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My binding is disintegrating!!

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ricfunk74, Nov 25, 2016.


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  1. ricfunk74

    ricfunk74

    Oct 8, 2016
    My seldom used stripped '72 Rickenbacker 4001 has been experiencing some strange changes. First, I noticed a dark staining beginning to appear in the wood around the edges of the body. Tonight, when I pulled it out of it's case, I noticed that a chunk of the outer white binding was gone! The intact binding appears to be cracked and is getting brittle. My '73 4001 is not having this issue at all. I thought that it might have been caused by the stripping process, but that was done 20+ years ago before I owned it and these issues have only popped up in the last 6 to 8 months. Does anyone know what's going on here? WIN_20161125_21_58_16_Pro.
     
  2. Dark stains can be oil, dye or the wrong glue used to put the binding on.

    I put all my binding on with just acetone as there's no oils or crazy chemicals in it to stain or modify the wood.

    Still ----- that is a very dark picture to make a good assessment.
     
  3. Maybe one of the RIC-knowledgable persons can chime in, but there is a thing called "Binding Rot", which is celluloid plastic that starts to disintegrate under the influence of UV, air & moisture, shrinking and become brittle, up to the point that it shatters and rots away, while giving away nasty fumes as well (which tarnish the hardware). Gretsches from the mid 1960's are notorious for having that. If your Ric has celluloid binding (which I think it does), that's the likely culprit. It can't be fixed, except by replacing it with a more stable plastic that doesn't decompose over time.

    Binding Rot! : Other Guitars : The Gretsch Pages
    The same, I guess it's indeed a celluloid based binding, and that's disintegrating right now.
     
    Garret Graves and ricfunk74 like this.
  4. ricfunk74

    ricfunk74

    Oct 8, 2016
    Thanks for the info. I did forget to mention that an odd waxy film has appeared over the hardware and the finish. I suppose that the gasses given off would explain this.
     
  5. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Yeah a pic in sunlight would help.
     
    Jeff Scott likes this.
  6. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Supporting Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    Jacksonville, Fl
    You mentioned it was stripped? As in paintwise? If the paint was stripped and no sealer was applied, then the open wood can act as a siphon for any moisture that is in its atmosphere... which could account for the seeming rot... either way my first inclination given how you have thus described things is moisture exposure.
     
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  7. Yes, and that waxxy film is highly corrosive, it will eat through nickel & chrome like there is no tomorrow. Wipe it off with a damp cloth.
     
  8. daveman50

    daveman50 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Westchester County NY
  9. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    The staining of the wood around the binding is a known issue. There's no solution that I know of. Something about the binding glue seeping into the body wood over time. The binding itself disintegrating is likely due to age.
     
  10. ricfunk74

    ricfunk74

    Oct 8, 2016
    I tried! It's difficult to remove and reappears soon after it's cleaned off.
     
  11. II think you're onto something here about celluloid rot.

    My mother had stored all here dad's celluloid shirt collars in an old keepsake chest and years later when she wanted to show them to my sister and me, they were all dark, crumbled and looked like that vanilla pudding you find in the refrigerator from last year's Thanksgiving dinner.

    AIRI...I kinda liked the smell though.... of the collars, not the pudding.
     
  12. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    There are only a couple sources left for the true celluloid checker binding, very expensive unfortunately, having recently bought some. Winfield Vintage sells the period correct material here:
    Checkerboard binding

    It is very nice stuff, really crisp black and white, not like the "blurry" Chinese crap, but outrageously overpriced, kinda take or leave it.

    There is a German supplier too, can't remember the name. I bought just the inner checker binding and used Stewmac PVC white plastic for the outer layer. Hopefully that will hold up long term. I did the binding myself, too stupid to know any better, but working with this stuff is not for the faint of heart at these prices. It has to be heated to just below
    The point it starts to melt and distort to make the tight curves. I pulled it off, but probably trashed $10 worth of binding doing it. I used acetone to play it safe. Unless you are really ambitious or have some experience, take it to a pro.
     
    blindrabbit and Garret Graves like this.
  13. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    okay, this happened with a celluloid pickguard on a 1964 gibson i had. it did some damage to the bridge and tuners. i completely removed the pickguard and stored it away. the instrument and case had to be aired out for a couple of weeks to keep the hardware corrosion symptoms from reappearing. i would suggest blowing air through the case lining (if possible). if it was stored in a gig bag, trash the gig bag. let the bass air out before storing it again.

    it is my understanding that the celluloid disintegration process is irreversible. once it gets to the tipping point, the chemical reaction speeds itself on. when this happens to old movie/film stock, they simply archive the content as fast as they can and then destroy the original. you may not want to read this journal article: http://americanarchivist.org/doi/pdf/10.17723/aarc.73.2.n2746075wr84356t

    all this assumes that the rick binding is, indeed, celluloid. i am using the reported hardware corrosion as a key point to deduce this. also check page 5 and 6 here: http://theguitar-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Acoustic-Guitar-Repair.pdf
     
  14. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Everything said about celluloid is undoubtedly true, if there is another form of matching CB material available, I didn't find it in months of searching online. In theory, you could make your own by laminating many strips of black and white PVC together and bandsawing off strips to form binding. Maybe a 40 year celluloid lifespan is the best you can expect of this material, not bad in the scheme of things.
     
  15. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    The German supplier Shellex sells the same checkered binding as Winfield Vintage.
     
    Garret Graves and Gilmourisgod like this.
  16. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Yep! That's it, Shellex.

    I ran the numbers at the time, and including shipping and VAT it was "cheaper" ($$$$) from Winfield, probably fluctuates with currency values. If anybody made this in PVC, I'd buy it. The problem with making it yourself would be getting strips long enough to be useful. You really need continuous strips long enough to wrap an entire side, the only miters are at the upper and lower horn tips.
    Rickresource Rickenbacker Forum • View topic - Anatomy Of A Rickenbacker Bass - Part 9

    Celluloidränder, checkered (Rickenbacher) 1350x5x1,6mm: Perlmutt und Musikinstrumentenbestandteile
     
  17. Geronimo Atwater

    Geronimo Atwater

    Apr 26, 2015
    Due East
    mapleglo likes this.
  18. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Appleton
    According to the RickResource article posted, I learned a few things. The CB is ABS plastic now. Apparently, Shellex was the original supplier to Ric with their nitrocellulose checkered binding, but hasn't been for quite some time now. Perhaps Shellex has abandoned use of nitrocellulose altogether due to its hazards. (I did email Shellex and they confirmed the stuff they sell is the same stuff that Winfield Vintage sells. Now who actually makes it? That I do not know.)
     
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  19. Gilmourisgod

    Gilmourisgod

    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Ric could tell us, but of course, they'd have to kill us....I'm pretty sure the Winfield stuff is real celluloid, it has that weird "ping pong ball" smell to it. I could find out quick by lighting a scrap, if it burns like a torch, its celluloid. I was a little nervous with the heat gun! If anybody finds a source for PVC of ABS checker binding, please post it!
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
    Garret Graves likes this.
  20. HypersoulRocks

    HypersoulRocks Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    Houston,TX
    Yay vintage guitars!
     
    MrAtomic and bbh like this.

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