After I had routed the channels for the binding and purfling, the next step was to mortise the location for the end trim at the tail stock of the guitar. Because this end trim piece fits in between the bindings that go around the perimeter of the top and back it must be installed first.
I started by securing the body to the bench and aligning the end trim piece along the centerline of the tail stock. I carefully scribed with a knife along the edges of the end trim to define the mortise to be cut. With the initial lines scribed, I removed the trim and deepened the lines with the knife. I pondered whether to just chisel this area of the sides out or to use a router.
In the end I opted for the router to rough out the mortise. I set the depth of a straight cutting bit to equal the depth of the binding channels and made a couple of passes staying clear of the knife lines. With the bulk of the material removed I cleaned things up with a sharp chisel. Gluing the end trim in is not something that you can use a clamp for. So, I just used some tape to hold it in while the glue dried. Once it was dried I spent some time with a file to get the ends of the trim piece perfectly flush with the edges of the binding channels so that when the binding was installed there would be perfect seams with no gaps.
With the end trim installed I moved on to the bindings and purfling. Since there is only binding around the back of the guitar I opted to start with it – hoping that if I made any mistakes they would be less noticable on the back! I first carefully checked the fit of the binding all along the channel an noted any areas that were not smooth or of uneven depth. These areas were kissed with a file until the curves looked good. I also ran the inside bottom edge of the binding along a picece of sandpaper to chamfer it a bit and to allow the binding to seat fully.
I laid out my materials and got ready for the installation. I used binding tape from Stewart MacDonald to hold the bindings in place. Since these bindings are acrylic I also used some Weld-on cement appropriate for the material. Starting at the neck block I aligned the edge of the binding with the center seam of the guitar and applied cement for about 6 inches. I applied the tape by first pressing it against the binding and then stretching it first along the back and then down along the side. Every six inches or so, it was time for more cement. When I reached the tail block I carefully made a trim cut on the binding aligning it with the center seam. Once this half of the back binding was dry I applied a second strip on the opposite side of the back being careful to match th end seams of the binding. I let the bindings dry at least a full 24 hours. To remove the tape I slightly heated it with a heat gun ( a hair dryer would also work) to loosen the adhesive and pulled the tape at a 45 degree angle to avoid lifting any slivers of wood. Things looked good so, I moved on to scraping the bindings down to meet the back and sides. Notice in the picture that I put some tape on the corner of the card scraper to avoid nicking the back and sides as I scraped. (By the way that white piece you see on the card scraper is one of those flat magnet strips that I have on the scraper to avoid burning my thumbs as I scrape).
The procedure for the top was similar however, it was a bit more tricky because the binding and the purfling strips must be installed at the same time. Again I carefully checked the channels to be sure that things fit well, chamfered the inside edges of the strips with sandpaper and went ahead with the installation. The main task here was to assure that both the binding and the purfling were fully seated in their channels when applying the tape. This operation was also done in halves and left to dry for at least 24 hours before scraping down even with the top and sides.
The end result is pretty good. There are no gaps between the binding or purfling and the body and the seams in the strips look very tight. There is one small area where the binding is scraped down a little thinner than elsewhere ( I think that this is a result of an area where I bobbled and routed a bit too deep during the channel routing) but, it is not real noticable unless you are looking for it. I the pictures you can see a closeup of the binding an purfling along the top and a full shot of the body as it stands now. Next time, I’ll start turning my attention to the work on the neck.