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Thread: What binding to get?

  1. #1

    Default What binding to get?

    I'm not ready to start doing binding on my build yet but I'm trying to start looking ahead. Maybe save some on shipping by making one big order. Anyway, I think I'm trying to do a top bound white - black - white pattern generally. Stew mac has some mandolin binding suggestions online. They look pretty good but I'd need to buy a whole bunch of different sizes and it is all ABS. not sure if I need all of the different sizes. What binding sizes to people typically use?

    Another question I have is where do you get the blocks for the point protectors and where can I get the piece for the 15th fret line thing? I haven't been able to find anything on those online and I'm worried it would be hard to find something that would match the binding well. I think it would be especially hard if I wanted to go with a cream or ivoroid or something that isn't pure white. I'm a little worried a "white" might be a bit too bold for my taste, but I'm not sure how white the white actually is.

    body and peghead:
    .020" x .250" White
    .020" x .250" Black
    .060" x .250" White

    fingerboard (side bound)
    .040" x .250" White
    .020" x .075" Black
    .020" x .075" white

  2. #2

    Default Re: What binding to get?

    White ABS is always intensively "White". In my limited experience with binding, I very much prefer celluloid. It carries the hazard of catching fire if you get it too hot but ABS can never polish up to any depth of gloss like celluloid. I appreciate the melt-in adhesive characteristics that bind it to the wood and the superior way lacquer bonds to the surface. It think celluloid ages in a wonderfully graceful manner and with experience its easy to manipulate and coax. For me its worth the upcharge for hazardous material shipping. ABS is not inferior but I enjoy celluloid. I use lmii for my binding.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What binding to get?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wrnchbndr View Post
    White ABS is always intensively "White". In my limited experience with binding, I very much prefer celluloid. It carries the hazard of catching fire if you get it too hot but ABS can never polish up to any depth of gloss like celluloid. I appreciate the melt-in adhesive characteristics that bind it to the wood and the superior way lacquer bonds to the surface. It think celluloid ages in a wonderfully graceful manner and with experience its easy to manipulate and coax. For me its worth the upcharge for hazardous material shipping. ABS is not inferior but I enjoy celluloid. I use lmii for my binding.
    A lot of people seem to swear by celluloid. Even on lmii there doesn't seem to be as big of a selection of sizes as there is for ABS. I wouldn't be able to get all of the sizes recommended by stewmac. what sized would you use for a top bound mandolin. I also can't seem to find the point protector blocks or 15th fret piece in celluloid either.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What binding to get?

    Axiom carries the largest selection of celluloid binding and sheet stock. They carry black, white, ivoroid, and tortoise, and offer many laminates. www.axinc.net

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  6. #5

    Default Re: What binding to get?

    With celluloid, you can generally create any thickness of block or fixture by laminating pieces together using acetone. Acetone melts the material surface and essentially the two pieces actually bond into a single piece as the solvent dissipates. I've used Axiom before without any complaint.

  7. #6

    Default Re: What binding to get?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wrnchbndr View Post
    With celluloid, you can generally create any thickness of block or fixture by laminating pieces together using acetone. Acetone melts the material surface and essentially the two pieces actually bond into a single piece as the solvent dissipates. I've used Axiom before without any complaint.
    Would laminating pieces work with ABS too? I looked on Axiom quickly and it's looking like it would be about $50 with the shipping charges and hazmat fee. That's a bit of a hard pill to swallow for me.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: What binding to get?

    This gives me the chance to repeat something I once said back in the great binding drought when Stew-Mac discontinued celluloid.

    ABS is great! For sewage pipe.

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  10. #8
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    Default Re: What binding to get?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin_newbie View Post
    Would laminating pieces work with ABS too? I looked on Axiom quickly and it's looking like it would be about $50 with the shipping charges and hazmat fee. That's a bit of a hard pill to swallow for me.
    You can laminate them together using a light swipe of acetone or binding glue and pressure -- I did a B/W laminate for the first dreadnought I built.

    However, I also just placed a large order of various celluloid bindings from StewMac. I don't need all of it right at the moment, but I love the grained ivoroid and the tortoise binding, and it's going to save me $32 the next time I do need it. I basically did a mix and match of sizes.

  11. #9

    Default Re: What binding to get?

    I don't remember ABS to be anywhere as bondable as celluloid but I haven't used any ABS is years. ABS is cheap and plentiful. I suggest you experiment a bit with any you might have laying around. I relate celluloid to being nothing more complicated than a thick sheet of cured lacquer that can be softened and even thinned by acetone and when the acetone dissipates, you are left with nearly exactly what you started with. It melts and then returns to its original form. I don't know if ABS works the same way. Celluloid tortoise shell is just always such a classic look.

  12. #10

    Default Re: What binding to get?

    Just sharing... years ago I ignited the celluloid binding on a solid body guitar using a dremel sanding tool and it burned its way around the entire perimeter of the guitar body like a dynamite fuse. The smoke can really disable you and it tends to not want to extinguish easily. I have lit it on fire on a belt sander also making a pickguard.
    Last edited by Wrnchbndr; Apr-16-2019 at 1:59pm. Reason: grammar

  13. #11

    Default Re: What binding to get?

    here's my takeaways so far.

    Celluloid
    pros:
    easy to work with (when not on fire)
    binds well
    looks nice
    polishes smoother than ABS
    street cred

    cons:
    is frequently on fire
    costs more
    hazmat shipping!! (this is a big one with small quantities)
    can be harder to find
    not as many size and shape options
    not very good for sewage pipes

  14. #12
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    Default Re: What binding to get?

    Celluloid is neither no more nor no less flammable now than it was 100 years ago. It is flammable, and should be handled with a reasonable amount of care. Luthier's manuals have always recommended that the shavings and sawdust be removed from the shop.

    The Hazmat shipping fee was instituted post 911. Why some of the other plastics are not subject to a Hazmat fee, I do not know, since some of them are as flammable as celluloid.

    From the perspective of building and repair, celluloid is perhaps the best of the plastics. It bonds well and accepts finishes well. I have had binding and finishing problems with other plastics. Some finishes just won't stick to ABS at all. If you finish ABS with nitrocellulose lacquer, it is a good idea to wipe the plastic liberally with acetone just before applying the lacquer, and then cross your fingers. Let it dry very thoroughly before re-coating or sanding.

    I will add that when I replaced a guitar back last year and attempted to tint the ABS binding, the re-work that resulted when I couldn't get the finish to stick cost me far more in labor time than what it would have cost to buy a piece of white celluloid, Hazmat fee and all. I'm about done with ABS. Next time, I'll bite the bullet and order celluloid.

  15. #13
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    Default Re: What binding to get?

    Wondering, can you get grained ABS?

  16. #14
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    Default Re: What binding to get?

    Not that I know of. Unless you want to avoid the Hazmat fee, I'm not sure why you would want to.

    About 3 years ago, I had my local music store order me a piece of "grained ivoroid" from Saga just to see what they would send. At that time, they shipped it without the Hazmat fee. I don't know whether or not they still ship without the fee.

    It is indeed celluloid-- it has the characteristic smell when you scrape it. On the Saga website, it is listed under the "nut saddle blanks" category under "parts and accesories." The height is only 1/4", though. I don't know if that would be tall enough for your building purposes.

  17. #15

    Default Re: What binding to get?

    Think hard on the W/B/W idea. Look at some skilled builders using white or ivoroid one ply. Getting the corners to line up is not for the faint of heart. My first F style would have been cleaner with a one ply binding. But, no one has noticed where I connected the black lines with a sharpie LOL.
    Silverangel A
    Michael Kelly LSFTB
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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