I'm back to work on this 1970s Vega dread that I put on the back burner for a while (I bought this guitar cheap to fix up and resell, so there's no hurry on it). Another thing it needs is regluing the celluloid bindings that have pulled away from the waist. This is a first time operation for me.
Since I've got the neck off, I'll separate the bindings from the waist all the way up to the neck, then reglue them. My question is what glue to use. My first thought was to go with one of the glues commonly used for plastic bindings: weld-on or one of the glues LMI sells for this purpose. But the more I think about cleaning that stuff up after gluing, the more I think maybe there are better options for a repair situation like this.
On this page, Frank Ford demonstrates using wood glue for this: http://frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier/Tec ... nding.html
Now, Frank is certainly a trusted source, but I can't help worrying a bit about wood glue having sufficient bonding strength with a plastic like celluloid. Can anyone else here confirm that wood glue is a good choice? Or what about hide glue (e.g. Old Brown Glue) or fish glue? My understanding is that animal glues have been used to bond various materials like glass, for example, though I don't personally have experience with this, and I'm not sure about plastics. It sure would be nice to be able to clean up with water and leave the finish unscathed.
I would even consider epoxy, as I could clean that up with alcohol before it cures, but a water clean up would be ideal.
LMI has a binding glue that is a contact cement but not rubbery. I've used for two repairs, now, and it's the cat's meow. Paint it on with a small brush, press the binding on, no problem. Clamping helps to get full contact. No squeeze out and the brush allows great control of the glue application to keep from contaminating the neighboring finish. The brush cleans up completely with acetone so no problem there, either. I use an artist's brush appropriate to the size of the job.
I've tried the wood glue method but unless there's some wood chunks stuck to the binding and there is an exact fit with the separated wood area, it hasn't worked for me.
Thanks for your input, Larry! It sounds like you're talking about LMI's FCA adhesive (not their FGW adhesive), right?
So, the key to using it successfully for this application, then, is that you can brush it on with great control and avoid getting it on the finish, and also have no squeeze out. That sounds like a very viable way to skin this particular cat.
Would you recommend fastidiously cleaning/prepping the surfaces before gluing with this stuff, or is that not necessary?
FCA's the one. I'd clean as well as you can although on one binding repair I couldn't get behind it as one end was still firmly on the instrument. Still nice and tight. F-5 headstock binding around a "classic" broken scroll repair.
The other app was to re-attach a celluloid mando pickguard to it's ebony back reinforcing plate. Again, I scraped the remaining shards of the Duco off both surfaces but I didn't do much more; just painted it on the ebony, waited a minute, put it together. I clamped this one for several hours as the celluloid was a little warped (maybe why it pulled off in the first place) and it has stayed flat for several months, now. I put the adhesive on the ebony because the edge was inside that of the celluloid so there was no danger of having glue showing outside the edge. Absolutely no squeeze out.
I sure wish I had this glue for a couple of other repairs I did before I got it--another loose mando binding re-attachment on the headstock and re-attaching loose binding to the f-holes on an archtop. The sloppiness/squeeze-out of ACC, it's short open time and corrosive potential out were a pain. Frank's wood glue method just wouldn't work there, either--I tried that first.
Forgot to say that because of the lack of squeeze-out, it's very easy to firmly tape the re-attached binding to the body without danger of smearing.
Thanks again, Larry. This is very helpful.