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Old November 5th, 2012, 11:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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First Build Starting Today!

I have some meetings this morning, then I'll be diving into trying my hand at my first guitar build since 1990 when I get home! Back then, my Dad and I built 3 guitars (and he did most of the work), but I haven't touched much equipment since then -- so I'll be starting fresh, pretty much.

Today's agenda is all about making 1/4" MDF templates (then possibly 3/4 if the 1/4 comes out okay) for the neck and body -- and reacquainting myself with the bandsaw. I'll also be familiarizing myself with using the ROSS, which is a new tool for me.

FWIW, I have the following tools ready to go:

14" bandsaw
Drill press
Router and router table (with appropriate bits)
ROSS
Grizzly dust collector
All the other small hand tools, measuring devices, etc., for woodworking.

I'm sure this will be a SLOW process, but if you guys don't mind indulging me, I'd love to keep this thread updated on what/how I'm doing so that you guys can chime-in as I move from step to step!

I'll be taking and posting pics when I get home this afternoon.

STOKED!
Maury

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Old November 5th, 2012, 11:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Really looking forward to it!
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Old November 5th, 2012, 11:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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will be watching, you'll love the ROSS
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Old November 5th, 2012, 09:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Had some time today, thankfully, to get started on my 1/4" MDF templates.


Here's the guitar I'm (hopefully) making. It's not a T-style, but I hope that's okay.





I used spray adhesive to stick the print out onto my MDF...





Then I started going at it with my G0555. I dropped-in a Timber Wolf 1/4" blade to help with the curves.





Here's the "pretty close to the edge" cut.





Taking it to the ROSS now, to sand to the line...





And there you have it for the neck (I hope)!





Next, I traced my body print onto the MDF. I didn't want to ruin this print out, so I didn't adhere it to the MDF.





Back to the Grizzly to cut the shape...





Back to the ROSS to finesse the shape...





Finessing done!





And with that, I *think* my 1/4" templates are done!






For not having used any of these tools in, oh, about 22 years, it 1) felt good to use them again, and 2) cutting on the MDF rather than wood was a great way to build confidence. As I mentioned previously, this is my first use of the ROSS, and yep, I love it! You can't screw around with it, that's for sure I'm still getting used to being able to make a completely straight edge down the neck. I got the top 99.5% dead-on, but there's a bump in the upper register of the treble side. I'm thinking I can take care of that on the 3/4 MDF.

So...some thoughts/questions to you experts off the top of my head, in no particulate order...

1. First off, how am I doing so far?

2. I'm thinking I'll make two sets of 3/4" templates. For experience, I was thinking about tracing these 1/4" templates, then cutting/sanding to finish and then I thought I'd do another 3/4" set with a router. Can't hurt to get more time with the tools before diving into wood, no?

3. I have the StewMac knotty pine body I'm still finishing, and the neck template I made fits really REALLY well. To maintain the tight tolerances, if I trace these templates, I'll just need to sand away the pencil line, and I should be pretty close to good. OR, do I need to account for additional sanding/routing once the fingerboard is glued on? Does that question make sense? I have my caliper measurements all up the neck.

4. What grit papers do y'all use on the ROSS?

5. I have a Grizzly dust collector with a 4" hose, and I wasn't able to find ANYTHING that would let me reduce it to fit onto dust port of the ROSS. Any tips? I thought about just using some dryer vent hose, and crushing it to fit...

6. I'm planning to do the 3/4" templates tomorrow anything you guys can throw-in at this point, or should I just keep trucking on?


Thanks for the willingness to help a n00b!
Maury
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Old November 5th, 2012, 10:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Lookin good so far, love the body shape

