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Thicknessing body AFTER it is cut out?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by teacherguy, Feb 21, 2005.


  1. teacherguy

    teacherguy

    Feb 21, 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    I was wondering if it is possible to re-thickness the body after it has already been cut out (hence the title of this thread!) :p

    For some reason (I wasn't thinking), I ordered from Larry my body blank to be 1 5/8" thick.
    It's cut out, sanded, routed and nearly ready for finishing. HOWEVER, I keep looking at it thinking, "That is one THICK hunk o' wood."
    I'd like to get it down to 1 1/2" if possible. I realize I'd have to round over the edges again and do some additional work.
    ***Can it be done and if so, using what method(s)?

    Thanks,
    Jon
     
  2. -more or less. You may or may not be happy w/the results. I would clamp the body onto my thicknessing jig(sets the router above the workpiece) & take off a bit at a time, round the edges & sand. Voila! Another option would be taking it to a competent woodworking/cabinet shop & have it done- the thicness planing, I mean; I assume you can finish it up.
     
  3. I actually had a similar reaction to my bass after it was cut out. I had ordered 1 1/2" mahogany and 1/4" maple from Larry and soon realized that 1 3/4" was pretty thick looking. However, after I rounded everything over with a 1/2" bit and added some contours, I decided that it wasn't too bad. I thought about thickness sanding it down another 1/8", but thought it'd be too much trouble. The extra thickness, though a bit bulky, helps the balance of the bass and adds to the tone, IMHO.
     
  4. Yeah, the reason I jumped into this thread like I know what I'm talking about is that after nearly completing my son's(still nearly completed) mini-bass, I realized I could remove quite a bit of mass w/o sacrificing structural integrity(ooh, big words). So I routed off 1/4" from the back, & about as much from the front. I didn't want to get too close to the neck area, so I left the middle full-thickness- flush w/the bottom of the neck & 3/8" or so above the top edge(think Gibson T-bird). This actually makes a nice little thumb rest- I plan on incorporating this into a full-size bass someday. And someday, I'll post pics. Then I'll fix world peace.
     
  5. teacherguy

    teacherguy

    Feb 21, 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    You mentioned thickness sanding... Novice question-Is this done with a belt sander and coarse paper?
    So far, I only used a 1/4" round-over bit so there's still a lot of wood along the sides. I just bought a 3/8" bit to see if that makes a diff. as was mentioned in the above post (using a 1/2" bit).
    I am considering taking it to a near-by cabinet making shop and try my luck with their planer.
    If a planer is used, is there a higher risk of tear out due to the irregular shape of the body versus rectangular planks off wood?

    Thanks again for the help!
    Jon
     
  6. Believe it or not, the stock American Fender Jazz is 1¾" thick! I doesn't seem like it. Even the Warmoth bodies are that dimension.

    This exact situation is one reason i built my thickness sander. I saw the possibility of needing to run through a body blank that had already been cut out. And sure enough, I've used it just like that. I had a blank that had many long pieces that I was never going to glue up totally flat so I did the best I could and then flattened the whole thing at once. In a way, it's prevented me from getting better in my glue-ups because I don't really worry if I'm not 100% even/level across the face of the blanks. I figure that I will always be able to get it right sometime after the fact with the sander.
     
  7. Since I too am a novice, my answers to your questions will be based on very little experience. I believe that there is a thread on thickness sanding in which Hambone discusses some ideas. Basically, to get the surface flat without risking tearout and without having an uneven surface, one uses a sander that is wider than the width of the body. The sanders that I have seen have either a drum or a belt with a platform underneath. I looked into it for my bass, but the sanders were either too expensive or too inconvienient to get to. As far as the roundover bit, if you want to see what a 1/2" bit does, look at the pics in my other post (First bass build:looking for feedback).

    Finally, I have a personal anecdote about planers and tearout. When I had laminated the quilted maple to the mahogany on the forementioned bass, I noticed that the joint on the maple was staggered about 1/16". Obviously unacceptable, I went to the surface planer to fix it. When it came out the other side, I had 3/32" deep chunks torn out of the maple due to the grain direction in the quilt. It took me two hours with a belt sander and a flat edge to get it flat again (which I don't recommend). Now of course that was figured wood, but I learned that surface planers probably aren't to be used if there is even the slightest chance of tearout.
     
  8. Scott French

    Scott French Dude Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Grass Valley, CA
    I've ran shaped/routed bodies right through the ol' thickness sander with no problem but a bit-o-snipe. That would come out during finish sanding.
     

  9. One possible solution to try to reduce tearout with a planer IF you realize beforehand that you might have trouble, is to run the piece through the blades at an angle so that the general direction of the grain enters the planer tangentially. This way, when the blades grip the wood before it cuts, they will pull the fibers into and against the adjacent grain, keeping it from chunking out. Or at least that's the goal.
     
  10. teacherguy

    teacherguy

    Feb 21, 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    Interesting!
    I assumed you had to go with the grain using a planer! Sounds reasonable.

    Jon
     
  11. bwbass

    bwbass

    May 6, 2002
    WA
    We actually have a special helical planer head just for planing figured woods. It does, as you say, slice into the grain at an angle. Never tears out, but not a practical solution for the home shop!

    I've seen Fender J's that are 1 5/8" thick - in fact I have a MIJ one on my bench right now. Mustang's are generally 1 1/2" thick. All the P or Tele basses I've seen were 1 3/4", though.
     
  12. You know, I've never measured my MIJ's! :confused: I don't know why, I've measured everything else in sight. I generally like the thinner body J but I never put down a thick one because it wasn't!

    Mmmm...a helical planer...[dreamy visions]

    How big? what RPM? and how do the blades attach on something like that? Got any pics? ;)
     
  13. teacherguy

    teacherguy

    Feb 21, 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    Mmmm...a helical planer...[dreamy visions]

    How big? what RPM? and how do the blades attach on something like that? Got any pics? ;)[/QUOTE]

    I'm picturing one of those push reel lawn mowers with the blades that spiral around.
     

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  14. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
  15. bwbass

    bwbass

    May 6, 2002
    WA