Ebony is currently the material that I favour for bindings. The main function of the bindings on a guitar is to protect the edges from any damage so, of course, a very hard wood such as ebony does the job admirably. Also, from an aesthetic point of view, it clearly defines the shape of the guitar and for want of a better term, looks very classy.
I had been using a supply of ebony off-cuts that I was given but I knew that I would run out of them, so a while ago I bought a fair bit of ebony from my supplier in India.
Geoff’s OO is the first instrument that I have had to use it on. When I got the ebony out of stock it seemed such a shame to cut these beautiful pieces of jet black wood up “just for bindings.”
It took quite awhile to prepare the strips to the correct dimensions, unfortunately the supplier in India didn’t have the facilities to machine them to my required finished size.
Wood with Strings
If your reading this blog, then you’re clearly interested in guitar construction- have a look at Peter Brown’s blog; Wood with Strings (there’s a link on my side bar). Peter refers to himself as a hobby builder, but you’ll have to agree he does some very nice work, all of which is meticulously written up. Also all credit to him for being honest and calling himself a hobby builder. I’m not too keen on guys, who build instruments as a hobby, calling themselves luthiers. If lutherie is your source income or you were trained in the art- fine call yourself a luthier, other than that you’re miss-leading potential customers and devaluing the work of “full-time” luthiers. When I had motor-bikes I used to maintain them myself, but wouldn’t have called myself a mechanic.
I’ve just got in this Koa wood. It’s meant to be a six piece set for a ukulele, but I think that I should be able to squeeze out two mandolins. This will be in the future though; I want to keep the wood until I’m sure that it’s dry stable enough to work with. I always seal the end-grain of any new wood with wax and now I also run some thin CA over the surface, towards the end of the board, so any hair-line cracks are sealed and don’t spread.
Have you seen that advert for O2 mobile phones with the guy playing what looks like an original Panormo guitar? Wierd!