Hey guys! Newb question here on making blanks here

EvanCMemph

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Hey guys - I am just starting out and I am just trying to get the info on what I need to make 1.75" thick guitars with 1.5" body wood and 0.25" tops. I figured that I would need a bandsaw, planer, glue and clamps at the very least (and sandpaper). What am I missing?

Also - any resources on the build process I should read would be great.
 

oldunc

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A router would be fairly essential for shaping pieces and trimming the cap, unless you want to go hardcore with handtools. Also pretty necessary for body cavities. You'll really want a bench scraper as well as assorted chisels, a good block plane. As you go along you'll find all sorts of opportunities to spend money, especially if you get into necks and fretting.
 

guitarbuilder

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Different methods require different tools. You can joint and plane a body blank and thickness it down to 1.5" thick. A top can be jointed and planed to .25. If you are doing weight reduction or a thinline, you can remove that material with a drill press and clean it up with a router and template before gluing the top on. Once the top is on, you can


A. Pattern Rout all the routs with a template bit and template, or B. Cut and sand the perimeter to the line. Template routing a perimeter without a spiral router bit can result in tear out which you then have to deal with. If you read any of the build threads here..you'll see the benefits of cutting and sanding to the line.

B. Use a template and router or as I often do, print out a pattern and glue it on, and use hand tools to make the cavities. The nice thing about teles and the parts that are bolted on is that the cavities are hidden with the exception of the edges of the neck. See if this helps.




Some guys love a tablesaw. I only use a table saw every few years to help resaw lumber. My bandsaw has a height attachment and long rip fence rails, so it is my sawing work horse. A spindle sander and belt sander are really handy, as is a 14" drill press. The famous Ridgid Random orbit Belt sander combo is popular here with some. I find it only OK, as the belt is short. It's OK though and better than nothing.

Cnc Routers are the way to go these days and you should consider checking out one for guitar work.

Clamp wise, I like to use C clamps, bar clamps, and handheld squeeze clamps. Harbor Freight isn't a bad source for clamps. You will want an accurate measuring device. 6" minimum divided into at least 1/32". Machinist's rule or similar. Good pencils that don't break when you look at them are good too. Quality cedar. My goto pencil is the Ticonderoga black #2.


If you want to get into necks, I prefer a wide rasp and files. Here's one of my neck threads.


 
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Freeman Keller

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Hey guys - I am just starting out and I am just trying to get the info on what I need to make 1.75" thick guitars with 1.5" body wood and 0.25" tops. I figured that I would need a bandsaw, planer, glue and clamps at the very least (and sandpaper). What am I missing?

Also - any resources on the build process I should read would be great.

You can do everything with hand tools and you should at least become proficient at their use - I reach for a plane or chisel all the time. However to build a solid or chambered electric guitar I recommend:

Melvyn Hiscock's book, he talks about everything you need to know

A good small router and some pattern follower bits. A so called "laminate trimmer" is adequate

A small band saw makes the cutting much easier.

A small drill press makes drilling more accurate. Get one that will reach to the thru body string ferrules. Mine doesn't and I have to come up with a different way to drill those.

Optional but really handy is a belt sander. Almost everything that I cut on the band saw I touch up on the sander

Optional but really handy is a router table. It makes one operation, routing the truss rod channel, simple but it has a whole lot of other uses.

Other than that, there a bunch of specialize lutherie tools you will need. Nut and fret files, measuring tools of various kinds. You can never have enough clamps of all sizes and shapes.

Finishing opens a whole can of worms. We each develop our own methods depending on the results we want.

Did I mention Hiscock's book?

You asked about resources, I'll shamelessly point you to one of my build threads. You can see how someone with a very small shop and very limited power tools does it

 

EvanCMemph

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A router would be fairly essential for shaping pieces and trimming the cap, unless you want to go hardcore with handtools. Also pretty necessary for body cavities. You'll really want a bench scraper as well as assorted chisels, a good block plane. As you go along you'll find all sorts of opportunities to spend money, especially if you get into necks and fretting.
I will actually be using a CNC machine once I have the blanks! I just need to get the blanks together!
 

oldunc

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Different methods require different tools. You can joint and plane a body blank and thickness it down to 1.5" thick. A top can be jointed and planed to .25. If you are doing weight reduction or a thinline, you can remove that material with a drill press and clean it up with a router and template before gluing the top on. Once the top is on, you can


