1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Learned a valuable lesson about freehand routing of pup pockets.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by archer121, May 15, 2011.

  1. archer121


    Apr 12, 2009
    It's a very bad idea. I figured I'd give it a shot and totally borked up my pockets. :scowl: I should have known but you don't really know if you don't try, eh?:meh: Now I'm thinking of filling the pockets with either marine epoxy or wax and carving them out again and making copper collars to hide my mistake.:crying:
  2. BassCycle


    Jan 6, 2006
    Temecula, CA
    Builder: Classic Bass Works
    Even with the proper templates, always do a test run on a piece of scrap.
  3. Wouldn't wax melt?
  4. I did this to a Fender PBass in the 80s, trying to add a Jazz pickup in the bridge position. A few hundred dollars later and I had a Chavel body that acheived what I wanted.

    Expensive lesson, but I haven't done something similar since. I'm sure you've learned as well.
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    slap a pickguard over it. freehand with a router is never a good idea.
  6. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars, Veillette Guitars
    Agreed - freehand routing is pretty much a non-starter.
    It's not worth it. Let's face it - most of us can't even freehand a perfect rectangle with pencil and paper, let alone a 1.5HP motor with whirling blades attached.

    My suggestion would be to avoid filling the holes using marine epoxy. It's somewhat costly, and may not react well to the high-speed router cutter when you go back in to make the routes again.

    Also - most epoxy is made up of a large percentage of BPA (bisphenol-A), which is also known as the "bad" chemical that leaches out of older plastic water bottles. It's an endocrine disruptor and generally nasty stuff.

    While epoxy can be used without too much concern if handled safely, the idea of turning a big puddle of it into airborne dust with a router just seems icky.
    I know one instrument builder (a former boat builder) who developed a severe allergy to epoxy, and his stories of how he reacts are downright unsettling. It's nothing you want to have happen.

    Better would be to fill the problem routes with mostly wood, shaped pretty closely to fit, and glued in with yellow glue.
    Gap-fill with the epoxy after routing.

    Or, just cover the holes with a pickguard or pickup surround.

  7. daveman50

    daveman50 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Westchester County NY
    or-- using a template, make a clean, square route that's larger than the (mess) you have now; fill that by gluing in a piece of the same wood; and start over.
  8. Philonius

    Philonius Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2009
    2k W of the Duwamsh
    No pics, no munged up freehand routing job.
  9. Anomalous Bass

    Anomalous Bass

    Mar 29, 2011
  10. ProfGumby


    Jan 15, 2007
    Michigan's U.P.
    I love it! That made me laugh, especially with your avatar pic....:D

    And to actually add a bit of Captain Obvious to the discussion, make sure you move the router the right way. One way, moving the router with the blades biting/cutting into the wood is the correct way. If you start moving the router so the bit pulls the router along the wood, well it can be downright tragic to your hands if it bucks, it will probably make all manner of funny marks on the body. And as long as you are not hurt, it will be funny as hell to read about your router taking out the body and flying off the table and into the wall...
  11. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    Route clockwise around an inside route (pickup cavity, neck pocket, control cavity), route counter-clockwise around the perimeter of an instrument (cleaning up the bandsawn edge by following a template, or when rounding over the edge).
  12. archer121


    Apr 12, 2009
    Like making a dutchman patch? Good idea. I think this is what I'm probably to do. I've already screwed it up once so it doesn't really make sense to cut corners filling with epoxy or wax at this point. Plus what others have said about the dust being potentially toxic from epoxy makes a lot of sense so it's out.

  13. Doesn't anybody even consider Bondo?

    Relatively safe if you don't actually eat spoons-full and the product itself has a good bond to wood.
  14. SDB Guitars

    SDB Guitars Commercial User

    Jul 2, 2007
    Coeur d'Alene, ID
    Shawn Ball - Owner, SDB Guitars
    I bought a "paint grade" body probably 12 years ago that had what basically amounted to Bondo filling the various voids... It ended up with a solid (black) lacquer finish on it...
  15. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Bondo works great when a solid color is being used.
  16. pnut166


    Jun 5, 2008
  17. johnk_10

    johnk_10 vintage bass nut Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 16, 2008
    Thousand Oaks, CA
    John K Custom Basses
    hmmmmm. i did all of the routing in the pics below by freehand. i never have a problem doing it that way.






    this one was done freehand with a dremel:



    and i added a third middle pickup to this one after it was painted (also done freehand with a dremel):


    i only use templates if i'm building several of the same bass.
  18. :bag: This should be in the CNC vs Handmade thread. :p
  19. That is some mighty pretty hand routing johnk 10.
  20. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Wow. Just wow.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.