Maple or Sycamore for purfling

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Dave M
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Maple or Sycamore for purfling

Post by Dave M » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:31 am

I am using (a quite dark brown) walnut for the first time for the body of a classical and want to use a simple white purfling that segments the back into two halves and continues under the binding which will be the same walnut as the back/sides.

I had hoped to use some holly that I have in the rafters but it is neither white enough nor long enough. So I have some sycamore and also some American maple. The sycamore is probably a bit whiter but is also quite coarse grained. It is also much softer than the maple. So I am trying to decide which would work better. It is a cutaway so it has to bend round a pretty tight curve.

So I guess what I am asking is which criteria are important. Should I be looking for similar hardness to the B/S bindings or doesn't it matter? Would the softness of the sycamore give problems when scraping the bindings to the sides and plates? Would the extra hardness of the maple be a problem in the other direction... Is the change in dimension with humidity likely to be different?

Or am I thinking too much and should just get on with it!
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lamanoditrento
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Re: Maple or Sycamore for purfling

Post by lamanoditrento » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:01 pm

I am sure others will weigh in, but I wouldn't have made a decision on aesthetics and deal with any of the problems that may have arisen from that. A single purfling is going to be very easy to deal with despite the hardness and bending a single strip on a cutaway would be relatively easy. So much so that I would be tempted to use the paint stripper gun rather than bothering to heat up the bending iron.
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Allen
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Re: Maple or Sycamore for purfling

Post by Allen » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:15 am

For purflings in my opinion you are way overthinking this. Pretty common for them to be fiber (paper) based and much softer than the timber that we typically build with. If you want to firm them up if they aren't scraping well, then after you have everything glued in place you coupld also us CA glue to harden them up. Make sure that your soundboard is sealed if its spruce of cedar.
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Mark McLean
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Re: Maple or Sycamore for purfling

Post by Mark McLean » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:46 am

Dave M wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:31 am
Or am I thinking too much and should just get on with it!
Yep

But it sounds like it is going to be nice. Love walnut

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kiwigeo
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Re: Maple or Sycamore for purfling

Post by kiwigeo » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:31 am

Dave M wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:31 am

I had hoped to use some holly that I have in the rafters but it is neither white enough nor long enough. So I have some sycamore and also some American maple. The sycamore is probably a bit whiter but is also quite coarse grained. It is also much softer than the maple. So I am trying to decide which would work better. It is a cutaway so it has to bend round a pretty tight curve.
Cheesewood is another option if you're after a really white binding.
Martin

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nkforster
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Re: Maple or Sycamore for purfling

Post by nkforster » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:35 am

If you can find maple or sycamore veneer here, I'd be interested to how from where. But to be honest, I never use either for purflings any more. They can look nice if it goes well, but they are both more prone to getting dark dust in them and bits pulling out during scraping than fibre.

"Simple and well executed" looks better to my eye than a "fancy pigs ear."

The easiest source of fibre is to buy vulcanised gasket paper. You can get all sorts of thicknesses and colours on eBay. Glue up with PU glue.

blackalex1952
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Re: Maple or Sycamore for purfling

Post by blackalex1952 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:03 pm

An interesting subject. I have used plane tree timber for bindings with walnut successfully. It has a similar figure to Aus Silky Oak, (in the US Silky Oak known as 'Lacewood"). But I have found that it doesn't scrape well, when compared to Plane , Blackwood or Maple, which I have also used. Personally, I think a light timber with a figure is lovely with walnut as well as plain unfigured maple. Both look fantastic. Cheers! Ross
"Everything I say on the topic is based solely upon inexperience and assumption!"

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kiwigeo
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Re: Maple or Sycamore for purfling

Post by kiwigeo » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:38 pm

You can always go down the route that some less well known brands go and just slap on your bindings with a paint brush.......or you can do what more than one major brand is doing at present and not bother with bindings.
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Dave M
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Re: Maple or Sycamore for purfling

Post by Dave M » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:23 am

Thanks people. And Nigel I hadn't heard of gasket paper. I will have to get hold of some and try it out.
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blackalex1952
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Re: Maple or Sycamore for purfling

Post by blackalex1952 » Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:29 pm

Martin wrote
or you can do what more than one major brand is doing at present and not bother with bindings.
I had a Martin guitar for a while, which ended up with a friend who has digits missing, so needs a light action and small neck profile. Not my thing, really, those kind of lightweight guitars. More for home use, it certainly didn't have much projection. The 0015 Martin is definitely a budget model. But it showed me in no uncertain terms, as it was unbound, what bindings actually do. They protect the soundboard edges from dings and prevent, in my observation, the soundboard to inner liners and side from detaching after a heavier blow. Nut that heavy either, just a little bump. Bindings also strengthen the edge of the guitar if correctly applied and in their own tiny way help builds with solid liners in particular to have a solid edge for the soundboard to react to..see Trevor Gore's mass loading ideas. All my guitars have been tested at different stages of build, and when the binding goes on, the soundboard resonance drops in a subtle but measurable way. So I don't like guitars without bindings-save money and time, but the sacrifice isn't good enough in my opinion and experience...cheers! Ross
"Everything I say on the topic is based solely upon inexperience and assumption!"

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