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The contoured body

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Basschair, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Hey all, two questions (one will be in another post).

    How would you go about creating a "contoured" body such as the warwick thumb or streamer? It's the concave back (convex front) that I'm referring to. Any ideas? Thanks!
  2. Fasoldt Basses

    Fasoldt Basses

    Mar 22, 2005
    Stevens Point, WI
    Karl Thompson, Builder (Formerly Fat Karl)
    Hey 'Chair. I'm contouring the back on my current project. I've been doing it with a strait- blade spokeshave and a curved scraper. The scraper works well as long as it's sharp. I'm also using a half-round file for inside curves on the body... those are my main shaping tools. You've seen the project in a different thread. Caving is my favorite! woohoo.:D
  3. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca
    Yeah, I'd thought about a curved spokeshave, but I seem to be retarded when it comes to spokeshaves. Perhaps that was because I was working on bubinga...this would be af mahogony on one, walnut on the other.
  4. I saw a tip in a woodshop book that was for a way to make dished items with your belt sander. What the guy did was to make an arched "foot" that slipped between the skidplate and the belt of his belt sander. This gave the sander a rounded bottom and then, by just moving back and forth, he was able to shape dished radii for seats and such. I think he used hard maple under the belt.
  5. Rodent

    Rodent A Killer Pickup Line™ Commercial User

    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player-Builder-Founder: Honey Badger Pickups & Regenerate Guitar Works
    I saw a method for creating a radiused sanding block on project guitar that inspired me to consider something similar for radiusing fretboards - but you could also modify the concept to route the back of a body.


    For the body contour: I think you should be able to create a pendulum assembly that holds the router above the body, and a sled that moves along the X-axis to hold the body. It would definitely take some time to build this, but you'd definitely get a consistent radius as a result.

    For the fretboard radius: Same kind of concept, except that the router would be held in a fixed location and the fretboard holder would be on a pendulum sled. Sliding the fretboard along the X-axis would allow you to rough out a constant radius quite nicely.

    All the best,

  6. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I've built the radius block jig from ProjectGuitar and it works quite nicely. I also took that next step you talk about and built a fretboard radiusing jig that swings the router over the fretboard as it's fed through. I built it to do a 3" radius for my EUB and had some moderate success. I had a few problems with the bit slipping slightly, but for just hogging out to a rough shape it worked pretty fine. If I was going to do it again I'd spend a lot more time making sure there was no wobble, since any variation in the swing shows up as steps to be sanded out in the fingerboard.

    All in all I'd say that if you're going to be building a whole series of short radius fingerboards, it's probably a worthwhile investment. For more standard stuff like 12-16", a sanding block saves a whole lot of hassle.

  7. a curved sled on the router. check the mimf library. there was a guy from australia who showed me how to do it.