View Full Version : Binding an Ebony Fretboard

03-03-2011, 04:39 AM
Spured on by Chuck I've just had a go at binding an ebony fretboard..I bound it with white plastic and an outer ebony strip...it looks luverly :)..it was a joy to do...But do's anyone have any tips on how to remove the glue out of the slots so I can put some frets in:confused:..Or better still how to stop the glue getting in, in the first place.

03-03-2011, 05:13 AM
I work really hard not to get it in there from the onset, but it depends on the glue. Generally, I run a thin line of DUCO along the entire board that is just below the fret slots and it spreads when I put the binding on. A very tiny bit might work its way in to the slot but usually not enough to affect the installation of the frets. I typically nip the tangs a bit shorter than the width of the slot. Another way is to put the board upside down on wax paper then use pins or brads nailed into the work board to hold the binding onto the fretboard then weep thin cyano glue into the seam from the underside.

To clear the slots, I ground a hook out of a X-acto knife blade and rake it out best that I can. StewMac makes a tool for it so I'm sure that you could duplicate such a beast.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-03-2011, 05:45 AM
I use Titebond, sparingly, on the purfling and bindings of fretboards. There usually isn't much excess glue to worry about. You just need to be careful and clean out any slots before the glue dries. The StewMac hooked blade that Andrew speaks of is a good one. Be extra careful when using super glues when binding fret boards as it's a real headache if it gets in the slots. When I'm doing inlays I have no other choice sometimes. The glue CAN be removed with a hot knife, that is, heating an exacto blade with a torch and sizzling it out.

03-03-2011, 05:46 AM
Yup! thats what i'm going to ..it's no big deal really... I'll make something to scrape it out with..maybe I'll fit something to the end of a soldering iron and use it as a hot scraper thingy..I used CA glue by the way.

03-03-2011, 06:21 AM
Do you use Titebond with plastic bindings?

I don't use heat around my celluloid bindings. Too much risk of melting them or delaminating them if they're multiple plys.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
03-03-2011, 06:33 AM
I only use wood bindings on my ukes. When I used to use faux tortoise, Duco cement seemed to work OK. Even then, it's not very hard to clean up before it dries.

03-03-2011, 06:42 AM
I am also very interested in binding my fretboard, but I am wondering how to install the fretwire after the fretboard is bound?
Do I precut the wire to the exact length, and then dress the ends of the wire first, then install?
sorry that this is alittle off topic...

03-03-2011, 07:13 AM
You would first bind and level the board then install the frets. I cut the frets so that they are slightly longer than the binding then I nip and file the tang back so that it will fit inside of the binding. You then install the frets and pretty much finish them the same way as you would without a bound fret board. I bet there are a number of tutorials or videos on the net that would describe the process. I bet it takes five times as long to do it especially if you don't have a fret nipping tool.

03-03-2011, 07:50 AM
Interesting StewMac article on how to bind the fingerboard "Gibson Style" . http://www.stewmac.com/tradesecrets/ts0131_bindingnibs.hzml?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ts0131

03-03-2011, 09:01 AM
I've got StewMac's fret tang nipping tool, and it works fantastic on guitar size fret wire, but absolutely useless on uke fret wire. I use my fret wire cutters to nip the little piece out and dress up with a needle file if required. After you do several dozen you get pretty good with the cutters and usually don't need the file.

Fretting a bound board is a lot more work than an unbound one.

03-03-2011, 09:09 AM
I used the hot blade and blowtorch method in the end ..It worked ok..as for clipping the fret ends "I'll work something out tomorrow"...I think it's an ideal time for Chuck to show us his "fret grinder device" again (Just for those who missed it last year)