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.

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

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

Cut bindings
Strips are then cut in the bandsaw

Thickness bindings
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 away glue
Scrape off excess glue

and run the binding attachment around again.

Hand chisel
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.

Heat pipe
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.

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

Apply glue
Glue around the groove.

Rubber bands
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.

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

Chisel square
and trimmed flush with the front of the top.

Trim with finger plane
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.