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Timbuck
06-07-2017, 05:48 AM
Due to old age, fumbling fingers, stress, nervous breakdowns,and general frustration, and phinxter twitching,and feeling pissed off.. I've decided that when i've completed these two Koa sopranos I'm currently working on..I will give up with bindings on my ukes all together .. From now on just plain "style "O" sopranos" No more bindings if I charged for hours of work? these two would be worth 5000 :old::old: I've had a bad day.:mad:

Pete Howlett
06-07-2017, 06:45 AM
What we all know...

ksquine
06-07-2017, 07:18 AM
Bindings only go two ways. Nice and easy or a total horror show :wallbash:

Andyk
06-07-2017, 09:55 AM
When you put them on ebay try putting the buy it now price at 5k... You never know......

RPA_Ukuleles
06-07-2017, 11:04 AM
I have four uke bodies waiting in the binding queue. My least favorite process.

Allen
06-07-2017, 11:48 AM
When they go right though........:cheers:

Timbuck
06-07-2017, 12:01 PM
When I build Tenors and Concerts I have less problems...But! with my Sopranos with an ultra arched back and 1 inch waist rad it's not easy :mad::uhoh:
But sometimes they go right ;) This one I made yonks ago.
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0015-6_zpscf0b7aab.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0015-6_zpscf0b7aab.jpg.html)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-07-2017, 01:04 PM
I hear you Ken. Hopefully you'll start a trend that will be the acceptable norm amongst the uke buying public. This week I'm binding 4 ukes, bodies, headstocks and fretboards, all with ebony, two with arm bevels and two with paua abalone purling. None of which I look forward to. :(

sequoia
06-07-2017, 07:15 PM
I feel your pain Ken. Sometimes I approach this step like a world war I soldier going over the top: There is a possibility we are all going to die here! My heart rate goes up. My breathing becomes short and quick. Obviously this is not how to approach wood working things. Best to take a deep breath and proceed. Everything is gonna be fine. Just fine. I'm not an expert binding cutter, but I have learned you don't have to be perfect. A really sharp file with a safe edge will even out those spots that are not deep enough because your sides were not perfectly square. Onward! Through the saw dust!

Michael N.
06-07-2017, 10:03 PM
I create the binding channel by gluing the linings to the ribs with an overstep. You need to know the final shape of the rib and of course you still need to trim back the top/back to the lining. Given that I don't like using routers I find it both quicker and neater.

Pete Howlett
06-07-2017, 10:11 PM
i have a man to do mine...

Timbuck
06-08-2017, 12:29 AM
Before I go any further I'm going to take Chuck's advice from a few years back, and make a clamp with cauls to fit the waist area and see if I can take some mental stress out of the job.

tobinsuke
06-08-2017, 04:35 AM
Damnit..... I recognize that little beauty. Was sold to me/mine until it perished in a shop fire a little over a year ago:(



When I build Tenors and Concerts I have less problems...But! with my Sopranos with an ultra arched back and 1 inch waist rad it's not easy
But sometimes they go right ;) This one I made yonks ago.
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0015-6_zpscf0b7aab.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0015-6_zpscf0b7aab.jpg.html)

Timbuck
06-08-2017, 05:12 AM
Damnit..... I recognize that little beauty. Was sold to me/mine until it perished in a shop fire a little over a year ago:(
Thats a sad story..I liked that one as well:(

Timbuck
06-08-2017, 05:16 AM
Anyway a bit of thinking and a rummage thro' the scrap bin, a bit of drilling and milling......And I came up with this device .. Next job "see if it actually works" ??.
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0116_zpsg22hmht9.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0116_zpsg22hmht9.jpg.html)

saltytri
06-08-2017, 06:38 AM
That's brilliant, Ken!

Citabria
06-08-2017, 07:18 AM
Hope you'll allow a member of the plebeian public to weight in...I LOVE ukuleles without binding. In fact, they remind me of the planes of an infinity pool vs. that pool at Hearst Castle... I also like Copeland's "Simple Gifts" ...I hear that song in my mind when I look at that wonderful Kawika soprano on ebay now. That's my ideal ukulele (just not my ideal price range:). Have a great day and thank you for all your hard work making beautiful ukuleles for us to play.

