Notes, tips and techniques relating to the making and installation of musical instrument linings including kerfing, binding and purfling.


Buy or make strips of kerfing. Individual triangles (tentellones) can be used for the bottom-side join, but not top-side. Glue is applied and then the kerfing is installed and clamped in – mixture of big clamps, small clamps and clothespegs. Install top kerfings slightly proud – you don’t want to be doing too much scraping afterwards. Strips will twist – ignore and rectify.

Binding + Purfling

  1. Cut binding/purfling channels. Wait until you have the material, you may need to alter dimensions slightly.
  2. Set the cutter up for one of the cuts and do both sides of either the top or the bottom – whichever one you’re doing first. Run it over a few times to mark the location and cut a little.
  3. Adjust for the other dimension and do the same. These preliminary cuts must be both deep(ish) and clean in order to prevent chipping later on.
  4. Start the full cuts, making smooth, strong strokes into the wood in one dimension. Go down almost as far as you think you need in this dimension, then adjust cutter and do the other side.
  5. Take out the wood with a chisel and save – it can be useful for filling in gaps later.

To install bindings – first bend any that need bending. Wooden purfling goes in at the same time as binding.

  1. Put a good amount of glue on quite a way along the channel.
  2. Put glue on any purfling as well, to help stick everything together.
  3. Make sure there is a really strong clamp holding everything in at the start, then go along with tape and clamps periodically at places where it has cracked or needs a bit more strength to conform to body shape.
  4. Big roll of tape around the end, to clamp it in. Keep applying glue all the time. Make sure it’s well seated in both ways