Binding Roping Jig

This jig helps "rope on" the binding. It's just a double layer of 3/4" plywood cut to the outline of a guitar, attached to another double layer of 3/4" plywood as a base, with 1/2" pegs all along both edges spaced about 2" apart. The jig is two-sided, so I simply turn it around on the bench to bind the other side of the guitar.

The outline is that of the biggest guitar shape I build, so I made several sizes of cork-faced wood blocks to prop up smaller guitars. I also made blocks to support the guitar body around its perimeter against the back of the jig, so I don't crush the arch out of the top or back.

To mount a body in the jig, I set the body on blocks if needed, put a block behind at the edge of the butt joint, and clamp the body against that block. Then I insert a block behind the neck block at the edge, and clamp that. Then I wedge in two or three more blocks around the perimeter of the back.

The body is then ready to bind. I bend and fit the binding and purfling strips, and apply glue to about the first half of the binding channel. Then I use 1/8" bungee cord to rope the binding on. I've tied a loop in the end of the cord which I loop over the first peg, then I just go back and forth between the pegs on the front and the pegs on the top, stretching the cord over the binding. I pull the cord pretty tight, especially at the waist, and I can further control the pressure applied by spacing the cord wraps closer or further apart.

I cut a little notch in both ends of the base to hold the cord for me while I apply more glue. I have to maintain tension on the cord the whole time or it will unravel. When I get to the end I clamp the binding and purflings together with a little clamp, so they'll be tightly glued together to cut the miters.

The photo above shows binding the treble side of the top. I would then flip the guitar over and bind the bass side of the back; then I'd turn the jig around to bind the bass side of the top and treble side of tbe back.

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