EDW
06-08-2017, 07:36 AM
From now on just plain "style "O" sopranos"

There is something quite lovely about a nice style 0 instrument, made cleanly and elegantly. The true craft can shine in its simplicity.

RickOlson
06-08-2017, 10:41 AM
Anyway a bit of thinking and a rummage thro' the scrap bin, a bit of drilling and milling......And I came up with this device .. Next job "see if it actually works" ??.


Last weekend I showed someone Timbuck's kerf-making machine. I think this is further evidence that his primary interest in uke building is really to let him build shop accoutrements.

mmfitzsimons
06-08-2017, 11:10 AM
As a non-luthier, I find this conversation fascinating. (Dave Sigman is building my next uke for me, my first custom, and the journey has expanded my obsession beyond playing and acquiring ukes, to the art and craft behind them. I'm not about to try building myself, but wow, I love the world you folks occupy.)

Since some of you expressed the hope that bindings would fall out of popular favor, let me ask you: Do they make a difference?

Full disclosure: The uke Dave is making will be first one I've had with binding. That's probably the main draw for me, actually, since I haven't really missed having binding on my other ukes. I appreciate simplicity as well as bling, and while I've heard bindings offer protection, my other ukes seem to have handled the occasional table-tap on a edge quite well...

Michael N.
06-08-2017, 11:32 AM
If they do then it's probably 0.000001 %.
Of course you will always find makers who swear that they can hear a difference between bindings made from maple and bindings made from cherry.
I think they are an optimistic lot, to say the least.

sequoia
06-08-2017, 07:07 PM
Since some of you expressed the hope that bindings would fall out of popular favor, let me ask you: Do they make a difference?

Good question. First of all, bindings do not effect the sound of the instrument to any significant degree. The wood working rationalization though I think is valid. Bindings fulfill five purposes: 1) They close the exposed end grain of the top (soundboard) and thus stabilize expansion of the top due to moisture or dryness making the instrument more stable musically in differing climatic conditions. 2) They protect the vulnerable edges of a soft wood like spruce by providing a hardwood barrier like maple or ebony so that dents are minimized. Acts a "bumper". 3) Absorbs and distributes shocks to the instrument when abused like being dropped, thrown, etc.. Binding cracks and not the top. Binding replaceable. Not so much the top, and 4) Looks good and allows the luthier to show off his or her skills with purfling and adds bling. 5) Binds the instrument together securely by gluing together the sides, the lining and the top in a secure, stable way.

So bindings do serve an important function. This does not mean that ukuleles without bindings are inferior. Just that ones with bindings are better.

mmfitzsimons
06-08-2017, 08:10 PM
Ah, that is good info. Thank you for the answers!

Makes a lot of sense, although exceptions start to appear. Denser koa and mahogany soundboards, for example, maybe can fend for themselves a bit better? I haven't had any stability issues either with unbound Hawaiian ukes in So Cal.... but I should probably give it 10 years before I declare victory, and I definitely like the idea of binding taking the blow in a drop! :)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-08-2017, 09:30 PM
Anyway a bit of thinking and a rummage thro' the scrap bin, a bit of drilling and milling......And I came up with this device .. Next job "see if it actually works" ??.
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0116_zpsg22hmht9.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0116_zpsg22hmht9.jpg.html)

The only improvement I would make to that Ken is to wrap Teflon sheet around the cauls to repel any glue.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-08-2017, 09:36 PM
In theory I suppose a stiffer rim to plate joint could contribute to the sound to some, if not minimal degree (like the debate over kerfed linings to solid ones). From an aesthetic viewpoint, if you are using nice wood I think the uke looks incomplete without binding. Like a fine painting is enhanced by a frame.

Kekani
06-08-2017, 10:01 PM
The best part of binding an instrument for me, is doing it now, with the tools and jigs I have.

I've finally settled on my binding jig with an upgrade to a DeWalt DW611, with my "infinitely adjustable" bearing foot. Step for the purfling is a non-issue, depth adjustment accurate. 1/4" downcut spiral is the way to go.

