Binding the Acre

Any build is a journey of refinement as it progresses. Rather than beginning with an idea fully formed, I set off in a direction and look and listen for clues along the way. That’s not to say there isn’t a plan, just that it isn’t set in stone. The constraints of stubbornly adhering to a preconcieved path ignores the creative and intuitive process.

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As Hell’s Half Acre starts to shape up, with its rope purfling, my eye told me that a little extra touch was needed on the side of the instrument to balance out the busy look of the top. It didn’t need to be so ornate as to distract, so I settled on a single black stripe within the ivoroid binding.

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Starting with some strips of cellulose binding in ivoroid and black, it’s a matter of laminating three pieces togeter before adding it to the guitar.

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Acetone-solvent adhesive is used to melt and bond the edges together on a caul of aluminum. There is a raised stop that holds the parts true and provides sideways clamping pressure as the assembly sets up.

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There are lots of different ways to do this, but I used this technique to make some test strips up to check the appearance before I commit to it.

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The next step is to rough trim the black material so that it can be scraped flat to the ivoroid. The black strip was a little too big so I’ll have to trim it with a nipper.

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A few passes with the cabinet scraper is all  that’s needed to get things ready to put on the body. I’l also trim the final edge on the binding to reduce the width of the small white stripe and make sure it fits perfectly into the routs on the instrument.

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I think this is going to look great on the sides of the guitar which will be painted with an opaque black lacquer.

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Jol

Jol Dantzig is a guitar builder, designer, writer and filmmaker. He has worked for Gibson, Fender, Guild, Ovation, Gretsch, and was a founding partner of Hamer guitars—one of the first boutique custom guitar brands. Dantzig’s work has been played by hundreds of artists including Sting, Steve Stevens, Larry Coreyell, Dug Pinnick, Billy Gibbons, Keb Mo’, Nick Lowe, KK Downing, Glenn Tipton, John Abercrombie, Glen Campbell, Rick Nielsen, Kenny Vaughan, Lita Ford, James Honeyman Scott, Elliott Easton, Andy Summers, Peter Frampton, Martin Barre, Lyle Workman, Brad Gillis, George Harrison, Jeff Ament, Dweezil Zappa, Jeff Tweedy, Nancy Wilson—and many others.

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