DIY Guitar Building – Day 6 (part 2) – Shaping the body using a custom template

In today’s episode of DIY Guitar Building we’ve got the router out and we are shaping the outside edges of the body. By this point we have used the band saw to get as close as comfortably possible to the edge of the template so that the router has less work to do. To trim the body flush to the template we are using a flush cutting router bit, sometimes known as a straight trim bit. The length of the cutting blades on the bit we are using are one inch, and the diameter is one-half inch.

You’ll notice a technique (see video) that I discussed with Bob a little bit after we did this. First off, if you are looking down from the top of the router to the bit, the blades spin in a clockwise direction. You’ll see on spots of the body curves where he is cutting against the grain, as well as on the end grain, that he first goes backward for a little bit letting the blade roll in the same direction as he is moving the router. He then proceeds to go forward where the blade is cutting in the same direction that the router is moving.

This is so that we smooth the edge somewhat to prevent the router bit from getting caught in the wood and ripping out a big old chunk. That would be bad!! We are using Ash for the body wood of this guitar. For the Mahogany guitar that we are building, however, this ” chipping-out” as it’s called is less of a concern because the grain of mahogany is smaller. We can also cut at a slower speed while doing this for the mahogany guitar.

Also notice that we are not cutting the entire depth of the body right now because we are limited by the length of the cutting blades which are one inch and the body is one and a half inches thick, plus the template is 5/8” thick. So, we’re actually only cutting about ¾” to 7/8″ in depth. We will save the rest of the trimming for after we have routed out the pickup and control cavities, and we can remove the template. And that will be in a later episode, so please stay tuned.

Check out the Video below, and enjoy!
–Mike