Jazz Bass routing templates

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Hambone, Jan 18, 2001.

  1. Well, after considerable thought and design, I've come up with a set of routing templates that can be used to recreate my complete Hambone jazz body design and do a few extra things too!

    The system works like this: After selecting, joining and thickness sanding a 15-16" x 21" blank the master templates (female) are mounted in register to both sides of the wood blank. Then precision fit male pieces are put inside the master templates and are use to rout the neck pocket, pickup recesses, and electronics cavity. One will also be able to drill and tap for different pot arrangements, neckplate choices, bridge selections, and string-thru designs. When all of the smaller routs are completed the master templates are removed, leaving the male templates for routing the body shape. I've even worked into the system templates for making knobs and additional blanks for experimenting with different necks, pups, and bridges. The whole system is designed to have a useful life of about 5 - 10 guitars, more if close care is used to maintain the condition of the templates. I'll be making the first one in the next couple of weeks and using it to build another bass. The templates are designed on the computer and will be precision routed with the CNC router table. Tight tolerances for repeatability are the goal. If all goes well I should have the perfect system to explore a lot of variations in a Jazz design.
  2. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Hambone, I'm curious about the material that you are using for the templates.

    Furniture building is one of my hobbies and after using masonite and plywood for temps and getting limited life, I have started using aluminum. I can work it with the woodworking tools that I alredy have and it doesnt seem to hurt the router bit when you nick the template.

    I was lucky to get a few road signs (no I didn't get them that way:) ) and they work great. A little stiffer than you would expect but soft enough to cut and work well.

    I still go the masonite route for one or two off projects because it works easier.

    There is also the expansion/contraction thing that unsealed wood products are plagued with. Aluminum does change very slightly, but only with temperature changes. Not enough to matter in my case but something to consider.

    I've been following your project with great interest. Please continue to keep us updated.

  3. I will have the option to make the templates from either MDF or aluminum. If I use MDF, it'll be .5" thick because I want to use the extra thickness as a drill guide. I understand the expansion/contraction issue. I hope to be able to limit this with a nice polyurethane coating. If it doesn't work it won't be the end of the world, just a few bucks down the drain.

    Aluminum on the other hand would definitely solve the size issues. What I have available is .100" thickness. I would bet that the panels you acquired are probably .125". These thicknesses are acceptable for the routing but not for aligning hand held drills. Now, I have a drill press so it's not a concern but I was wondering how someone would do it if they didn't have a lot of shop tools. That's one of the reasons I was considering the MDF. Another reason is that it is relatively easy to work with and if someone wanted to make a different component they could with very little effort. I don't know how it'll come out but I've got options.
  4. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I see what you are saying,H.B. Yea, the aluminum that I have is probably closer to 1\8".

    There are replacemet inserts available ai Lowes and in all the woodworking catologues that are made for pocket joints and dowelling jigs. The only problem is the size limitations( probably 1/2") I'm pretty sure that the right epoxy would fasten them to an aluminum template. I would probably position the drill guide and then drill the hole in the plate.

    I am assuming that you are doing the actual cutting with a roller guide bit. if so, 1/10" should be thick enough for the roller to ride on ok.

    If your engineering is like mine, you will probably get your system working first and then refine it.

    [Edited by pkr2 on 01-19-2001 at 02:49 PM]
  5. Yep, all of the routing is done with a bearing bit. I think the work will be shared between routing by hand and on the router table (construction underway:))