Help choosing tools

Cap'n Kier
June 24th, 2009, 09:47 AM
Hi all :smile:

Want to have a go at building a guitar body, but first need some tools and wondering if anybody could help me out choosing some on a budget?

I think first I'll need to find out what I'll need... I've seen people using some very nice machinery, but I'd only like to have the essentials as money and space is a bit limited (and I'd only be making a couple maybe as a hobby!)

So far I think i need :

A Router
Gauge / Caliper?

I'm new to Routers and woodworking in general (I just love steep learning curves :lol:), so what sort of spec's should I be looking for? type, power ratings, RPM, plunge stroke?, plunge depth, collet size, max cutter size...

Yeah... you get the drift lol, I'm sure alot of values aren't so important, but any guidlines in what to look for, maybe brands to avoid, would be superb!

Another thing that's pretty obivously needed are different router bits aswell... I'm guessing template bits are used alot? again help with types, sizes, materials etc would be great :cool:

Sorry for asking so much in one post! I've got loads of questions but I'll do a bit more searching before I make a fool of myself! (e.g. how do you secure the MDF template onto your blank while routing??)

Many thanks!


Jack Wells
June 24th, 2009, 11:33 AM
I was about to recommend the Porter Cable 690LR from Amazon but I see you're in the UK. Don't know what's available there. I'm sure some of your fellow UK members can recommend a router that's available locally.

You don't need a plunge router. Once you get your router I would suggest building a router table.

crispy king
June 24th, 2009, 12:01 PM
I couldn't find a fixed base router for a sensible price ( < 250 ). You US guys have all the luck.
I bought a Bosch POF1100 (plunge) from ebay. It seems ok so far.

You'll need a drill press with a big enough throat (the distance between the pillar and the centre of the chuck). I can't remember how big that needs to be. Mine is too small, d'oh.

You can use double-sided tape to secure the template to the wood, but if you plan on taking the template off and on again then it probably won't be lined up perfectly.
Try screwing it on. Put the screws in an area that won't be seen. I went for midway between pickups, and between stringthu holes and pickup route.

I used this thread http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/104933-newbie-first-build.html as my tool buying guide, although I went for the cheaper versions.

Have a look around http://www.axminster.co.uk

June 24th, 2009, 12:55 PM
The best routers here in the UK are supplied by Trend (http://www.trend-uk.com/en/UK/productgroup/31/power_tools_and_safety.html) and are based on the old ELU range which will last a lifetime. I would personally get a plunge router because it adds to versatility. A good fine adjuster is also useful and slow start/stop as well as variable speed. Those are the extras you pay for and for fine work you really do need them.

Cap'n Kier
June 24th, 2009, 05:46 PM
Cheers for the replies :)

I know too well about the US having better prices than we do!
Thanks for the link to that thread too - first page already has tons of good info! and the OP is from Bristol aswell :D

So you would recommend a plunge router? and perhaps make a router table? Is a pillar drill a necessity for accuracy? i can see my wallet crying already!

@ Muttley, I saw a couple of Trend routers while browsing eBay - they look quite nice and seem to have good reviews...
the price of the T4 is more appealing to me (quite scary prices for new tools when your incomeless!), but the T5 looks like a good router... (I'm guessing you can't use a 115v router on 240v? bummer :sad: )

Thanks again for the replies! I'll have a look through that thread for a while and get my head around it all :)