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Thread: binding channel cutting options

  1. #1
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    Default binding channel cutting options

    I just routed my f model, with a stew mac tool that goes on your dremel. I really do not think I do a very good job with it,and am not sure if my dremel is under powered for the maple, ( also , just got a new dremel , lithium powered), and somehow, although everything is tight , I go deep in places. I would like to make a jig that will hold a laminate cutter for this process. I can clearly visualize how a table router is proll great for a dreadnought but the mando is another issue, so , any pics of your set up would be appreciated thanks
    Mike Marrs

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    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    Austin Clark has a good YouTube video for this.
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    A dremel tool is way underpowered for this operation, especially on maple, and especially, if you're implying this, a battery powered one. A Foredom is better. A laminate trimmer or other real router is the best. Austin's video is very good. I have a router mounted upside down in a dedicated setup. The cutter sticks up above a little shelf that's only about 3/8" wide so archtop/back instruments aren't a problem; it works for guitars also.
    That StewMac attachment is a disaster waiting to happen.

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  5. #4
    Registered User O. Apitius's Avatar
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    Here's my current set-up. I've tried various ways of routing the binding rabbet but this is my favorite. The router table method is also very good and I will second that a Dremel is under powered for routing the entire ledge but I do use one, with a spiral bit, to cut around the scroll, using this same "Canadarm" free hand.



    In this photo, I'm using the arm to trim the the overhang of the top plate with a flush-cut bit.
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  7. #5

    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    Seconds after routing my first binding channel in a spruce top, with the set up that the OP describes, I knew that it was not going to be powerful enough for the hard maple back (I ended up not binding it all, that was easy!)
    There are certain tasks that require specific tools, for safety and accuracy.
    I cut electric strikes into metal door frames and in my opinion there is only one tool that should ever be employed to do that with and that is the Dremel Ultra-Saw. Their weak-ass standard rotary tool is almost invariably disappointing for all but the lightest of tasks.
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  8. #6

    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    I was another victim of the StewMac tool. I had to build up about a third of my channel as somehow it cut too wide. Cut some long thin wood strips, glued them in, and recut. Actually that was the crowning achievement of the whole build. However, not being a luthier, all I had was some redwood. I planned on hiding it with a dark or even black finish. In the end, I decided I wanted to see all the flaws as a reminder disasters can be overcome, so the top was finished clear and the back and sides a light Amber.

    Know what? No one notices. I'm sure they would if they were paying serious money for it.
    Players I respect really like how it sounds and plays. That's enough to make me very happy. But build two is getting single ply binding.
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    Oliver, that is a great system. Did you build that arm, or buy it?



    Quote Originally Posted by O. Apitius View Post
    Here's my current set-up. I've tried various ways of routing the binding rabbet but this is my favorite. The router table method is also very good and I will second that a Dremel is under powered for routing the entire ledge but I do use one, with a spiral bit, to cut around the scroll, using this same "Canadarm" free hand.



    In this photo, I'm using the arm to trim the the overhang of the top plate with a flush-cut bit.

  10. #8
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    I mostly use router table but I used cheap Dremel knock off with homemade base for channels on first couple of mandolins. With good bit it always worked though it was slow as you had to cut the channel in 4-5 passes. I use at least 3 passes for router table as well to prevent chipping away at the points sometimes I don't cut there at all and finish by hand when I feel the wood wants to chip mor ethan normal. The latest two mandolins I cut wholly by hand with my hand made "gramil" tool. (posted in anothe thread few months ago) Takes more time and skill but still doable.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    As a first-time builder, I made a binding channel cutting jig for a router similar to this one that Lynn Dudenbostel posted some time ago:Click image for larger version. 

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    It works great, and the mandolin is highly protected from the router bit.
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    thanks all some cool looking jigs there, and I am a bit relieved to know that I am not the only one struggling with the set up I have
    Mike Marrs

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    Masamando Steve Hinde's Avatar
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    Dremel tools shaft bearings are mounted in rubber or plastic. Not solid enough for accurate routing for channels or inlay. I have something similar to Lynn's using a small router mounted below. Still a lot of hand work at the points, inside corner and the scroll areas. I have an overhead arm for guitars.

