MacRostie Binding Trimmer

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Make any size bindings of wood or plastic. Here, Dan Erlewine replicates the bindings on a 1929 Gibson L-5.

Video Transcription

[Dan is running binding through the MacRostie Binding Trimmer]

Dan Erlewine: Binding comes in preset sizes that must be final size for the job that you're working on.

[On screen text reads: Dan Erlewine, Stewart-MacDonald] You start with the binding taller and thicker than you need then trim and square to get a good fit. Before Don MacRostie came up with the binding trimmer, there wasn't an easy way to do that. We had to use files to square up the edges and then scrape the binding to make it flush after it was installed.

Turn a router into a precise binding shaper

That's a lot of work, and anyone who's done much of that will appreciate this tool. It turns a router into a precise binding shaper. I'm squaring and truing up the edge on this piece of quarter-inch binding, and then I'll trim it to exact height. I'll do it in two passes. [Dan runs the binding through the binding trimmer] The binding runs straight along this fence, past the cutter bit, which will trim it.

Now I have two good edges, and I'll trim it to height. And this dial indicator will show me the dimension. As I move the fence and the binding into the cutter, the adjustment shows on the dial. I'll take a couple of light cuts to get to the final size I need. [Dan runs the binding through the binding trimmer] I like to install binding very slightly oversized by about four thousandths. Then there's just a tiny bit of binding to be scraped to make it flush after it's installed.

Trimming laminated binding to height

Here's a laminated binding that I made for a fingerboard repair on this 1929 Gibson L-5. Using the trimmer, I sized these three pieces from stock plastic binding, laminated them with acetone, and now I'm ready to trim it to height. [Dan runs binding through binding trimmer] I left the top edge tall for scraping. Now I'm trimming the thickness. I always use several light cuts rather than trying to do everything in one big jump.

Where are you going to get binding like that? For this job, I needed binding to go from here on the base side, around the corner to the point, and the same on the treble side. [Dan sets the binding on the guitar and it fits and matches the old binding perfectly] How's that for a fit?



Dan Erlewine

Guitar Repairman and Builder