Trade Secrets!

Making a sharp-edged razor file for binding channels

Issue 207 January 02, 2014

Bad news: the binding on this old Gibson is crumbling to bits.
Worse news: that binding is the only thing holding the body together!
Dan Erlewine's plan is to replace the binding bit-by-bit, so the top doesn't fall off.

By grinding a new edge on a razor file, he creates a tool for cutting crisp square binding channels without a router.
Trouble viewing video? View it on YouTube

About the guitar in this video: This Gibson L-4 from 1951 appears to have seen years of playing in Nashville honky tonks. The top has gold stick-on letters that spell "LEFTY LEE."
In this Trade Secrets Video:
Crumbling, off-gassed binding gives up the ghost
The Plan: replace it with an exact match that won't need finishing
Using a sanding belt to grind the edge of a Razor File
Hand cutting a sharp, square binding channel
Razor Files
Problem-solving products for this kind of work:
Cream Plastic Binding
65" long to reach around an entire guitar! This is the right cream color for Gibson-« guitars.
Scraper Blades
The sharpest fine-cut woodworking files we've ever used.
Diamond Fret Levelers
Industrial diamond-coated steel blocks. Excellent for putting a razor edge on chisels and knives, and great for leveling frets!
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now
Behlen Ground Hide Glue
Traditional luthier's glue.
Spool Clamps
Available in two sizes, spool clamps are fast, safe, and indispensable in your shop.
MacRostie Binding Trimmer
The easiest way to custom-trim bindings for a perfect fit.
Buy Now Buy Now Buy Now

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