14. March 2012 · Comments Off on Binding and the neck mortise · Categories: Guitar Builds

To make a channel for the binding, I used a rabbet router bit set to form the channel. Find the correct router bit and bearing combination to make the correct rabbet to fit the binding. You don’t want it to fit completely flush. Try and make the binding a little proud to allow you to sand it flush later. The binding for this guitar will be a consistent 1/4″ tall and .06″ thick. I installed the router in the overhead jig I made earlier (see previous post) and set the height to cut the tallest section first. This is the area in the Les Paul’s cutaway section:

Binding channel in the cutawayThe rest of the binding channel is at a consistent height all the way around the body so I reset the router to cut just below the maple/mahogany seam. This should be about 1/4″ below the maple’s top surface.

Another view of the binding channelOnce the binding channel is complete you will need to connect the section in the cutaway. Using both a razor blade and chisel I was able to complete this section. A lot of builders would make a floating router stand with a puck like device to rest against the body to make the binding channel. The puck will rest on top of the body edge and make a binding channel that is same size all the way around the guitar. I couldn’t justify the extra time to make or purchase this device for just one guitar.

This is where I jumped ahead a little. Attach the neck mortise template to the guitar body on the neck plane for the 4.4 degree slope. The neck plane is a very small area so be careful setup this part. Use double-sided tape and nails on either side of the mortise to help secure the template. Wedges and clamps were used at the tail end to help steady the template. Next, hog out the majority of the material with a forstner bit.

I then proceeded to remove the remainder of the material with a pattern bit.

Neck pocketAnother picture with the template removed. You can also see the completed binding channel in the cutaway.

Another view of the neck pocketOk, now back to the binding channel. The binding was glued in using an acetone and binding material mixture. The binding goop can be made by cutting up small piece of the extra binding and mixing it with some acetone. Mix it until you get it to the consistency of thick paint. Starting on one end, brush on the acetone mixture one section at a time. Put the binding in the channel and hold in place tightly with good tape. Once completed, let the guitar sit overnight before removing the tape. The next day you will have a little cleanup to do on the binding.

Messy binding installed

I like using a good cabinet scraper to clean up the binding. Sandpaper on a block of wood for the outside curves and sandpaper on a pvc pipe work great on the inside curves. A cabinet scraper works best for the top. Be careful not to dig the edge of the scraper into the maple top.

The pickup up cavities are next and then on to the neck!