Let's make a body !

guitarbuilder

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I started this a while ago as a companion thread to my " Let's make a neck threads". Making a body isn't too hard with the right resources. First you need to get yourself some dry lumber. I have good local sources for a lot of common domestic woods. I use the internet for things that I don't have easy access to. I like to have wood on hand, just like I like to have parts on hand. When I see something I like and it's affordable, I'd buy it. Much of that occurred later in life. Anyway... you need to get some lumber. I have a few blanks ready for conversion into bodies, so the blanks may change within this thread but the techniques I use are the same throughout.

This is Honduran mahogany. I've been avoiding using it but figured now it's time.

body plank.jpg
 
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guitarbuilder

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Rough wood is nice to use because you are in control of it. On the other hand, defects can be hidden. A lot of wood is sold as S2S or S4S ( Surface 2 sides). There are lots of different wood grades based on appearance and defects which I won't go into. Googling will get you more than you want to know.


https://www.lampertlumber.com/blog/lumber/your-guide-to-the-different-grades-of-lumber/


I try to buy wood that is a bit wider and longer than the finished parts because of the defects you may need to work around. I've found that trying to squeeze parts in a board and saw around them in most cases hasn't been worth the effort and hassle. Shorts and skinny leftover pieces can sometimes be used for other thing anyway. Lumber availability and your disposable funds may impact your purchase too.
 
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guitarbuilder

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I cut my board into two pieces with a compound miter saw. Initially I bought this saw to achieve accurate tenons for my first LP. I also bought a stewmac fret saw blade but never used it on it. It is a Hitachi and a nice saw.... it was the smaller blade one from decades ago.


hitachi cut off saw.jpg
 
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guitarbuilder

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Next I will joint the edges for the glue up. This will be a two piece body.


Here is a jointer with a couple parts labeled. It's stored in a wet basement....




I look at the grain direction as that is important for the direction the wood moves into the jointer.
The cutter rotates clockwise if you remember how clocks with hands used to move. :). I show that in pencil.

jointer.jpg



When jointing, you want the grain to appear that it is going downhill as it enters the cutter head. This will minimize chip out on the jointed edge. I drew a line to emphasize the downhill direction. Sometimes you can't avoid the chipout because the grain direction changes. Take light cuts and put pressure against the fence and on the outfeed table. Jointers will remove fingers too. I like to keep the majority of my fingers over the fence if I can to keep them out of the way. I use push sticks and push blocks where necessary. Dust masks and safety glasses are a must for me.

grain direction on jointer.jpg
 

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Now the way I learned about panel glue ups, was that you want to alternate the end grain to minimize warping across the width. There are plenty of resources to do that. The last number of years I've opted not to worry about it on thick guitar blanks, as I think it is more important on thinner panels used in furniture. The routs cut into the grain and help in that regard. I'll put this here:

https://www.woodcraft.com/blog_entr...robst-s-four-step-process-for-seamless-panels

So after deciding which sides are gluing to which sides and jointing them flat, I place them in a vise, and run a cabinet scraper down them. This removes little protrusions of wood that may be standing proud with nicked knives. New knives usually don't need this step, but it's habit for me now.

scraper.jpg
 

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When satisfied with the joint, I stick a board in the vise and apply a glue bead of regular yellow wood glue. You want enough to get some squeeze out but not so much that it drips all over the place. I will usually put the 2nd board on top and rub them together to check and see how the glue is contacting the other piece. On multiple boards I spread it with my fingers.



glue bead.jpg
 

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I have a bunch of different bar clamps in different places. With a good joint, usually 3 are all you need to clamp it up.


Basically they are just holding the wood in place while the glue dries. I like to use a couple other clamps to keep the ends of the boards together too, to keep them from sliding around. A little squeeze out is good to see on both sides. 30 minutes of clamp time is enough. You probably have about 10 minutes of work time if you are lucky. I usually do something else while things are clamped.

I remove the clamps usually between 30 min and an hour. At this point the squeeze out is like cheese, and it will scrape off easily. If you want a lot longer the glue is hard as a rock and will chip your planer knives or hasten the replacement of your abrasive in the drum sander.

squeeze out.jpg



clamped.jpg
 

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This going to be another great tutorial, Marty. I hope your going to make a Lester, and teach me the finer points. That's a great piece of mahogany, and would be excellent bones for an LP. Everyone should at least try to make a single cut carved top style guitar, once. Or twice, or more.
 

guitarbuilder

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This going to be another great tutorial, Marty. I hope your going to make a Lester, and teach me the finer points. That's a great piece of mahogany, and would be excellent bones for an LP. Everyone should at least try to make a single cut carved top style guitar, once. Or twice, or more.


Well probably down the road that blank will be a LP Jr. Right now I'll do a tele body as the #1 in this thread.



Looks like a good way to keep busy during this stay at home time. Especially with this up and down Rochester weather. We are all wondering what it will become though.

Thanks. I have a bunch of different things I'm doing depending on what the weather is like. Today's an indoor day for sure.



An end table?:lol:

Nah...although my wife wishes I'd make a table or two....LOL.
 




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