Binding tape? What is that? I have kids, with bikes, with tires, that go flat, and needs tubes replaced. . . and my fretting hammer to tap and seat. I do tape a little to set the bindings in place.

Since I started "finishing" once the box is together, there's no pull out, and my scraper gets a LOT of use.

Of course, my latest spin, which doesn't make sense, is Koa bindings on Koa instruments.

From a building perspective, I turned a few processes into what I do when I inlay - make it a meditative process. Mitred purfling with a Zen frame of mind is actually very satisfying.
Basically, its all in the head.

Alas, I'd make a lot more instruments if there was no such thing as binding, or purfling.

Diogenes Blue
06-09-2017, 01:52 AM
One for each size. Made the soprano one many moons ago. Packing tape on the waist cauls keeps glue from sticking.

100773

Timbuck
06-09-2017, 04:04 AM
One for each size. Made the soprano one many moons ago. Packing tape on the waist cauls keeps glue from sticking.


Nice one Vic ..I luv e'm, good luthier type traditional design as well ;)..I don't do many with bindings...but waist clamps do make the job easier and are the way to go .. in fact I had no problems with this soprano...The bindings went on like dream compared to the nightmare I had with the last one.
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0125_zpsvs99y5ns.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0125_zpsvs99y5ns.jpg.html)

Ukador
06-09-2017, 05:42 AM
You know that :iwant: it

sequoia
06-09-2017, 07:08 PM
Like a fine painting is enhanced by a frame.

Yeah. It just looks good... Actually the argument I made that bindings make the instrument stronger and more stable might just be a lot of blather. There are many examples of antique ukuleles that didn't have any binding and they look and sound just fine. Then there are minimalist ukes with no binding at all that look killer good. Howlett built one a couple years back that was a classic. Bindings would have detracted from the design. But like Kekani, I enjoy doing the things. Mostly. Key to doing good looking bindings: Sides that are 90 degrees to the deck. All around. Not so easy.

100792

Pete Howlett
06-09-2017, 09:42 PM
A lot of blather is written on this forum - most of it by me....

In 2014 my assistant Tom was serving an internship - those of you who turned him down really missed a trick! After about 3 months with me he said, "Shall I show you how I learned to bind an instrument using rope?" Intrigued, I watched this fledgling master bind a hand bent (and not accurately at that) set of rosewood bindings using nothing but cotton washing line, glue and a brush. Gently and at a leisurely pace he roped the bindings in place with no gaps, no problems. Before he returns to Germany I will shoot a video of him doing this. It is masterful to watch!

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-09-2017, 10:19 PM
For those of you considering binding for the first time I suggest you start with EI rosewood. It bends like a dream and will conform to any shape. Save the ebony and the cussing for when you feel a bit more sadistic.

JesterBlod
06-10-2017, 12:02 AM
A lot of blather is written on this forum - most of it by me....

In 2014 my assistant Tom was serving an internship - those of you who turned him down really missed a trick! After about 3 months with me he said, "Shall I show you how I learned to bind an instrument using rope?" Intrigued, I watched this fledgling master bind a hand bent (and not accurately at that) set of rosewood bindings using nothing but cotton washing line, glue and a brush. Gently and at a leisurely pace he roped the bindings in place with no gaps, no problems. Before he returns to Germany I will shoot a video of him doing this. It is masterful to watch!

This is one of Tom doing this binding - https://www.facebook.com/no1petehowlett/videos/10154063448366031/

greenscoe
06-10-2017, 01:01 AM
Here's another way of using rope to bind both sides at once (classical guitar with spanish heel):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Bd9PELrJxE

1931jim
06-10-2017, 04:03 AM
This is one of Tom doing this binding - https://www.facebook.com/no1petehowlett/videos/10154063448366031/

This is the old time honoured method, it was how I was taught many years ago. An alert is necessary however.
Be careful you don't get your shirt tail caught up between the rope and the instrument. How do I know this.?HaHa. Memories.
Of course it would not apply to the T shirt wearing fraternity.

