySaints, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. SullySaints

    SullySaints TDPRI Member

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    Hi gang!
    I'm planning on putting a tobacco sunburst on my flame-maple new Hollowbody build. Decided I wanted a curley maple binding on it to make it pop.

    I see most people just stain right over plastic binding, then scrape it off, but that isn't likely to go as well with a wood binding. Be best solution (in addition to taping it off) I see is that people mask off their whole guitar and spray a mist of sealer on the wood binding before then masking off the binding and staining the guitar.

    Is there any problem with just spraying down the binding before I glue it in place? just seems a lot less likely to mess up my stain if I don't have to tape mask twice.

    Any other tips for keeping my maple binding free of stain would be appreciated!

    Thanks,
    -Sully
     
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I use maple binding and maple purfling a lot on my guitars, and I stain and apply various kinds of 'bursts. A couple of questions - how do you plan to apply your 'burst - by staining (usually hand applied) or in your finish coats? If you are going to stain then there is a real possibility of the stain bleeding across the glue boundry into the maple. On the last guitar that I knew I was going to stain I did it before installing the binding - in other words I routed the channels, fit the binding, removed it and applied the stain. I then installed the binding (I tape all my binding in place dry and wick thin CA into the seam). I was very careful to not get excess glue on the stained body wood. I then very gently scraped the binding to remove any excess glue and shot the clear over the bound body.

    The second method is to try to protect your binding by coating it with something that will repel the stain, yet be compatible with your finish. In my case that would be either shellac or vinyl sealer. I did an experiment that I posted at the finely finished forum where I put vinyl sealer on the edge of a piece of maple and then stained it - I could scrape the alcohol based stain right off the maple and leave it totally clean (which makes me wonder why people recommend sealing wood before staining.....)

    If you are going to tint your finish then I would coat the edge of the binding with an appropriate sealer and mask it with pin stripe tape. Spray your burst, pull the tape and scrape the binding. Spray your clear.
     
  3. SullySaints

    SullySaints TDPRI Member

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    Thanks, Freeman! I appreciate your experience. I was gonna spray the finish. I’m hesitant to glue the binding after I stain for fear of glue problems. So, do you see any problem with me vinyl sealing the binding before I even glue the binding on? I’ll still tape it off, but pre-spraying the wood binding means one less step for imperfections.
     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I'm not sure that is what I would do but you can certainly find out by taking a piece of your binding, routing a channel in a piece of scrap and seeing what happens.

    I've also never done exactly what you are suggesting. I have done hand rubbed sunbursts with plastic binding, as you said that is straight forward. I have put a lot of wood binding on with thin maple purfling lines and struggled to keep stains from bleeding into the the light colored wood. Most of the time I painted the sealer on but the stain seems to want to sneak in from the inside. The last time I was faced with that it was a mahogany neck that I wanted to staind redish brown. As I said I cut the trough, did the stain, then glued the binding and purfling line. It came out OK but not perfect, Here is the neck before and after staining and after the binding was installed. Its the little thin light colored line that I was worried about.
    IMG_4022.JPG IMG_4023.JPG IMG_4031.JPG

    If you look carefully at the middle picture you can see the binding channel around the head that doesn't have the binding yet installed. You will also notice in the middle picture that the heel cap has not been installed - it too has a layer of the maple that I didn't want to absorb stain. Here is one more shot of that guitar showing what I was trying to do. Substitute your flamed maple binding for the coco in the picture

    IMG_5363.JPG

    This is a picture of that experiment that I told you about. I masked off a piece of maple and shot vinyl sealer on one half and around the edges and that little 1/4 wide strip. I then did a hand wiped blue stain - on one side directly into bare wood, the other is sealed (I was more interested in the effects of the sealer). When it was dry I found I could scrape the stain completely off the sealed edges just like I was scraping plastic binding. This taught me (1) sealer really does seal the wood and I don't want to use it (duh) and (2) I could use this method to do a PRS style faux binding.

    IMG_5552.JPG

    If I was going to do another guitar with maple binding (and I will, I love the stuff) I would sure experiment first because I think either would work but one might be preferable.

    Here is one more idea - a couple of times when I used maple binding I put a thin dark line between it and the parent wood. If you did that you would have far less danger of the stain bleeding across the boundry and I think it would look stunning. No stain on this one


    IMG_5372.JPG
     
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  5. GeminiCG

    GeminiCG TDPRI Member

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    If it was me, I would do the thing Freeman said and stain it first, then glue the binding, before you spray the clear coat. At least that is what makes sense in my mind.
     