A. Pattern Rout all the routs with a template bit and template, or B. Cut and sand the perimeter to the line. Template routing a perimeter without a spiral router bit can result in tear out which you then have to deal with. If you read any of the build threads here..you'll see the benefits of cutting and sanding to the line.
I'd like to double up on the spiral cut router bits; infinitely better than straight cuts for pattern routing. They come in upcut and downcut versions; you'll generally want downcut for this sort of work. They're expensive (at least the carbide ones) as they're solid carbide rather than a chip.
If you're making your own templates (which you probably are for anything other than Telecaster copies) you can also use guide bushings, a collar that surrounds and guides the bit. These offset the cut slightly, so templates have to be adjusted accordingly; this property can sometimes be useful for making slightly larger or smaller copies, and they free you from having to adjust the depth to suit a fixed bearing.
 

tomasz

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If you are totally new to this and have no woodworking experience, I would recommend to start simple and see if you like it in the first place. For making blanks this is what I would use:
- Jack plane, or a nr. 5
- sharpening stones
- regular hand saw with good diamond teeths
- a good square
- a calliper or just a ruler
- card scraper, a file and a honing rod
- clamps, lots of clamps

You can get planes pretty cheap second hand and learn how to take care of them, set them up, how to prepare stock and joint it, prep thick or thin stock, glue it up.

If you want to move further, Id add:
- a drill with wood bits and fostener bits
- a small hand router or laminate laminate trimmer
- you will need 2-3 router bits
- a saw for cutting out curves
- rasps and files - or a shinto rasp

It is still easy to change a hobby at this point without having invested too much. After 2-3 build you would now if you like it enough to continue and put real money on the table. The tools you already have at this point, will still be useful. That would be what I would do :)
 

Freeman Keller

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I will actually be using a CNC machine once I have the blanks! I just need to get the blanks together!

I miss understood your original post so you can rub out everything I just said. These are the operations that need to be done to your body blanks

- plane or thickness sand to the working thickness. Hand plane, power plane or wide belt or drum sander

- joint the two halve of body and top. Hand plane or jointer

- glue pieces together. Glue and clamps.

If you are only going to do a few have a cabinet shop or your wood supplier do the power planing and jointing for you. Or learn to use hand planes.

I build a lot of guitars but don't own a jointer or wide belt sander. A friend who has a cabinet shop does, I take him a nice bottle of wine and my blanks and bingo.
 

old wrench

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First on my list would be a router and a drill press :)

Those two tools get the most use on my guitar builds

For the first few guitars I built, my bandsaw was broken-down, so I used a jig saw to cut out the profiles - but after repairing my band saw, the job certainly got much easier ;).

I still don't have a planer, but I rigged up a nice router/planer jig that uses a router and does much the same job as a thickness planer does.

A table saw is handy, but you can do very accurate cross-cutting and ripping work with a decent skil-saw and a good straight saw guide.

If you are handy at fixing stuff and don't mind used equipment, you can find some great deals on used equipment from places like Craigs List - especially if you are patient and have time to look - I'd much rather buy a good quality piece of used equipment than spend an equal amount on a not-so-good piece of new equipment.

The bottom line is that it doesn't take a big pile of money and a shop full of expensive equipment to get into guitar building - if you have the "want to" and a few basic tools, it's enough to get started :)

.
 

EvanCMemph

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I miss understood your original post so you can rub out everything I just said. These are the operations that need to be done to your body blanks

- plane or thickness sand to the working thickness. Hand plane, power plane or wide belt or drum sander

- joint the two halve of body and top. Hand plane or jointer

- glue pieces together. Glue and clamps.

If you are only going to do a few have a cabinet shop or your wood supplier do the power planing and jointing for you. Or learn to use hand planes.

I build a lot of guitars but don't own a jointer or wide belt sander. A friend who has a cabinet shop does, I take him a nice bottle of wine and my blanks and bingo.
This was a really helpful post. So, if I had a budget of say, $2000, and a shorter timeline, in order to do all these thigns on my own in a timely fashion what would you narrow it down to?

I will need to resaw some wood, so a good bandsaw, I assume.
For planing, what is the most effective route.
Then clamps and glue?
 

Freeman Keller

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As I said, I don't do any of that. I don't own a planer or jointer, my little bandsaw is way too small for resawing big pieces of wood. I am very happy to pay someone to do this for me. If I was going into some sort of production situation I would research very carefully every step of the operation.

