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Binding the top

For this mandolin I am going to use wooden Maple bindings from Stewart McDonald.  That is cheating, but I often make my own bindings from wood so the first few photographs will show how to make your own bindings.


Frrst a strip of, in this case Blackwood, is cut in the bandsaw


and thicknessed to 6mm (final height of the bindings).


Strips are then cut in the bandsaw


and thicknessed to 2mm in the drum sander.   That is it, simple.


Now we make the first pass with the binding attachment and router in the Dremel.


Scrape off excess glue


and run the binding attachment around again.


Cleanup with a sharp chisel.  The Dremel can't route out all the binding groove, particulalrly around the front of the instrument, so this needs to be cleaned out with the Dremel and a hand chisel to finish off..


Now we need to bend the bindings.  This is done the same way as the ribs are bend around a hot pipe.  Heat the pipe with the gas torch.


Bend the wooden bindings around the pipe.  These are the bindings I am going to use, not the ones I made up from Blackwood.


Glue around the groove.


Rubber bands to hold the binding in place.  First one side is bent and glued, then the other side is bent and glued into place.


Once the glue is dried, the ends of the bindings are clipped,


and trimmed flush with the front of the top.


Last step is to trim the top of the bindings flush (or near flush) to the top with a finger plane.  Careful not to made tool marks in the top.