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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:53 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 7:14 pm
Posts: 9
Hello again.....how do you guys achieve the awesome contouring on the bodies of the Paul
Reed Smith type guitars??? I've heard that some use a radi-plane to remove bulk. I wonder what kind of router bits might help out......is it just lots and lots of sanding??? Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Roger.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 7:08 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2005 6:25 pm
Posts: 2743
Location: Netherlands
Check books on archtop guitar construction for 'traditional' methods.

I do mine the following way:
1) Router bit (cove/bowl+tray bit, preferably) to make in initial rough 'index' ledge around the edges, set the depth.
2) Remove bulk of material with an angle grinder with a flap sanding disk
3) Refine with a combination of a Random Orbit Sander, the largest Ibex fingerplane, a gouge, and a variety of scrapers (curved, straight, french curve) to get the details and the recurve 'right'.
4) Finish off with an ROS/minor hand sanding.

The initial carve, with an angle grinder, is done within about half an hour, tops. It works fast, but allows pretty darn good control. Doublecuts in particular 'need' more work with hand tools if - like me - you want to really control the flow of various 'lines'. Overall, it can easily be done in half an afternoon, although in real life it always seems to take longer, as each top I do is unique. I don't build to specific plans, just sort of carve until it looks right.

One additional step I usually do after the ledge around the edge is plane a primary angle into the top (or jig up a router), from a high point at the bridge to the neck joint area, so the thickness where the body meets the neck isn't the 3/4"+ I usually use for a carved top (5/8" is sufficient, but I like slightly deeper carves).


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 1:14 pm 
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Koa
Koa
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Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:42 am
Posts: 564
Location: United States
First name: Stephen
Last Name: Ziegenfuss
City: Jackson
State: MI
Zip/Postal Code: 49203
Country: USA
Focus: Build
Status: Semi-pro
When I am shaping a guitar - I use these tools in this order

router - to cut a channel about 1/16" wide, and however deep the carve is going to be...it marks the "binding" line - the line to which I will carve the body
drill - with 40 grit 5" disc sanding attachment...this lets me remove the greater amount of the material that I want to get rid of
orbital sander - progressive grits up from 60...lets me clean up the prior step and address areas that need a more tender finesse
scraper - using this, chalk, and the orbital again, I can assure that I have clean contours in the tougher areas like the waist...

You should be able to see the successive steps in the pictures...(you will have to look closely to see the routing lip though)

Stephen


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:39 am 
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Koa
Koa
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Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 1018
Location: Denver, Colorado
I do things a lot like Mattia, and start out like Stephen.

I start by routing a reference point to carve down to, using the router table and a rabbet bit that you use for cutting binding channels. I rout the binding channel too at this time, if the guitar is going to have binding.

Then I rough out the shape with an angle grinder and 60-80 grit sanding disk.

Then use palm plane and finger planes, sometimes a carving gouge for cutaway area, and french curve scraper. I loves to use me that scraper.

Then hand sand with a fairly dense foam block, 80 grit through 220.

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Mike

"The Dude abides. I don't know about you but I take comfort in that. It's good knowin' he's out there. The Dude. Takin' 'er easy for all us sinners. Shoosh." The Stranger


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:09 am 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 7:14 pm
Posts: 9
Thank you all so much! Your info is really helping me to visualize the entire process.
Thanks again, Roger.


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