Alternative Binding Material for Guitars

By John Fisher

(Jon Tirone)

As usual, in my case I sometimes find it hard to get what may seem to be the simplest of materials for building a guitar and I usually look for, and experiment with different alternatives. The traditional material for guitar binding besides wood is a celluloid nitrate plastic type material. ( highly flammable by the way). While looking at these thin strips that usually cost a couple dollars a piece I thought, there must be some other readily available material that would work. With this thought kicking around in my head for some time I accidentally came across a place that sells particle board and other materials for making Formica tables. I noticed that one of the materials for putting an edge around a Formica table was this thin PVC stripping. It came in several colors but the colors that I was interested in were simply black and white. When I saw that, a light went off in my head and I thought, "that's it". I spent a total of about $1.50 for what would probably be enough for several guitars.


Here it is! I bought about 2 meters of it that comes about 1" wide. One obvious limitation is that there is not a variety of thickness but for doing simple things I found it to work real good. The thickness of this particular stripping was about .015".






Here I used it on this guitar with a rosewood back. The outside strip which is thicker was made out of some PVC sewer pipe. Seethis article. And the thinner inner strips were the black,white,black .015 thin strips made out of the Formica edging. Although the edging comes about 1" wide, with a sharp knife and a metal straight edge I was able to slice it up in strips about 1/8" wide.

I hope this idea is a help to someone