Have you built a guitar yet? Have you really researched small shop and hobby cnc's? I'll be honest, a budget of 2 grand isn't going to go very far.
 

EvanCMemph

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As I said, I don't do any of that. I don't own a planer or jointer, my little bandsaw is way too small for resawing big pieces of wood. I am very happy to pay someone to do this for me. If I was going into some sort of production situation I would research very carefully every step of the operation.

Have you built a guitar yet? Have you really researched small shop and hobby cnc's? I'll be honest, a budget of 2 grand isn't going to go very far.
Sorry for the confusion. I am working with someone that already has the CNC. I am literally just trying to put together the blanks to take and run through the CNC.
 

Freeman Keller

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We have a number of people here with hobby or small shop cnc's. Maybe one of them will chime in on what they use. Maybe the person that owns the one you will use can tell you what they require. Shaping the body, however you do it, is just one small part of building a guitar.
 

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I cnc some of my guitars and necks. I have 3 cncs and really only use an xcarve at the moment. My most used tools over 40 years of building guitars and 15 of those cncing parts are a 14" bandsaw, A 6" jointer, A 13" planer, a 14" drill Press, and edge sander. A Thickness sander is a luxury item that I can't seem to do without either.

But I generally build from scratch. Some here do not. I'd see what I could find used on FB marketplace and Craigslist. I see lots of stuff on there. I don't know any woodworkers and live 30-45 minutes from a place that could do it. Owning the tools makes things a lot easier, but my list is for general woodworking too if you look at it that way.

If all I had to do was make guitars with my cnc, I'd probably narrow it down to a bandsaw, belt sander, maybe a smaller drill press, the jointer, and sanders. The cnc could do the planing and some of the drilling if planned out properly.

You can buy blanks all prepped on ebay and elsewhere too, which eliminates some of the machines for bodies. Maybe the smartest thing would be to do that and make some bodies and necks before you buy more machines and see how you like it? I love to build stuff and it's been a lifelong hobby building instruments. I wasted a lot more money on other things as a young man.
 
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Freeman Keller

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I would listen to Marty if you want to build guitars. Many of the wood suppliers will do some work for you. For example here at LMII they will glue the two pieces of swamp ash together and face it to 1-3/4


For another fifteen bucks the will sand it to 1-1/2, 1-1/4, 1 inch.

Same thing for drop tops, they will thickness and join for you


That can be pretty attractive compared to buying all the machinery, shop setup, dust collection and so on. But if you want to do it all and/or you want to go into production then you need to make the commitment.
 

EvanCMemph

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I cnc some of my guitars and necks. I have 3 cncs and really only use an xcarve at the moment. My most used tools over 40 years of building guitars and 15 of those cncing parts are a 14" bandsaw, A 6" jointer, A 13" planer, a 14" drill Press, and edge sander. A Thickness sander is a luxury item that I can't seem to do without either.

But I generally build from scratch. Some here do not. I'd see what I could find used on FB marketplace and Craigslist. I see lots of stuff on there. I don't know any woodworkers and live 30-45 minutes from a place that could do it. Owning the tools makes things a lot easier, but my list is for general woodworking too if you look at it that way.

If all I had to do was make guitars with my cnc, I'd probably narrow it down to a bandsaw, belt sander, maybe a smaller drill press, the jointer, and sanders. The cnc could do the planing and some of the drilling if planned out properly.

You can buy blanks all prepped on ebay and elsewhere too, which eliminates some of the machines for bodies. Maybe the smartest thing would be to do that and make some bodies and necks before you buy more machines and see how you like it? I love to build stuff and it's been a lifelong hobby building instruments. I wasted a lot more money on other things as a young man.
This is exactly what I needed and the other thread you showed as well! Thank you!
 

Freeman Keller

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Evan, I don't know if you are still following this, but in the latest issue of American Lutherie there are two reviews of the SuperMax 16-32 drum sander for use in the small shop environment. That seems to be a highly rated machine and would be the one I would want for my shop. It handles 16 inch wide boards from 3 inch down to around 3/32 (there is some discussion), that should cover any solid body, top or neck blank you will be working with. It seems to run around $1600 new. Add a small jointer and a shop vac for dust control (or hook it up the the cnc dust collector) and you would have all you need to prepare body and neck blancks.

The cnc can do many of the functions of other machines - routing, shape cutting and drilling - however I think most small shops would want the other tools that Marty lists. However if all you want to do is prepare two piece blanks for the mill that should do it.
 




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