just 1 of many places that can fill your dust collection needs
http://woodworking.rockler.com/c/dust-collection
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Old November 5th, 2012, 10:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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the MDF is really hard on router bits, keep that in mind, after 2 sets of 3/4 templates you may need new bits.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 10:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellybuster View Post
the MDF is really hard on router bits, keep that in mind, after 2 sets of 3/4 templates you may need new bits.
Noted! If I make 2 sets, I'll only do one set with the router but I *do* need to gab a couple of extra bits. Thanks!
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Old November 5th, 2012, 10:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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the MDF is really hard on router bits, keep that in mind, after 2 sets of 3/4 templates you may need new bits.
If your router bits are dying after two sets of templates you need better quality bits. It's definitely not the best thing for router bits, but they should be able to stand up to a lot more than that.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 01:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I really think you just want to show off your clean shop with a good bandsaw and ross.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 03:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Instead of using the ROSS for the straight lines in the neck, you might do better with a trim bit in the router, using a known straight edge as a guide. That's what most of the guys seem to do here.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 10:16 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Moldy Oldy View Post
Instead of using the ROSS for the straight lines in the neck, you might do better with a trim bit in the router, using a known straight edge as a guide. That's what most of the guys seem to do here.
Gotcha. I think I'll do this when I make my 3/4" templates today.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 10:34 AM   #12 (permalink)
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...I got the top 99.5% dead-on, but there's a bump in the upper register of the treble side. I'm thinking I can take care of that on the 3/4 MDF
I'd fix that bump on your master template rather than waiting to fix it on the working template. If you fix it on the master, then you don't have to worry about it when making the others, but if you just fix it on the working templates, then you have to fix it every time you make a new one. No sense in making extra work for yourself down the road.
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Last edited by RogerC; November 6th, 2012 at 11:43 AM. Reason: typo
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Old November 6th, 2012, 10:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I'd fix that bump on your master template rather than waiting to rix it on the working template. If you fix it on the master, then you don't have to worry about it when making the others, but if you just fix it on the working templates, then you have to fix it every time you make a new one. No sense in making extra work for yourself down the road.
I hear you -- I was thinking I'd make the 3/4" templates, and those would become my masters sicne they'd hold up over time better (?). That said, I see how 1/4" masters would be easier to store, etc. Thanks!
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Old November 6th, 2012, 11:18 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I bought 80 & 120 grit sleeves for my ROSS. The 80's will take away some wood in a hurry so you have to be careful. The 120's are more for fine tuning and semi-finishing. Sounds like you have all the tools you need. What did I just type? You will never have all the tools that you need
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Old November 6th, 2012, 09:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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More template work done today, and things seem to be going well!


I traced my 1/4" template onto 3/4" MDF so I could cut the rough shape out on the bandsaw.





I slapped on some double-sided duct tape, and dadgum, this stuff is strong! It took forever to remove the two pieces afterward, so next time I'll just use smaller pieces, ha.





On to the router!





Done!





Next came the neck, and as I mentioned previously, I didn't get the treble side 100% flat. To remedy this, I used my StewMac straightedge taped on top of my 1/4" template. The route came out dead straight! I took this template and dropped it into the neck pocket of one of my other Tele bodies, and it fit perfectly!





And now I have my 3/4" body and neck templates!





Tomorrow I will be using the router to join some pieces of pine so I can go through the process of building a full thickness body. This will also give some practice with the plunge router...

One thing for sure, is that the dust vent on the router table was useless when routing MDF. I couldn't get the collector to get anything, so I'll have to figure out a different rig. Needless to say, my wife's car now has a fine coating of MDF dust, and she's not too happy about it, haha.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 09:28 PM   #16 (permalink)
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You will have to move the fence closer top the bit for the dust collector to work.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 09:42 PM   #17 (permalink)
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You will have to move the fence closer top the bit for the dust collector to work.
Nice, I'll do that tomorrow. Thanks!
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Old November 6th, 2012, 09:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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You could also move the left and right hand portions of the fence closer together to partially close the gap. This usually increases the suction force on my router table setup.
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Old November 7th, 2012, 05:01 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I had some scrap 2x6 laying around, so I decided to go ahead and make a practice body out of it. First time using a router as a joiner, and at this point, I must say that I MUCH prefer using a joiner. Maybe I'll change my mind over time, but sheesh. I was shaving 1/16th off at a time because I found some 1/16" thick metal blades that I could use as spacers behind the fence.

For the wood, I just used the less of the various evils and knots, not caring about how things lined up (or grain direction, as you can see int he pics).

I glued the planks together with Titebond III, and I'll let it sit overnight before messing with it.







In the mean time, I need to build a jig so I can plane the surface down to proper thickness with my router. I have plenty of 3/4" MDF, so I'm thinking a couple of strips on either side of the body, and a piece that can span the width with a channel in the center so I can move the router on it left to right (if that makes sense).
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Old November 8th, 2012, 05:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I had a short amount of time to work today, so here's all I got done...


Unclamped the body and did some leveling with the good ol' hand planer.







I went ahead and cut out the general shape of the body, getting rid of the knots and badly warped parts of the scrap wood. The lowest level are is right at 1.5", so by the time I level things with the router, I'm hoping to be somewhere in the ballpark of Melody Maker thickness.





I'm now working on a router planing jig, opting to reinvent the wheel rather than use something someone else made (or has shown how they made). Since I'm new to this still, I figure trial and error and engineering on my own could be a good way to learn via hard knocks, haha.

I made some level 1x2 runners, and attached pieces of MDF to the outside of each -- these will help hold the plate in place as I slide it down the length of the runners. There are 4 MDF blocks acting as feet.

My plan is to carefully screw the MDF feet to the "curb" rail MDF pieces (making, essentially, L brackets), then I can screw or clamp the 1x2 runners into place. I thought about securing the L-brackets to another piece of MDF with some screws and washers. ???

Next, I'll rout a channel in the middle of the plate so I can move left and right, adding some stop blocks to the top. I'll also put something on the runner tops to help things slide more easily, though I'm not sure what...




Thoughts?
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