Saturday, September 12, 2009


I want to try my hand at putting binding on this uke. To do this I built a new jig/tool last weekend. I had to do some ugly welding (I'm out of practice) and mount this angled piece to a heavy duty drawer slide (from Axman's). The router is then kept verticle and I can keep both hands on the uke body. I tried it out last night and it worked pretty well.

Here you can see a wood guide I added to the bottom. This is necessary because of the radiused top and back, otherwise the router bit wouldn't keep the right distance from the top. You can see I added my routing directions so I would do things right.

I also decided to try my hand at inlay for the headstock. This is my first ever attempt. Here are my initials (minus the verticle on the left side), I'm leaving that off to be "artsy."

Here the binding channels are complete. I decided against purfling this time, maybe on the next one.

In this shot I've already started removing the tape. I first tried some special glue made just for plastic binding but the work time is so quick that I started to make a mess of it and had to remove it, clean up the channels and start over. I stopped to research things some more and ended up using CA glue instead (super glue). It left a real mess to clean up as it wicked under the tape and across the back.

Here is the back, all bound, and mostly cleaned up. I won't clean up the sides until I finish binding the front.

The back was such a mess that I'm afraid the CA will really wick into the Western Red Cedar top. I stopped and went to the store and bought some shellac. I'm hoping this will seal the grain a bit so the glue won't wick in but still allow it to adhere well. Then I'll sand the shellac completely off after the binding is on. This also gives a little preview of how the top will look with some finish on it... I like it!

I love the look of tortoise binding but I'm getting the idea that plastic binding in general can be a pain in the butt! With wood binding I could just use Titebond and work it like normal. We'll see if the extra effort is worth it when it's complete.

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