Now that The Crow is ready to receive its frosted Duco finish it’s time to prep the tortoise shell binding that surrounds the entire guitar. There will be no clear coats over the black finish, so I have to polish the binding and then mask it off. It’s a risky and time-consuming move, but it is the only way this will work.
The binding I’m using is made of a cellulose material made in Italy in three hundred pound blocks. It is then shaved into sheets of varying thicknesses, and I cut it into strips to suit my needs.
On the Crow, the binding is a multi-laminate built up from the faux tortoise, ivoroid and black strips. Each layer is individually heated and bent to the shape of the instrument and then glued in place. In the places where a sharp corner is reached, the binding is mitered and fit to the next piece. If you look closely you can see the corner joints that are meticulously matched. I like the way this looks as opposed to the high-production practice of using a molded piece with no personality.
The entire guitar has been shot with clear nitro, and sanded flat by hand with 600p sandpaper. It is ready to get the color coat of Duco-relica paint that I’ve mixed up, but first I have to hand polish the lacquer over the binding on the front, back, neck and headstock of the guitar. There will be no chance to buff the binding to a gloss after the Duco is appled, so it has to be done now. The polishing has to be confined to just the binding area because the color coat needs the grip for adhesion.
The first step is to selectively sand the lacquer over the binding using progressively finer grits of sandpaper. Then using a soft felt pad, I cautiously hand-rub the nitro clear coats using three different polishing compounds until the binding is as glossy as I want.
Here you can see the compound applied to the binding areas. After all the binding is polished I went back and cleaned any residue and then prepped the entire guitar for color. The whole process took about sixteen hours.
Now the newly buffed binding will have to be masked off before spraying—back to work I go.