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Jul 1, 2020 - 5:14:18 PM
1298 posts since 4/13/2017

Are there any cheaper alternatives to this for a Dremel? I really need one, but really don't want to pay that much for one. I'll buy the bit for $22, even if shipping is a hideous $12 for such a tiny thing, but unless I can't find an alternative for cheaper, I refuse to pay $52 for a tiny attachment that I would only use on banjos with binding on the headstock, or perhaps the occasional fancier banjo like checkerboard style.

Jul 1, 2020 - 8:54:34 PM



2929 posts since 2/20/2016

Specialty tools are expensive.

I modified a stock Dremel brand router base by installing a clear base plate, and made the router edge guide from the plans in Don Teeter's book, "The Acoustic Guitar." Anyone who works on fretted instruments should have that book. It answers several questions that you have asked on the forum. Along with Hideo Kamimoto's "Complete Guitar Repair" and Frank Ford's website, the Teeter book is my primary shop reference.

At the time, some of the Stew-mac tools were not yet available. And I also was on a budget and wanted to keep my expenses down.

The Stew-mac tools are more accurate and easier to adjust than my home-made jobs, but I still use the ones I made anyway.

I make it a point of never ordering only one thing from any supplier whenever possible, because of shipping expenses. Look through the catalog and see what else you can use. You may need fret wire, binding materials, tuners, wooden parts, etc. They also sell strings for several instruments.

Other alternatives are to learn how to do some of the jobs with hand tools.  Violin makers often make their own purfling cutters from a handmade wooden base and a knife blade.

Edited by - rcc56 on 07/01/2020 20:56:24

Jul 2, 2020 - 4:54:58 AM



11613 posts since 2/7/2008

A dremel is pretty much an underpowered tool for bindings if doing often. I cut binding edges with a compact/trim router. There are some on Amazon or Harbor Freight under $50 and there are lots of uses for one, especially if you want to build electric guitars.

I bought a set of 4 flush cut bits on Amazon for $14 and swapped some bearings around so I can cut 1/16" or 1/32" edges.

To make things easier I also built a very basic router table from chipboard furniture people seem to always be leaving on the side of the road. They provide great material for templates and guitar moulds.

I did look at the dremel attachment at one time and was considering making one as I have a lathe and mill. It could be made from plastic or even a good hardwood. The original one, designed by Roger Siminoff to my knowledge, did not thread onto the old style dremels but was held on with a set screw so would be simpler.

Lastly, would this work for you?

Jul 2, 2020 - 8:04:10 AM

3182 posts since 5/29/2011

I found a binding router guide on eBay for $47.50. That is the cheapest I have seen. Precision work requires good tools. Trying to go cheap, even out of necessity, is not always an ideal solution. For years I struggled trying to make do with minimal tools. Of course, I was in a financial situation that would not permit me to splurge on good tools. But, now I scratch and scrape to afford the best tools I can so I have something to work with that cuts down on my time and effort.
As the old adage says, time = money. What you save in money now will cost you in time in the long run. Which adds up to aggravation, botched efforts, good pieces of wood being ruined by mediocre tools, etc. Nothing is as frustrating as having an instrument almost finished, then cutting a big gouge out of it with a tool that grabbed the wood and went its own way.
I know you are not in a great financial position right now but I think the same holds true with tools as with instruments. Buy the best you can afford. If you can't afford it right now, scratch and scrimp until you have the money to buy it. If you don't, you will someday wish you had.
I hope that made sense.

Jul 2, 2020 - 6:34:19 PM

752 posts since 2/19/2012

I have the Stewmac binding guide and found it barely adequate. It's hard to control and takes several passes if routing into hardwoods. I bought the Siminoff version but haven't tried it. It would have the same issues with the dremel being underpowered for the job, but folks seem to like it better. If you want to read a bunch about cutting ledges for binding, check out the Mandolin Cafe. There are lots of posts there, all the way from totally hand tools to very elaborate setups. One popular option comes up under Lynn Dudenbostel using a small router and router table. If you have a router already, I'd be heading that way. I recently made up something similar and will try to post a photo tomorrow. This works well with carved top instruments.


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