  6. SullySaints

    SullySaints TDPRI Member

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    That is beautiful work, Freeman. And great patience to set up test pieces like you have. My time in my shop is limited, so I spend hours searching the internet for answers, when I should just be getting out there and doing my own tests. Thanks for make guitar building better for the rest of us.

    If gluing in a wood binding after staining, what is your glue-of-choice? I think you said wicking in CA? Does that scrape off of un-lacquered wood fairly successfully? Titebond has that rubbery-phase after a few minutes that’s seems like it would be really easy to clean up. But I guess I’m starting to realize that if I’m worried that stain won’t scrape off wood binding, then I probably don’t have to worry as much that scraping a bit of glue off the body is going to ruin the stain, right?
    I think that might be my approach: Route binding channel, stain body, dry-fit the binding as best I can, then carefully glue it in, and carefully scrape to perfection. I will need to make sure that there are no areas of the body proud to the binding or I will be scraping off stain.

    I do also like that thin strip of darker wood you used with the maple. With the tobacco sunburst, the edges will be so dark on mine, it probably wouldn’t stand out as nicely, tho. Did you rip that separately? Or was it pre-ordered binding that came that way?

    Thanks for your expertise!
    -Sully
     
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  7. blackbelt308

    blackbelt308 Tele-Holic

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    Questions, Sully... Does the body you are finishing have a 1/4" flame maple top? And do you want to bind it or simply have the appearance of wood binding?

    Rick
     
  8. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Sully, clarify a couple of things for me. Are you going to do a traditional Gibson style hand applied sunburst like their old Loar era mandos and such or are you going to do a Fender style sprayed sunburst with the color in the finish itself? I would treat those completely differently.

    Very simply, if it was Fender style I would bind the guitar, shoot a couple of coats of whatever sealer you are happy with (vinyl in my case), mask the side edge of the binding, shoot the burst. Pull the tape and scrape the top edge back to white. Shoot the clear over everything. Exactly like plastic binding except to add the sealer coats.

    If I was going to do the Cremola 'burst I think I would still go ahead and bind first. While the bind after staining worked really well on the neck of that guitar it still is a giant hassle dealing with glue squeeze out, scraping binding without damaging your stain, yadda yadda.

    What I think I would do if I want to stain the wood is to go ahead and bind it but I would add that black line on the inside of the top edge. Use rosewood or ebony or black fiber - the line would demark the edge of the sunburst and hopefully keep stain from migrating. I would then paint with an artists brush my sealer right on the binding and black line, if I got any on the top itself I would carefully scrape that off with a box cutter. I would put at least two or three coats of sealer on the bind, then mask the sides.

    Now do your sunburst in the usual fashion, but be really careful as you approach the binding. Since that is usually the darkest part of the 'burst I would use the artist brush and paint the stain right up to the black line, don't do it with your rag. I would keep solvents like DA away from the edge if you are doing any smoothing of your burst. When you have the burst perfect pull the tape and scrape the top edge of the binding. My blue experiment showed that I could scrape every bit of color off an leave only the maple. Use the black line as the edge of your scraping - I think you can get a nice sharp edge if you angle the blade - I think this is how PRS does theirs. Seal it, then shoot your clear.

    I have only done one Cremola 'burst and it was a long time ago. It was on plastic binding so it scraped easily but my blue experiment tells me that vinyl sealer on maple would be the same.

    IMG_5384.JPG

    I'm going to leave some of your other questions for right now if that is OK. This discussion and a couple of others have inspired me to put together a little thread about binding, I think I can answer your questions and many others. If you need an answer right away let me know, it will take a day or so to do my little thread.
     
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  9. SullySaints

    SullySaints TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for spending so much time on this, Freeman. I am in no rush, and I have a sense that whatever post you come up with will fill in a decent gap in available clear, consolidated commentary on the subject. My plan was to do a spray can burst bought thru Reranch or StewMac. Which I am now realizing as you ask these questions is actually color-in-nitro, not just a stain. Haven’t even consider doing it a stain by hand just for lack of experience.

    blackbelt- to answer your question, I have a 1/2 inch maple top that I have already carved/contoured. As expected, I was unable to keep a perfect width to the edge of the top as I carved, so I can’t really do a faux-PRS bonding like they do.

    And Freeman, I think you could lead a master class just in how you bound that wildly-shaped guitar you just posted alone. Amazing work. Thanks for your time and we will all look forward to your post.
    -Sully
     
  10. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Two very different methods which will really impact what you are doing. I'm being summoned to dinner right now but I'll try to put up some examples tomorrow
     
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