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Thread: Binding question

  1. #1
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Binding question

    Does anyone know how the old rope and other old bindings were made? Some I have seen seems like they were made with a heavy paper or fiber of some kind. I am curious how they made them but also how it was bent without coming apart! Thanks everyone!
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Binding question

    It's my understanding, at least for things like herringbone purfling (mainly used on guitars) goes like this. It's glued up in sheets and the diagonals you look at are laying in the sheet at that angle you see. The purfling you buy is crosscuts from the sheet. You are looking at the end of the sheet, which is the thickness of the "width" of the purfling. Most of the patterns I've seen, if you look closely, have 2 very thin veneers on the "edges" which in the sheet "sandwich" I'm describing are on the top and bottom of the sheet. The little black and white parts that make the pattern are separate "sticks" and run the length of the sheet. So you've got this sandwich: outside= black and white thin veneers. Middle of sandwich is the diagonal pieces, which are long little sticks. Then comes the other outside of the sandwich, another black and white thin veneer combo. All glued up in a press. When you buy the purfling, you are buying crosscut slices of the sandwich. The outside black and white thin veneers are there as part of the pattern, but also to keep it from falling apart. When you bend it, you heat it up with no moisture added. If you do add moisture, it will completely come apart. And when you bend it, you actually are at that magical point where the glue softens enough to let the parts slide past each other.
    So, with that in mind, you are actually looking at the end grain of the wood making up the herringbone pattern. Which makes it particularly challenging if you want to dye to wood next to it. If you get any dye into the herringbone, you are in a really bad place.

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  4. #3
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Binding question

    Now that sounds like a painful process to make!
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  5. #4
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Binding question

    Rope binding is made from strips of wood in alternate contrasting colours, glued together into a 'brick'. These blocks are cut at an angle into sections which are then glued together so there is a log of alternating colours at the angle that was cut. That log is sliced into strips and a veneer glued on either side. That is then cut into individual binding strips with the veneers holding the little trapezoidal sections together when being bent. Easier to describe in pictures than in words and there will be an article in American Lutherie sometime soon with lots of pictures and step-by step instructions. In a burst of gratuitous self-promotion the rope binding article is a lead-in to my new book on ukulele building which should be published later this year after a crowd sourced funding campaign for the printing costs.

    Cheers

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  7. #5

    Default Re: Binding question

    Jay Hargreaves once showed me a toothpick, or what looked like a toothpick. He said "Hey, check out my cool rosette!" What looked like a toothpick was the base pattern for an entire rosette, he was going to slice it up and lay it out like marquetry. Pretty crazy.

    Looking forward to the book, Graham!

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  9. #6
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Binding question

    Am I absolutely crazy for wanting to try and make some of this?
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  10. #7
    Teacher, luthier
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    Default Re: Binding question

    It's a lot of work. I have made purfling strips from scratch for an ornately bound Larson guitar with missing sections. You will need a very good saw, and some jigs to help you sand your strips to even dimensions. Before you add the solid outer pieces to the patterned section, it will fall apart if you cough or sneeze too hard. A lot of work.

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