Timbuck
06-10-2017, 04:39 AM
This is the old time honoured method, it was how I was taught many years ago. An alert is necessary however.
Be careful you don't get your shirt tail caught up between the rope and the instrument. How do I know this.?HaHa. Memories.
Of course it would not apply to the T shirt wearing fraternity.
It's a very similar method I used to fit the backs on some island style ukes I made a while back..I made a video of me getting in a right o'll mess and cursing as the string got tangled around my legs :mad:..In the end I deleted the video co's it was so embarrassing :o:o

sequoia
06-10-2017, 07:30 PM
string got tangled around my legs :mad:..In the end I deleted the video co's it was so embarrassing :o:o

Wouldn't it be great to have a Luthier's Lounge Blooper thread. What really happens in real life when things go south. That would be fun to watch....

Naw, ditch the string, the clamps, the ropes, the hide glue and just use binding tape and CA. Never fails. Just make sure you seal your wood with shellac or that tape will rip out some nasty grain. Then CA glue with a medium accelerator. Holds like the hammers of hell and a child could do it. Easy glue clean up. Not traditional and not as pretty. But it works a trick. Plus no wait time. Ten minutes later you can scrape and sand flush. Next!

Downsides to this method: How is it going hold 30 years down the line? Really nasty CA fumes with cyanide gas from the accelerator to boot (not a problem for me. I'm old school and tough. I laugh at poisonous gases! Ha!), and literally gluing yourself to your ukulele which is not pleasant and can be quite painful. I say we must suffer for our craft!

In my admittedly limited experience I would say Chuck is right. Rosewood bends nice and polite. All that oil helps. Ebony binding is the worst. A trick I have never mastered and really why bother? There is no grain and it just looks black. Black plastic is a lot easier and looks about the same. Maple falls in the middle in difficulty and looks great. Only problem is you will have to hide your end block butt seam with a light wood and this can be a challenge. Picture below of mediocre figured maple with exposed end seam. I hate visible seams and this is a tough one to hide. No hiding here.

100799100800

Michael N.
06-10-2017, 10:51 PM
I used the rope method for many years. Now I prefer to use tape with hide glue.
Ebony is pretty unforgiving because there's actually little 'give' in the wood. It doesn't conform as readily as something like Walnut binding. There are little tricks that help. I wrap the waist area in foil before bending them on a hot pipe. That helps to retain both heat and moisture, otherwise the ebony becomes even more brittle.
Instead of spoiling the inside edge of the binding I tilt the plane a few degrees when preparing the lining. I never get gaps between the binding and the sides although I used to get the odd one when I was just spoiling the inside edge.

Timbuck
06-12-2017, 06:21 AM
Following all the stress I had with this job, I couldn't switch off the brain..something tells me there has to be an easier way to do this job apart from rope and sticky tape and painfull fingers..and this is what I came up with "The Acme binding jig"....It's still in the prototype stage and there are a couple of improvements still to do before I make the final one...I knocked up a mock uke body out of MDF routed the channels and gave it a test run with CA glue and Zapper..It almost worked perfectly with no glue on the fingers at all, no gaps and it just took minutes..I started at the waist wicking in the glue and zapping..I worked outwards clamping about 30mm spaces two a time top and bottom bouts together...Here are a few pics.
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0003_zpsasy8ei48.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0003_zpsasy8ei48.jpg.html)
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0006_zpshcqmdvuj.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0006_zpshcqmdvuj.jpg.html)
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0011_zpsznzmdcv4.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0011_zpsznzmdcv4.jpg.html)
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0015_zpstonfg0ta.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0015_zpstonfg0ta.jpg.html)

RPA_Ukuleles
06-12-2017, 06:40 AM
Ken,

You

Are

Amazing!

Andyk
06-12-2017, 07:20 AM
That is very clever... Or rather you are very clever

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-12-2017, 10:09 AM
That's cool Ken, much like a side bending jig. Thinking along those same lines I might be tempted to incorporate some tension springs on those arms.

