On the Edge!
Binding My Guitar
Bruce Roper bends binding
If you can't take the heat, then just bend with it!
Bruce Roper and I have become dedicated advocates of an important part of the guitar building process: The Meal! Wishbone is just around the corner and ALWAYS lands right where you want it to when it is time to eat. On this particular day, a young woman named Maya waits table for us. It is a terrible day full of clouds and drizzle and the kind of pressure that makes your ears close up (at least mine.) It feels like the atmosphere has come to sit on my head. But this young woman changes my mood completely because she is so bright and cheery. Go see for yourself. It's what guitar building is all about! Pancakes, bacon, orange juice and coffee and we headed off to Bruce's shop just around the corner.
Once again, Bruce has taken to the heating iron to begin bending the hardwood pieces that will become the binding around the top and bottom of my guitar. We're looking at thin strips of wood that might well snap if we aren't careful, and it doesn't take much heat to just safely bend them, which is what Bruce is up to at this point. Then he will diligently push them into place on a base of wood glue and tape them up so they can dry.
Binding versus purfling! Which is which? And why? Undoubtedly you have been asking yourself this question for a long, long time, as I have. Binding seals an edge. Purfling is actually an embedded strip of something, usually wood, around the top of a violin that keeps its maple from splitting. Guitars can have purfling, too. But not this one. Today is all about binding.
|The binding ready for glue|
This is what he binding looks like once it has been bent. As you can see, it matches the form of the guitar and will fit into the grooves cut around the top and bottom. In my case, the binding is dark hardwood on top on a base of light green wood. That coordinates it with everything else that is going on with the guitar. These are the kinds of things most people don't notice, but that I notice all the time. Sucky binding wrecks the guitar's look and seems out of place. So it's an aesthetic choice. We have chosen well here, I would suggest.
We made another discovery last week that I can now show you. This guitar will have an eye on the front. We didn't plan it that way. Nature did. Because the instrument is flitch matched, both the back and front are book matched pieces so the patterns repeat on either side of the center line. In this case, on the front, it forms what I think is a pretty perfect eye image that you don't typically see in a guitar. So basically, it's looking at you.