General tech questions

How to measure for bindings?

1

I'm refurbishing my '68 Chet Atkins Tennessean and am replacing the bindings on the body and neck. Since none of the old stuff came off in a piece big enough to measure, I was wondering if anyone knows the size of the bindings? Body was a laminate of cream outer and thinner black inner. I can find other ways to size it, but if someone has the info it would be helpful.

2

I’m surprised you haven’t got an answer to this. I have no idea, but I’m bumping this in hopes one of our more knowledgeable guitar-tech types will see it. Maybe edit the topic title to make it more obviously a request for binding info?

4

Also, you can buy ABS from Stewmac and it’s a lot easier to work with but if you can tell the difference between a digital photo and film or a film movie vs video tape you won’t be happy with ABS.

5

What's the depth of the binding route? Make sure you measure the route depth in multiple locations. Have you already carefully scraped off the old glue residue? If you get different numbers you either need to measure again - or you have some fairly fiddly work ahead of you. If you get fairly uniform numbers, this will be your base target for your overall binding width.

You should still be able to measure single laminate thickness with the depth probe end of a good pair of dial calipers. Compare your numbers to those listed in Curt's link. Keep in mind that the outer layer is likely to get scraped level, so plan accordingly.

I would plan for around .010" for laminate swell + binding glue using celluloid binding material - and also plan to make the overall binding around .050-.010" proud to be scraped level. Swell will somethings get you there, but make sure you test/measure in advance for swell. Not all binding materials swell the same. A tiny bit taller is fine, but taller means more careful scraping work. Shorter is likely to get you into trouble.

6

I’m surprised you haven’t got an answer to this. I have no idea, but I’m bumping this in hopes one of our more knowledgeable guitar-tech types will see it. Maybe edit the topic title to make it more obviously a request for binding info?

– Proteus

Thanks, Curt, looks like I've gotten some responses. And, yes, looking at the way my post appears, it definitely could have been better stated. I'll keep that in mind for future questions.

7

It doesn’t come in exact sizes and if you use acetone to laminate it will swell a bit and every guitar is different.

Here are the sizes for celluloid.

http://www.axinc.net/mobile...

– Curt Wilson

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

8

Also, you can buy ABS from Stewmac and it’s a lot easier to work with but if you can tell the difference between a digital photo and film or a film movie vs video tape you won’t be happy with ABS.

– Curt Wilson

Thanks, Curt, I looked at Stewmac's site and the plastic is what I was considering. In view of what you're telling me, it sounds like not using the celluloid would be an insult to the guitar (well, to my sense of what I want to see for this guitar). Since I've never done this before, input from people in the know is exactly what I need. Thanks again.

9

I’m surprised you haven’t got an answer to this. I have no idea, but I’m bumping this in hopes one of our more knowledgeable guitar-tech types will see it. Maybe edit the topic title to make it more obviously a request for binding info?

– Proteus

Hello, Proteus, my apologies, I think an eye exam is in order! I responded to you as Curt Wilson before I noticed the names are at the top of the post, not the bottom! Thanks for the bump, I've gotten some responses and find them very helpful.

10

What's the depth of the binding route? Make sure you measure the route depth in multiple locations. Have you already carefully scraped off the old glue residue? If you get different numbers you either need to measure again - or you have some fairly fiddly work ahead of you. If you get fairly uniform numbers, this will be your base target for your overall binding width.

You should still be able to measure single laminate thickness with the depth probe end of a good pair of dial calipers. Compare your numbers to those listed in Curt's link. Keep in mind that the outer layer is likely to get scraped level, so plan accordingly.

I would plan for around .010" for laminate swell + binding glue using celluloid binding material - and also plan to make the overall binding around .050-.010" proud to be scraped level. Swell will somethings get you there, but make sure you test/measure in advance for swell. Not all binding materials swell the same. A tiny bit taller is fine, but taller means more careful scraping work. Shorter is likely to get you into trouble.

– noiselab

Thanks for the info, noiselab, this being my first try at bindings. I can see I'm going to have to take my time and be careful. The old saw of measure twice and cut once. I already have the old bindings and glue scraped and cleaned, looks like my next step is getting the measurements. Thanks again.

11

It's all good, Synchro. Curt's and my skill set overlap a bit, so we'll answer to each other's names...but I'm only useful for parts of guitars that go in without tools, or with screws at most.

12

It's all good, Synchro. Curt's and my skill set overlap a bit, so we'll answer to each other's names...but I'm only useful for parts of guitars that go in without tools, or with screws at most.

– Proteus

Good to know, I do ok with electrical circuits due to a background in my pre-retirement career. Had nothing to do with guitars directly, but a lot of the skills and principals carry over. When it comes to the body work, so to speak, I'm learning, and it looks like I came to the right school! Grateful to you guys, looking forward to learning and sharing when I have something that might be helpful to someone.

13

I used stew mac ABS stuff but made a unit to scrape a couple strips thinner(I think it was the black) out o an old block plane blade. It looks just fine, if i didn't know I wouldn't be able to guess the binding material..and I probably wouldn't care. There's some stuff and pictures on my 60s country club restoration/refinish thread. http://gretschpages.com/for...

Be glad it's a Tennessean with only top and neck binding!! yay!! I have a 64 Tennessean I believe though it could be a little later, My favourite and main guitar for 30 years now. Mine has 2 piece body binding Hard to measure perfectly on the binding. But I would guess .025"/.65mm inner black binding and .050"/1.3mm outer white binding. Same white for neck. I would get slightly thicker outer binding as it's not too hard to scrape it down rather than have an underhang if your binding route is slightly inconsistent...it is a 60s Gretsch after all, Also you've had to scrape it some to clean it. I am not an everyday guitar restoring expert like some here but it worked out pretty well for me.

14

I used stew mac ABS stuff but made a unit to scrape a couple strips thinner(I think it was the black) out o an old block plane blade. It looks just fine, if i didn't know I wouldn't be able to guess the binding material..and I probably wouldn't care. There's some stuff and pictures on my 60s country club restoration/refinish thread. http://gretschpages.com/for...

Be glad it's a Tennessean with only top and neck binding!! yay!! I have a 64 Tennessean I believe though it could be a little later, My favourite and main guitar for 30 years now. Mine has 2 piece body binding Hard to measure perfectly on the binding. But I would guess .025"/.65mm inner black binding and .050"/1.3mm outer white binding. Same white for neck. I would get slightly thicker outer binding as it's not too hard to scrape it down rather than have an underhang if your binding route is slightly inconsistent...it is a 60s Gretsch after all, Also you've had to scrape it some to clean it. I am not an everyday guitar restoring expert like some here but it worked out pretty well for me.

– Toxophilite

I took the time to read through most of the thread you shared, both the CC and the Tennessean look really good. I see what you mean about only having to fuss with body and neck bindings, the headstock binding looks tedious. What I'm gathering from you and the others who have so kindly respoded to my question is: better to go a little bigger and do a little more work scraping than end up with an underhang. Thanks for the info and the measurements. And the green on the CC looks great. Thanks for sharing.


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