Grain-matched control cavity covers

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Grain-matched control cavity covers

Postby Steve Sawyer » Mon May 14, 2018 11:57 am

I've admired the guitars with control-cavity covers that are cut from the back of the body blank so the grain matches the back of the body (usually secured with rare-earth magnets).

Since I'm working on a chambered body, with both the front and back being "caps" on the center portion to be band-sawed for the chambering, I'm wondering if I could give this a shot.

It would seem that I could simply use a very fine blade in my scroll saw to cut these out of the back cap. The question would be then, what is a good technique for providing a "ledge" on which these covers will rest? I can think of a number of methods (some of them pretty janky! :) ) but so many have done this, I'm sure there are some tried-and-true methods. I did a search for this, but didn't seem to get any useful hits.

Would appreciate any pointers to threads, videos or other resources to help me figure this out.

Thanks!
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Re: Grain-matched control cavity covers

Postby Freeman Keller » Mon May 14, 2018 4:24 pm

Since my solid body and chambered electrics are all built out of wood that doesn't have strong grain (ie mahogany) I just use another piece of mahogany to make my covers.

Image

Image

And with a totally hollow body you certainly could glue a piece of wood inside to support the covers (and their screws or magnets) I just route the cavity to leave a lip.

Image

If I ever have a totally beautiful piece of wood that I want to perfectly match the grain I'll probably take it to a friend with a CNC laser to cut the pieces out
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Re: Grain-matched control cavity covers

Postby Christ Kacoyannakis » Mon May 14, 2018 6:05 pm

When I bought my mahogany body blanks, I asked the seller to sell me slightly thicker blanks, and then he cut a slice off the back. Since this is pretty straight grained mahogany, the grain on the thin slice should match pretty well. I think you technique should work well too. By the time you put finish on the back and the covers, there should not be much of a gap at all.
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Re: Grain-matched control cavity covers

Postby David King » Tue May 15, 2018 1:06 pm

I take a slice off the back for my covers but I've also done the cutouts with a 1/16" end mill in the router and then bound the edge with a contrasting veneer to make up the kerf.
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Re: Grain-matched control cavity covers

Postby Steve Sawyer » Wed May 16, 2018 3:09 pm

Thanks, folks.

Freeman - I may just back off and use your technique. I should have some nice scrap from cutting the chambering that should match the back well enough, and I've already COMPLETELY violated my KISS intentions when I started this build, so maybe I should think about doing the grain-matched covers on a future build, particularly if I use some heavily-figured stock. This is ribbon-stripe sapele that I'm using, so it should look fine, even if the grain doesn't match exactly.
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Re: Grain-matched control cavity covers

Postby Randolph Rhett » Thu May 17, 2018 9:40 pm

Slicing a piece off the blank before you build is the only sure fire way to get a tight fitting grain matched cover. Even with a scroll saw, the kerf will probably be bigger than you are looking for. I don’t have a picture, but I’ve used a cutoff of the top rather than try to match the back wood. Of course, you are sandwiching two drop tops, so that wouldn’t work for you.
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