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Making a template

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by SonicMustang, Oct 24, 2020.

  1. SonicMustang

    SonicMustang Tele-Meister

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    Hello all. I’m super close to starting my guitar building journey, but I had a question about making a body template. If I’m making a tele style guitar and I trace my existing tele body onto the wood, how important is finding the center line or how to do it? I’m super confused about this. Is it even necessary if it’s a shape that I’ve already drawn onto the wood? And since I have the outline of the neck pocket via the drawing?
     
  2. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    the center line is not necessarily any advantage....

    make your template.... then note the location of the neck.. the pocket will be 3 inches deep... do not cut it yet.. just place the neck in position sitting on the template... now take the pickguard and place in on the correct position, noting the margins around the bottom edge and around the lower horn.. get is situated correctly... the neck should not have moved, but it's not unusual for it to do so a little to accommodate the pickguard's iregularities .. ti's no biggie, as long as the placement is still relative to the 3" deep pocket..

    Now place the bridge in position... it should be centered between the edges of the cutout in the pickguard... mark the location of the string through holes .. do it with a ⅛d brad-point drill.. You CAN screw the bridge to the template and use the holes in the bridge as a guide.. do NOT drill all the way through... drill half way, then using pin registration, flip it and complete the holes.. (that's covered in other threads currently active here..)

    Now take the control plate.. place it in the correct position relative to the pickguard and with it's top edge parrallel to the bottom edge of the bridge... mark the location of the pot holes, the switch slot and mounting holes, then the mounting holes for the control plate.. You now know where to rout that cavity...

    Doing it this way results in a guitar that LOOKS correct.. with everything fitting correctly when assembly day comes... the reason for doing it this way is.. parts like the bridge, control plate and pickguard can be "off" a little from OEM specs even if YOU DO buy original Fender parts... if things are a little off.. the irregularities cascade into a very crooked looking guitar.

    r
     
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  3. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Take the T downs tele drawing to a print shop and print it out full size. Take an accurate rule with you to make sure they are printing it out to 100% scale.

    Glue the drawing to your template material. All the information is there. Then cut and sand it to the line.

    A centerline is very important if you are striving for an accurate template. All the routs are equidistant to it and the control cavity distance is measured from it.

    Once the drawing is glued down, you can remove the material from the cavities with what tooling you have available. just like a coloring book, try to stay within the cavity lines and not go over the perimeter shape line.

    The terry downs drawing is here at post 585

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/d-size-tele-body-blueprint-files-here.74504/page-30

    You should be aware that a template isn't really necessary. All your work can be laid out on the wood and cut and sanded. The nice thing about tele parts are that except for the neck cavity, everything is hidden under the parts. Drilling with a forstner bit, chiseling, and sanding routs out is more tedious than routing with a template, but is a viable option and was done before template bits were available.

    Maybe this will be of use to you.


    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/lets-make-a-body.1017362/


    Another option is to print out the drawing pdf on your own computer printer and cut and paste them together. I glue the paper down to your wood with water based glue stick.

    Read the build threads here at TDPRI so you get a feel for where people mess up. One of the common issues is tear out from using a template. :).

    If you are like most people you want to do the best job possible. Mistakes happen and you can move on from them, but accuracy and taking your time usually yields with a nice end result.

    As a college professor wrote on my first ever technical drawing about 45 years ago..."Use Care" and don 't believe everything you read and hear on the internet. :).
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
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  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    On the right is the TDowns plans glued to a piece of plywood. I have drilled thru a couple of the important hole locations which will help establish the center line and the location of bridge and pickups. The template is a little rough looking, it has built 5 guitars to this point in time. Ignore the one on the left, it was for chambering my last guitar.


    IMG_6612.JPG

    I route the body shape followed by the neck pocket. I build a neck to fit the pocket and use it to establish the true center line and the scale, which is then used to route the bridge and pickups. Here the neck has been fitted and the sides have been extended to the bridge position. The bridge is being located relative to the actual scale

    IMG_4688.JPG

    I'll add that I make separate templates for the body, chambering (if I'm going to), neck, bridge and pickups. That way I can position each of them with respect to one another. It also gives me the option of changing pickups or bridge and still using the same body.

