Day 19: Finishing the bridge; fitting the purfling and binding

Today, I began by trimming the back flush with the ribs. I then finely sanded the body of the guitar and coated the front, back and sides with shellac to protect it before starting to work on the purfling and binding. It’s amazing what one coat of shellac can do to the wood.

Next, Roy rigged up some clamps to hold the guitar while I worked on the end inlay. It was simple and effective. I then carefully marked out and chiselled a slot for the inlay to be glued and later sanded.

Once that was glued in place, we turned to cutting out the rebate for the purfling and binding. I am using a single veneer of walnut for the purfling and then a 2x7mm binding of Padauk. Roy showed me how he always sets up the depth of the purfling cutter using a piece of wood to ensure that the depth he has set it to is actually accurate when the purfling and binding are glued into place. You can see in an image below that the test rebate has been cut and the purfling and binding fits flush.

Actually, the purfling cutter only really marks out the line, which is then made deeper with a scalpel.

Once I’d cut the line with the scalpel, I then went around the body of the guitar with a chisel, using the scalpel cut as a guide for the edge of my chisel.

I repeated this process a couple of times all the way around the body until I’d reached the required depth for the purfling to be glued in place. I cleaned up the rebate with a chisel to ensure that it was square.

The last thing I did today was glue and pin the purfling. Lots of little map pins pushing the purfling into the rebate. Painful on the fingers after pushing a few of them in.

Today corresponds to Roy’s book pp. 264-7.

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