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Thread: Buying binding router guide from stewmac

  1. #1
    Registered User Jonas's Avatar
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    Ok I need advice again. I am putting together an order from stewmac and don't know which of these to get. I can't afford both.

    This?

    Or this?


    The most important for me is that i can use it to make binding channels on the body of a mandolin. But it would be nice to use it on the headstock too. Maybe even for inlay? Which one will be more useful to me you think?

    Thanks!

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    I've got the one in the top picture and it works great for me, but the bottom one looks like it would be more usefull for other things also. I didn't get the bottom one because I had gotten the plastic larger router base with my roto tool and didn't want to end up getting two, However the one in the picture is more accurate and smaller then the plastic one I have and StewMac has other attachments for it that are usefull also. I may get one in the future.
    Bill P.
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    I have both of those and I don't use either.
    You may want to consider using a router table with a riser and guide for cutting your binding slot. That's how 99% of the full-time guys do it. I actually use an LMI cutter with a variety of bearings for different depths with a riser. Stew-Mac has one also, but the LMI offers more options.
    There was a recent picture of this method somewhere in the "builders" section, but if you find the Dudenbostel series you'll see how he does it there.

  4. #4
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    I have the predecessor to the top picture somewhere around here, I never use it, and I consider it pretty much junk. That one looks better, though.

    I also have the little router base for Dremmel, that Stewmac sells, and I use it quite a bit for inlay, but I don't use it for binding channels. I don't know how well it would work for mandolin bindings, but if it works, it would be more versatile than pic #1.

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    I think the router base option would possibly interfere with a mandolin arch, and with the recurve, you don't have a stable platform like on a guitar.
    The disadvantage to both is that it's very hard to move it in a perfectly linear manner and if you tip it inward you can overcut your slot so it would be hard to get a good fit. Also Dremmel's are notorious for bearing slop that makes it hard to get a nice clean-cut line.
    I think I saw where someone used the router base version turned upside down and set just high enough so it could be used like a router table. That would give you better control.

  6. #6
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Jim is referring to something like this, used with a router table. #The top piece adjusts in and out to control the depth into the side (the smaller dimension of the binding. The bottom piece bolts to the table from under the top half



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  7. #7
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Darryl, other than the instruments themselves, there hasn't been anything that clean in my shop for years!

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    Glad the router table was brought up. Jim, there has to be something of a carriage, right. And the part of the carriage that distances the mando body above the table has to be exactly the same dimension (in height) as the lower part that is bolted to the table/houses the bit? I have been searching my brain as well as the archives for a good pictorial of such a set up. Seems it would be cheap to jig up and easy to use with a "friendly" carriage/sled. Thanks, Mike
    Michael McPeek

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    I don't use a carrage. I just elevate the guide so that the sides are square and perpendicular to the table with the center of the arch touching the table.

  10. #10
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    I use two spool clamps, which you can make for practically nothing. That way the instrument is supported at three points, so it remains level. In the scroll area you have to remove the clamps and just hold the body more or less level.

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    I actually used to use the older style Dremel attachment for the scroll, but I seemed to get a lot of depth and bottom of cut problems, so now I mostly cut that whole thing by hand.

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    I use a table setup similar to what Darryl shows but use bearings on the cutter. I think I got the cutter and bearings from StewMac. No carriage, just let the body rotate on the arch. Scroll- I pretty much freehand that with a Foredom flexible shaft and a small cutter, then finish off with files, knives, machete...

  13. #13
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (sunburst @ May 16 2006, 11:56)
    Darryl, other than the instruments themselves, there hasn't been anything that clean in my shop for years!
    Well, that picture was taken right after I finished making it
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  14. #14
    Registered User Jonas's Avatar
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    I'm guessing that you mean one of these?



    I think my father in law has a router, maybe i could go for this instead. But i'm not sure he has a routing table though.. Maybe I can get one of those cheap.

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    You can get laminate trimmers, i.e., small routers, for around $100 US...or less? They do a better job than a Dremel. I followed the other popular pattern and built a simple carriage for the router which rides up and down on ball race drawer slides (ca $11-$15 US per pair) mounted on a base. Then you build a holder for your mandolin bodies to hold them approximately level. There have been articles on this type of binding ledge machine in American Lutherie, and probably in Guitarmaker as well. I use the rabbetting cutter and bearing set from Stew-Mac. I am even able to partially cut the binding ledges around scrolls.

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    FWIW, if we can get Dave Cohen to post pics of his setup, (Dave!), I think many people would be grateful. It's very cool. Dare I say, nifty? It really is very nice. Thanks, Dave.

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    Tomorrow, I'm heading down to Helton Creek, NC for the SE CoMando gathering. So I won't be able to take a picture and post it until Sunday PM. If this thread has not gone dormant by then, I'll do so. But I didn't invent my setup, and it _is_ in the literature in various forms. If I remember correctly, Tom Ribbeke (sp?) uses something like it, and has probably written about it. He demonstrated it at an ASIA convention a few years back.

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    the top one will work fine. Jerry

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    Had a great time at Helton Vreek, NC. Here are some pictures of my binding ledge machine. I can akso use it with a flush trim bit to trime the plates flush to the ribs. In the pictures, the rig is set up with the flush trim bit. For ledges, I use the rabbetting bit and bearings set pictured in Jonas' post. I think that the whole shmear costs no more than the Dremel plus the Stew Mac attachment.

    The first image is a straight-on shot of the machine. The small router is mounted on a carriage which moves up and down relative to the base with the aid of ball bearing drawer slides, about $11.
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    The second image shows the machine from the back. The counterweight is a plumber's nipple with end caps, filled with fishing shot.
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    The third image shows the mandolin body cradle. Built with scrap plywood and a few maple scraps, carriage bolts, flat washers, and wing nuts.
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    This image is a closeup of the polycarbonate tongue for resting on the edge of the instrument body.
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    Finally, a staged operation. The mandolin is mounted in the body cradle and the whole thing is moved against the cutter bearing and under the tongue. Does your flush trimming or ledge cutting in about a minute, not counting setup. Compared to a Dremel, it is very clean and quite free from tearout. The underside of the tongue is shaped such that you can even climb up the outside of the scroll, though you will still have to finish the part near the fingerboard and the interior by hand.
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    Pretty Slick!

    Ron
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    (Or something like that...)

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