    Hiscock has patterns for most common pickups in the back of his book. Otherwise use whatever plans you are using to build from.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
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  5. SonicMustang

    SonicMustang Tele-Meister

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    What type of router bit do you use when routing a body using a template?
     
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  6. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    A template bit...read my body thread. A 1/2" deep template bit allows for a thinner template. The stewmac bit will allow you to rout down to the bottom of the control cavity.

    https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-too...MIjNGl1dLN7AIVELbICh3zIAW6EAQYASABEgIeaPD_BwE


    If you end up wanting to perimeter rout the body, then you'll need a longer one and perhaps a flush trim bit too. You want enough bit length to safely rout without having the bit come out of the router. Many template bits have a 1" cutting length.


    https://www.toolstoday.com/router-bits/templatepattern-router-bits.html

    A flush trim bit can be used to take off the leftover material that a shorter bit can't get to.

    https://www.toolstoday.com/router-bits/trim-flush-router-bits.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020
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  7. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    You use a bit like these

    [​IMG]

    Which you can buy in various lengths and diameters. The ball bearing rides on your template while the bit does the cutting. The bearing is the same diameter as the bit so it cuts a smooth side.

    The problem occurs when the piece you are routing is taller than the bit, then you frequently make more than one pass moving the bearing onto the area that has all ready been routed. StewMac has a good description of doing this

    https://www.stewmac.com/video-and-i...l-bearing-cutter-bits-for-guitar-routing.html

    Pay attention to their use of 1/4 inch plastic tubing on the shaft - if you try to chuck the bit only part way into the collet of your router the bearing can move up and damage your work.

    You can either route from the top down with a hand held router or you can come up from the bottom with a router table. Here is a pretty thick templated screwed under the work piece, but you can see that my 1 inch long bit will require several passes.

    IMG_5890.JPG
     
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  8. SonicMustang

    SonicMustang Tele-Meister

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    Would any of you recommend using a 2” bit for routing the outside of the body With the template? My buddy just bought one, but I also have a 1”
     
  9. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Afflicted

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    I would be scared to use a 2" bit. That's just me though. Often times one of the biggest mistakes people make when starting out is thinking the router is a saw and trying to do too much with it. Take it down as close to your line as you can with a bandsaw or spindle sander (or both) and then make multiple passes with your router making small cuts to achieve this.
     
  10. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    if using a 2 inch bit, you would have to change to accommodate the tighter radii in the inside of the horn and the curve at the upper neck pocket... Most use a ¾ inch diameter bit to do it all in one fell swoop..
     
  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It depends on your skill level in woodworking. Most people have said that the long spiral bit is a great bit but nerve-racking to use. A straight 2" bit sounds like a recipe for disaster. If you are asking that question....you would be wise to take the perimeter off in increments, not one pass. Tear out occurs where the grain direction changes. Incremental depth removal minimizes the risk. Doing it all at once without a spiral bit will almost guarantee you'll get tear out or send it across the room if you rout in the wrong direction. Think safety. Remember you heard it here first. Cutting close and sanding to the line is an option.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
  12. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    I use the 2" upcut spiral bit and give it the utmost in respect. The upside is nice smooth routs in one go. The downside is if you try and take of too much there will be at least tearout or it'll throw your piece across the shop. Before routing you need to leave as little as possible to rout on the piece.
     
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  13. SonicMustang

    SonicMustang Tele-Meister

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    If I’m using a router table then, if I used a 1inch bit, would I route the outside and then take the template off and let the bearing ride on the newly cut side to remove the rest of the wood?

    Full disclosure, I’ve never used the router table before. I’m going to be practicing before I take it to the blank I’m using. I have a couple plywood blanks I glued together to practice with before trying any of this on my poplar blank
     
  14. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    a router table is safer than a hand held router... but since this is your first rodeo.. buy ya a 2 x 8 8 footer construction pine from Home depot it'll cost ya about 8 bux... make a couple of blanks out of it.... now using that and your template make a couple of bodies as practice... it's much nicer to learn (screw up) a 2 dollar blank than your pristine hardwood...

