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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

  2. #2

    Default Re: binding channel cutting options

    Austin Clark has a good YouTube video for this.
    Play it like you mean it.

  3. #3
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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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  9. #7
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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

  11. #9
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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.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  12. #10
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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

  13. #11
    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.

  14. #12
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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

  15. #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

  16. #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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