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Plastic Binding and Your Favorite Glue?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Nomad98, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. Nomad98


    Dec 13, 2005
    I have a project that requires plastic binding but I am a bit stumped on what glue to use. I have been watching YouTube videos and they all seem to fall a little short on the product side of things as far as glue used. I know there is the overpriced StewM option but I am hoping that someone has an alternate solution that I can get at my favorite HD (avoiding the outrageous shipping charges)? Also CA is thrown out as an option or the deadly mind altering plastic glue I used as a kid in the 60's. I have heard acetone mentioned but I have also heard acetone glue mentioned? What is the difference or are they the same?

    Any personal preferences or tips would be appreciated...

    Thanks in advance,
    Phil (Nomad98)
  2. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    AFAIK, but I'm just a wood-dorker:

    Acetone dissolves/welds the plastic binding material.

    Acetone glue is presumably referring to the practice of dissolving some binding material completely in a small amount of acetone to make a more "glue-like" material that does not completely evaporate and require getting the binding itself either perfectly fit together or managing to perfectly mash it while it's melting, as straight acetone does. It should have the advantage of a perfect color match, unless you are trying checkerboard.

    Considering HD, I wonder if the all-purpose plastic pipe cement would work, but have no idea. That's for ABS, PVC and CPVC pipe. That seems to align with some of the types of plastic bindings.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  3. Nomad98


    Dec 13, 2005
    So does the acetone melt the plastic enough to adhere to wood. I saw a video that looked like he was using straight up acetone then went back the next day with the dissolved "glue like" material. The dissolved stuff was to fill in voids between the plastic and wood (I think) but the binding was already glued at that point.
  4. rojo412

    rojo412 Sit down, Danny... Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
  5. I’ve used Duco cement before. As the directions say, put a light coat on the body where the binding is going to go. Let it partially dry to seal up the wood. Put a coat on the body and the binding and press and tape away. That’s worked ok for me. There’s probably methods that work better for other people.
  6. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    I usually use sig-ment...
  7. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I have very little experience with binding myself, but my buddy Keith Horne does a lot of it. He uses Acetone. Applied to the binding strips, it makes them soft and sticky. They bend and stick right to the wood. He forms the strips into place, clamping it all up with packing tape and sometimes string. Little gaps are fixed by applying some more acetone and pushing the gaps closed. That's about it. The binding is formed and permanently glued in place by its own chemistry.
    rojo412 likes this.
  8. Nomad98


    Dec 13, 2005
    Thank's for the replies... I think I'll check the hobby shops for the Sig-Ment and buy some acetone. Do a couple tests and see which one is gonna work best for me.
  9. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    I used just straight acetone with ABS binding and it works fine.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  10. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I tried the Stewmac binding glue, works fine,.but leaves a lot of residue on the bass you have to scrape or sand off. Same with CA glue, plus its nasty stuff that will glue your fingers to the bass. I found acetone worked best, you have to.work pretty fast, it evaporates, but it gives you just enough open time to adjust the binding a little as you go. I used the Stewmac binding tape, which really is better than standard masking tape, and wicked it in with these little Stewmac pipettes:
    You don't need a lot of acetone, just enough to wet both the wood and binding. If you flood the joint, you can melt and distort the binding (personal experience) Get a little baby food sized glass jar with a little acetone in it, put some tiny bits or shavings off the binding and it turns into a perfectly color matched plastic glue for miters, works amazingly well.

    I'm usually a Stewmac sceptic based on their blatant overpricing and ridiculous P&H fees, but these binding slot cutters are worth every penny. You can buy the cutter head and just the guide bearings you need, I just got ones for .040, .060, and .070 deep cuts. I found the Stewmac .060 binding is actually around .065, and it swells a little when glued with acetone, so I ended up using the .070 bearing.
  11. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs
    I am not a huge Stew Mac fan either and you don't have to go to them for these binding cutters either, those bits are just rebate/Rabbet cutters. You can purchase a cutter as good if not better for about quarter of the price and different sized bearings for next to nothing. Grizzly also make a set which is half the price and comes with bearings, but there aren't as many size options as the SM set.