Timbuck
06-12-2017, 10:41 AM
That's cool Ken, much like a side bending jig. Thinking along those same lines I might be tempted to incorporate some tension springs on those arms. I thought of that as well Chuck...I've got a few other non ukulele jobs to attend to, then i'll start on the MK II design. ;)

sequoia
06-12-2017, 07:28 PM
I have sensed that you are getting a little bored of late Ken and I love that you are applying your genius to the problem of gluing bindings. However, if you could come up with the never fails, perfect neck/body cutting machine that makes a perfect neck to body alignment perfect every time: The patented Timbuck Neck-n-Nator. Now that would be a machine that would sell.

RPA_Ukuleles
06-13-2017, 04:37 AM
That's cool Ken, much like a side bending jig. Thinking along those same lines I might be tempted to incorporate some tension springs on those arms.

Yep I think springs could make it quick and smooth. But I was thinking compression springs out between the thumbwheels and the rollers.

Timbuck
06-14-2017, 08:50 AM
Yep I think springs could make it quick and smooth. But I was thinking compression springs out between the thumbwheels and the rollers.

I tried the springs..They didnt work co's due to the diferent variations in radii around the bouts the cauls just slipped sideways..If the uke was the Nunes design based on two round circles then it should work...I find locking the arms solid in the postions required, does the trick ...After hours of experimenting with diferent ideas finally this is the finished job... *Note* Cauls are made from Teflon ...The downside is I have to make more ukes with bindings to try it out:(

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0004_zps7i8nvlw8.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0004_zps7i8nvlw8.jpg.html)

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
06-14-2017, 11:32 AM
I tried the springs..They didnt work co's due to the diferent variations in radii around the bouts the cauls just slipped sideways..If the uke was the Nunes design based on two round circles then it should work...I find locking the arms solid in the postions required, does the trick ...After hours of experimenting with diferent ideas finally this is the finished job... *Note* Cauls are made from Teflon ...The downside is I have to make more ukes with bindings to try it out:(

http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0004_zps7i8nvlw8.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0004_zps7i8nvlw8.jpg.html)

Heavy springs (like valve springs) behind the cauls didn't work? I've seen side benders built along these lines. Compression springs like RPA mentioned.

Timbuck
06-15-2017, 02:19 AM
Valve springs are compression springs Chuck But I dont have many of them lying about..but I have lots of other types .. Either way they didnt help....I suppose there's lots of room for improvement in this jig but it will do me for now as it is ;) ..just to test out the new design I bound the other side of the test piece ..and MDF is not the easiest of materials to bond to CA glue, but again I was very pleased with the results.
http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc143/shiregreenbod/PICT0008_zps5wlcxmcn.jpg (http://s219.photobucket.com/user/shiregreenbod/media/PICT0008_zps5wlcxmcn.jpg.html)

Pukulele Pete
06-15-2017, 04:06 AM
And Bob's your Uncle ,.......now get back to work ! :biglaugh:
Just have to add , the 12 fret Martin Style 2 has always been my favorite
ukulele. The binding gizmo is very cool , I wonder how Martin did it back in the day ?

Pete Howlett
06-15-2017, 04:15 AM
With rope...

Timbuck
06-19-2017, 06:16 AM
I just bound a real Sopran body with the binding gizmo...My observations are ...It does a great job in the waist area and there is nothing wrong with that bit of the jig..But! it still needs some design tweaking on the swinging arm cauls...The arched back is more difficult to do than the front, but easier than my previous tape and fingers method...The front being flat is not difficult at all and I may do a few uke's with front binding only.....All in all it's not perfect but better than my old way. :2cents:

DPO
06-19-2017, 12:15 PM
I just bound a real Sopran body with the binding gizmo...My observations are ...It does a great job in the waist area and there is nothing wrong with that bit of the jig..But! it still needs some design tweaking on the swinging arm cauls...The arched back is more difficult to do than the front, but easier than my previous tape and fingers method...The front being flat is not difficult at all and I may do a few uke's with front binding only.....All in all it's not perfect but better than my old way. :2cents:

Good on ya Ken. Innovation, don't you just love it.

ukantor
06-24-2017, 12:11 PM
Aw, come on, Ken! That takes all the fun out of it!

John Colter.