Control cavity cover rout?

dean

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As I work through the things that I need to do to get my LP project moving along, I find that I need to create the recess for the rear control cavity cover. The body I have should make a pretty decent guitar, but there are a number of first-time procedures that I need to perform. I need to rout a very shallow space for the cavity cover, but since the cavity is already drilled/routed, I’m not sure how to best approach this step. My routing skills are basic, my router is cumbersome, and I don’t want to buy any specialized equipment. My first thought was using a Dremel on it, but I might feel more comfortable using an Xacto knife for the edges and a chisel to shave out the “ledge for the cover. I’m open to suggestions and advice!
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Steve Holt

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As I work through the things that I need to do to get my LP project moving along, I find that I need to create the recess for the rear control cavity cover. The body I have should make a pretty decent guitar, but there are a number of first-time procedures that I need to perform. I need to rout a very shallow space for the cavity cover, but since the cavity is already drilled/routed, I’m not sure how to best approach this step. My routing skills are basic, my router is cumbersome, and I don’t want to buy any specialized equipment. My first thought was using a Dremel on it, but I might feel more comfortable using an Xacto knife for the edges and a chisel to shave out the “ledge for the cover. I’m open to suggestions and advice! View attachment 997543

Did you route that cavity or did it come like that? Looks good.

I would find a piece of half inch mdf, and trace your cavity cover onto that. Then cut out the inside of the mdf using your cover to check the fit. I'd use a spindle sander to smooth around the edges, but if you don't have that you can use a dremel, files and sand by hand to get it. The nice thing about this method is if you mess up, you've messed up your cheap mdf and not your one shot fail guitar. Mdf is soft and easy to sand/shape. 20211218_134637.jpg 20211216_221037.jpg

Then you'll have a template to get a perfect route. It really is crucial, because gaps between the body edge and the cover are pretty noticeable.
 

Freeman Keller

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I've done it two ways, but you are too late for one of them so I'll only show one. Simply make a template, center it on the cavity that you have and route away.

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If you want it to be standard LP size then get or make your cover first and make the template fit it. If you don't care you can make the cover by tracing the template.

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A dremel and knife are not the right tools. If you haven't already done it you will need to route several cavities on the other side as well as binding channels so get a decent router, the correct bits and make or buy good templates.
 

dean

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Thanks for suggestions! I appreciate them and will see what I can do with the ideas. Just to add a little clarity, the body I’m working with was mostly completed - I only need to set the neck, do the cavity covers, do the hardware and electronics, and paint it. I got the body from GFS for real cheap - it was dirty but quite nice.

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guitarbuilder

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The easiest way is to take your control cover and trace that on a larger sheet of plywood or pine/basswood/poplar. Then you have to cut and sand to the shape using a spindle sander to get into the corners, or use your pattern router bit with other materials to make the template.

Most routers have a 6" base so you want at least a 3" surface for the body to ride on. You don't want the router to tip. Then get a short pattern router bit. Stewmac or Whiteside make short ones. The alternative is to make a 3/4 or taller template. Having a variety of pattern bit lengths is handy if you do this instrument building a lot.

Then set The template over the control cavity. I'd use some double sided tape and clamps. I'd make a really large template to accommodate them. Then it's just a matter of pattern routing by setting the bit depth and running against and on your template. I save all my scrap, so I just joint and glue them...and plane them down for this kind of thing.


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Here I used a pine template to make the control cavity in a one off build.
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dean

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OK - I get it now. I’ll do the template, get the appropriate bit, and use my old router to do the job. I definitely will try a couple (few, many) practice routs before I attack the guitar body. I assume the same procedure holds true for the switch cavity. Thank you everyone - I appreciate the advice and the detailed instructions!
 

Freeman Keller

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If you were starting from scratch there is another way, which I would definitely use on the switch hole. Use a drill press and two Forstner bits, drill the outer hole the depth according to your cover, then drill the smaller hole centered on the center divot from the big hole. You can do the same thing with the cavity, there is a small bit of routing between the four big holes.

If you are careful about centering the big Forstner bit you can still do it with your body, but its nice to have wood under the center of the bit

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