Tuesday, June 29, 2004:

Today was my "moment of truth" — I used my new binding router jig for the first time on a real guitar body. I was a bit nervous, to say the least. After all this work assembling the soundbox, I'd hate to have something go wrong! But, after LOTS of time making sure the soundbox sides were absolutely perpendicular to the table surface, measuring super-carefully to determine the depths of the binding/purfling ledges, selecting the right router bearings to use (I'm using the LMI cutter/bearing set), and trying it out on scrap wood, I took a deep breath and routed my first ledge — the binding ledge for the back. So far, so good. . . .



I followed advice I'd read about in various user groups — I first made "climb cuts" in four different sections of the body (basically going clockwise from the wide part of a bout to its bottom), to prevent tearing out of the grain. Then I routed the entire body in a counter-clockwise direction. The ledges came out really, really clean and accurate; I was very pleased and tickled with the results. I am hooked on this method of routing binding and purfling ledges!!!!

The widest purfling ledge my 1" LMI cutter and bearing set could do was .23" wide. For the binding and purfling combination I needed for my top (which will have b/w/b/abalone/bwb) I needed to cut a purfling ledge .25" wide. Luckily, my local hardwood store had a 1/2" diameter bearing that would fit my LMI cutter, so everything turned out okay. . . .

After all the binding and purfling ledges were routed, I could now turn my attention to making and installing the end graft wedge. Mine would be of ebony. I looked around, found a leftover scrap of ebony, and used my new Performax 10-20 drum sander to thickness it down from 1/4" to the 3/32" thickness I needed. How easy the Performax made it!

Below, you see the soundbox sitting in my pipe-clamp guitar clamp.

First I used an Exacto knife to scribe clean lines for the two sides of the end graft wedge. Then I used my Dremel with my Stew-Mac router base to rout out the area between the two scribed lines. I slid the wedge and two white purfling lines down the channel until it was a snug fit. Then I removed the wedge and trimmed the ends to just beyond the bottom of the binding/side purfling ledge (the width of a white purfling line). I plan to miter the end graft side purfling lines to the binding purfling lines.
Wednesday, June 30, 2004: Today I bent the ebony binding (it has a white purfling line laminated to it). I taped all four binding strips so that the white laminations were face-to-face. Then I used my side bender to bend the binding strips. I decided not to use the top aluminum sheet this time, so I could keep a better eye on the bending; I didn't want the strips to move out of position as I bent (to avoid twisting). I just used a block of wood to slowly press the binding strips down against the bender.

It worked great!!! I had absolutely no cracking of the ebony strips this time!

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