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Quick question on cutting body out with router

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by wRaith, May 15, 2006.


  1. wRaith

    wRaith

    Aug 22, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    Just a quick question guys. I'm going to use a template cutting bit to cut my body from the blank. I have my template cut and shaped. Do I need to cut close to the body shape with a jigsaw/bandsaw, then neaten it up with the template and router, or can I just get straight in and cut the body from the blank with router from the start. Will that put too much load on the router bit?

    Thanks guys.
     
  2. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Both methods have been used with success but personally I like to cut the blank roughly to shape and use the router to do the final cuts. That way minimises the problems associated with heavy router cuts (like burning the wood) and keeps your router bits sharper for longer.

    If you do go whole hog with the router, be sure to take a series of progressively deeper cuts. If you dive right in and try to do the whole thing in one pass you're in for a world of hurt. Personally I think that using a reasonable band saw to rough cut the blank actually takes less time and effort than constantly changing the depth of cut on a router, but that's just me.

    -Nate
     
  3. wRaith

    wRaith

    Aug 22, 2005
    Sydney, Australia
    I don't have access to a decent bandsaw, but I do have access to a good jigsaw. I'll have to check the cut depth, but if that's OK, I'll use that to make the approx. cuts, then neaten and round-over with the router.

    Another question, how do you guys secure the template to the blank for routing? I can imagine that one slip and it's all over, so how can I attach the template to the blank. A friend suggested just clamping it on with good screw clamps, but the clamps would get in the way.
     
  4. I've heard of a few guys on here (hopefully they'll chime in) that use just the router to cut it out. Like Nateo said, if you do use the router for the whole thing, make sure you take very shallow runs.

    I'd rather take the majority off with the bandsaw, for both speed and the health of my router :D Then use the router to clean up.

    Hopefully some more guys with more experience than myself (like Nateo) will share their thoughts :)
    Whatever you end up doing, good luck!
     
  5. Definitely bandsaw it or jigsaw it out, so that you only take off a little bit with the router. Not only does it lengthen the life of your bits, it also reduces the risk that the router will tear-out wood around the edge of your body.

    For my templates, I actually screw them down with drywall screws. I place one hole in the neck pocket and one hole either in a pickup location or sometimes where the bridge will go. This way, the holes in the body blank will be either routed out or covered.

    I've had double-stick tape slip on me....not pleasant. And if you use a lot of tape, sometimes it can be a pain to get the template off.
     
  6. I have used a bandsaw and a jigsaw to 'close in' the cut. Needless to say that a bandsaw is a lot better since you can get a square (to the top) cut closer to the line. With a jigsaw, it's very unlikely that you'll get a square cut, so you have to cut further away from the line and the router will have to do much more work. But in absence of a bandsaw, a jigsaw will do. I built my first 7 bodies with the jigsaw -> router with template method you described.

    As to methods for attaching the template to the blank, I have used double stick tape, but I'd rather not do that again since it leaves residue in the grain that is very difficult to remove. I have developed a different method. I screw in the template (countersunk) to the blank in areas that would be either removed (pickup, neck pocket) or covered (bridge, pickguard). This works a lot better and you don't have to worry about it coming lose (not that it ever happened to me with the double stick tape).

    Good luck!
     
  7. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    If you go the tape route use carpet tape. It's got all the holding power you're likely to need though you do need to be a bit careful to keep your template from slipping, as has been mentioned. The residue can be a pain but I've never had a situation where solvent didn't take it off.

    It's also a lot more versatile than the screw method since you don't need to worry about screw placement. This isn't much of a problem with the body template but it can come in handy when routing pups and control cavities. Plus you can make quick and dirty jigs with some scrap wood and some carpet tape.

    Clamps are also an option but you'd need to use extra so that you can move clamps out of the way as necessary. In the end it's probably more work than it's worth but I'm sure there's someone out there who's done it successfully.

    -Nate
     

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