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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    one of the things I have learned that I like about doing this is making my own jigs, and I like the looks of lynns
    Mike Marrs

  16. #13

    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    I would like to know about that router arm setup as well. Would love to buy or build one myself. -Mark

  17. #14

    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    They are called Torque Reaction Arms. You can go onto vxbbearings.com and get the bearings and a shaft for cheap. The commercial models are $700+ unless you find one as surplus.
    They do a lot more than just hold the router... Since it provides a counter to the cutting torque, the increase the control you have immeasurably versus a freehand router or even a instrument on a router table.

    Many folks have made something similar using drawer slides. Look up "drawer slide binding jig". I think that's way more complicated and way less slick, but hey, use what you have laying around, right?

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  19. #15

    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    thx for the great tips all
    i've been using the stewmac dremel thingie in combination with schneiders gramil (LMI sells it) - the dremel is only good for cutting the side contours, don't cut to full depth it wanders that way, leave a 1/2 mm and finish the plate surfaces with the gramil - chisel out the remainder - its very tedious - takes hours but you eventually get clean edges - naturally i'm looking for a better way too

  20. #16
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    I also used the StewMac Dremel guide once and vowed never to do it again. It does live on as the bearing guide in my current setup, though. This is based on the same idea as Lynn's wooden guide, but rotates so the bearing guide is always perpendicular to the cut. That maintains the depth of cut and lets me cut big instruments like archtops on the small router table because the orientation doesn't matter.
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  22. #17

    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    So another variation on this is the Elevate jig. Looks pretty clever, but same general principle as what Andrew shows above. Just much easier to set up for different jobs due to the clever "zero bar" design.

  23. #18
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    I've used every tool shown here and many others, some very affordable and simple, to cut the initial binding channel. All of them represent a starting point. I've seen plenty of people botch the whole thing using very fancy $700+ tooling and near perfection from a steady hand, a $5 exacto knife + a popsicle stick with sandpaper. The real key to great binding work is to finesse and fine tune all aspects of both the channel and the binding itself by hand until the dry fit is perfect. Then add the glue...

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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    Quote Originally Posted by amowry View Post
    I also used the StewMac Dremel guide once and vowed never to do it again. It does live on as the bearing guide in my current setup, though. This is based on the same idea as Lynn's wooden guide, but rotates so the bearing guide is always perpendicular to the cut. That maintains the depth of cut and lets me cut big instruments like archtops on the small router table because the orientation doesn't matter.
    Hi Andrew, am I right in saying that you use the spool clamps as a form of cradle to keep the body level, so you would have to rout a section and then move the clamps around to rout the next section. Thanks Mike.

  25. #20
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyb2 View Post
    Hi Andrew, am I right in saying that you use the spool clamps as a form of cradle to keep the body level, so you would have to rout a section and then move the clamps around to rout the next section. Thanks Mike.
    Yep, that's correct. It adds a little time, but it's pretty fast moving the clamps around.

  26. #21
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    So another variation on this is the Elevate jig. Looks pretty clever, but same general principle as what Andrew shows above. Just much easier to set up for different jobs due to the clever "zero bar" design.
    That "zero bar" is a cool idea! The main difference between mine and those other bearing guides is that mine swivels so the depth of cut remains the same regardless of whether the guitar is held perpendicular to the jig.

  27. #22
    Registered User Steve Sorensen's Avatar
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    This thing is fantastic, reliable, safe . . . and worth every penny if you are doing more than a couple of instruments. One of the best purchases I've made in the past 10 years. Well worth every cent.

    https://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tool..._Bits_Set.html

    Steve

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  29. #23
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    thanks Andrew.

  30. #24

    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Jacobson View Post
    So another variation on this is the Elevate jig. Looks pretty clever, but same general principle as what Andrew shows above. Just much easier to set up for different jobs due to the clever "zero bar" design.
    Did everyone else get to watch Marty's video? It wouldn't open for me.

  31. #25
    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    Wouldn't open for me either.
    Play it like you mean it

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