    IF you have a friend that's woodshop savvy, invite him over for a beer... then show him what your building... betcha he volunteers...

    and the number one rule: always know where your fingers are relative to the sharp thing making that loud buzzing sound... :eek: Number two.. tell everyone not to interrupt you when they hear a tool running...
     
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  15. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    That is what I do (more or less) - see post #7. I believe that is a 1 inch long by 3/4 (or maybe 1/2) diameter bit. I have a fairly thick templated screwed on the bottom of the wood I am cutting. Notice that I also have a small piece of plastic tubing on the shank of the bit just like the StewMac article that I linked for you (did you read it?). For this thickness body I will not remove the template but the bearing will ride on the newly cut side as I move up.

    You can also see that the amount I'm taking off is not very thick - as others have said, a router is not a saw
     
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  16. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    This right here. I have routed with a handheld for a few years. I got a router table last year and got to use it for the first time this last summer. As I was routing some 3/4" ply building a footrest riser for a wheelchair, the piece slipped and my hand grazed the spinning bit. No visible marks on my finger, but I felt it for a couple days. It was way too near a miss. Granted, it was a much smaller piece than a guitar body, but the same thing could happen with a bigger piece. In defense of the router table, it was one of my last pieces to rout, I was doing some final cleaning, and having been extra safe up to that point I tried to run the piece through a little more quickly (beginner overconfidence). Use push blocks if you can; just watch your hands. I can't imagine how I would feel if I lost my guitar playing fingers doing something like, well, building a guitar.
     
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  17. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Here's my 2 cents. You'd be far better off getting some experience with some thinner stock before you attempt a body perimeter rout. Get some scrap wood 3/4" thick. Then get a pattern on top with double sided tape or screws or whatever. Make it large enough so you can keep your hands way away from the bit..... Cut off the excess leaving about 1/32-1/16" on a bandsaw or sander. Then pattern rout it. Do this enough so you know what to expect. Watch some video's online.


    Everyone here for the most part has experience doing it and tell you how to do it, but there is nothing like gaining some experience with practice so you walk away at the end of the day with your fingers attached.


    https://www.popularwoodworking.com/projects/template-routing/#:~:text=1.,to make using a template.

    This guy discusses it but has the luxury of a double bearing bit. You don't have that, so the chance of getting the tear out is increased in those tough grain direction changes.


    Read about it...watch videos....learn what happens when you go the wrong way....
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
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  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    here's a couple of threads I did back during the Mesolithic period.. perhaps something will be of interest and even better, actually help..

    also as Marty has alluded.. most of us have considerable experience doing this.. but., it's just a learned skill.. and there may be subtle differences in how different builders accomplish the same task. There is no correct way other than what works for you. So don't become apoplectic because two different guys suggest different techniques.. and keep plenty of cold beer near...

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/stratocaster-discussion-forum/112065-lets-do-sharp-dressed-strat.html


    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/stratocaster-discussion-forum/104487-ok-so-i-promised-here-ya.html
     
  19. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    The easiest way to make a template is to use an existing guitar body as the template for...the template.

    With the neck and all the hardware off the body, use double-stick tape to stick a sheet of 1/4" thick Masonite or 1/2" MDF to the top face of the body. If the body is finished, lay a strip of painter's tape all the way around it to protect it from the bearing of the cutter you'll use.

    Mount a bottom-bearing cutter in your router and adjust the depth of cut so the top of the bearing is where the body's radius begins; you don't want the spinning cutter edges to contact the body--just the template material. This (the yellow circled area):

    [​IMG]

    Obviously, it helps to pre-drill a hole in the template material for each pickup rout and the control rout.

    If you're using a router table, flip everything in the diagram upside down.

    If you make router templates from Masonite or MDF, they will last many years if you soak the edges with water-thin CA and then sand smooth.
     
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