    Just in case your cutter ever wears out ;).
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  12. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I think LMI has them too, but around the same price. The only advantage on the Stewmac set is the cutter head is shear-cut blades instead of straight cut on most rabbet bits. In my experience the shearcut blades get less chipout, they cut a perfectly clean, square slot in maple on my build. Always looking for cheaper alternatives to make this expensive hobby affordable!
    @Manton Customs , if you have a link for good cutters, please post!
  13. Manton Customs

    Manton Customs UK Luthier

    Jan 31, 2014
    Shropshire, UK
    Luthier, Manton Customs
    I'm using Trend cutters, which have a very good reputation over here, but they are a UK based firm...so that probably doesn't help too much! There's the Grizzly set I mentioned, but I can't vouch for the quality of those. I believe my Trend ones have the down shearing thing also, it copes with figured Walnut without any problems, so Maple is no problem.
    I was just pointing out to anyone who may read the thread that the SM is a rebate cutter. You knew that though ;).
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  14. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    regarding cutters, i use LMI's Schneider Gramil:

    Schneider Gramil

    for bindings and purflings. imo, less risk and fuss then router set-ups and jiggery and it's fast for two step rebates. use feeler gage to set cut depths for binding and purfling.

    regarding binding being non-uniform thickness, make a binding sizer. basically a old plane blade, a block of wood and a large wooden dowel. mount blade to wood, adjust to desired thickness, mount tool to a vise or clamp it down and draw the binding through the gap to scrap down the sides to dimension. works really well when you want binding and purfling to be laser sharp and clean under finish.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
    rwkeating and Gilmourisgod like this.
  15. Nomad98


    Dec 13, 2005
    Yes Arie X, I am planning to score with a Schneider Gramil (type) tool before routing for the binding. I inherited a bunch of purfling tools from my father

    Gilmourisgod, you use the pipette to wick in extra acetone after its initial gluing?
  16. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    The pipette was used to wick acetone into a section of binding that had been “tacked” in place first with binding tape. The capillary action draws it in, then you tape the snot out of it and move on to the next section, about 1-1/2” at a time.
  17. Nomad98


    Dec 13, 2005
    Thanks for all the help... here’s a picture of my first binding attempt. No chanel routing since its a sound hole. I pre-bent the binding then glued it with acetone. Appling it to the wood and the binding, then taping it. I mixed up some binding chips and acetone to make a solution to fill any gaps. Went really well, thanks for the help!

    Beej, rwkeating, Gilmourisgod and 6 others like this.
  18. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Nice Job! I havent tried anything that tight radius yet, gotta love a bound soundhole. Ric style build? 4005 maybe?
  19. Nomad98


    Dec 13, 2005
    Yes, 4005 maybe! :thumbsup:

    I should mention that the tight corner was easy. I took a drill bit that was just the right size for the negative space of the tight curve. Used that to bend the binding around but the soft binding over bent, like a "C". Then to get rid of the over bend I took a metal bar and directed the heatgun more at the bar than the binding while the binding was taped in place. I kept pressure on the metal, against the binding and it flattened the C out. Just gotta take a small file and trim the binding just a tad on that spot (you can see it in the picture). Once the binding hits that plyable state you really gotta cut the heat or it seems to melt VERY fast.
    rwkeating, Gilmourisgod and T_Bone_TL like this.
  20. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Love binding!

    A friend made this semi hollow body w/ for me using mother of toilet seat 3 ply binding. He said every time he heated it to make the corner bends it would catch fire and he had to start over again. Said he would never work with that stuff ever again.

    I tried my hand at binding as well but the results were less than optimal, uneven and didn't do the tightest bends very well. Decided to take it to a shop I had available to me to have it done right. P1250122_1024.jpg P1250055_1024.jpg P1250057_1024.jpg P1240097_1024.jpg P1240021_1024.jpg
    Matt Liebenau and Gilmourisgod like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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