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New mistakes, but managed to recover

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:25 pm
by Steve Sawyer
Good news: I'm not making the same mistakes I made on my first build. Bad news: I'm coming up with new mistakes! :roll:

I had the body going pretty well. Made some nice wood control cavity covers and definitely at a point where I do NOT want to start over.
Body Goofs 0.JPG
I marked the center line based on the glue line between the upper and lower halves of the body blank, and proceeded to jig things up to rout the neck pocket, with a 1 1/2* slope, aligned with the centerline.
Body Goofs 1.JPG
Unfortunately, I should have double-checked the centerline against the "head" of the body. As you can see, the pocket was much too close to the cutaway. This wasn't too bad, I simply glued in a piece of scrap on one side of the neck mortise, re-drew the centerline correctly, and re-cut the mortise. The piece of scrap will be concealed by the fretboard, so it's all good.
Body Goofs 2.JPG
Body Goofs 3.JPG
Body Goofs 4.JPG

Re: New mistakes, but managed to recover

Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:35 pm
by Steve Sawyer
The next goof wasn't quite so easy. I'm really a measure-twice-cut-once kinda guy, but you can measure ten times and you're still going to be in trouble if the number you have in your head is the WRONG number!! :lol: :roll:

So, I ended up routing the bridge pup cavity 3/4" too far from the neck. No way could this remain like this, as it would have to displace the bridge location.
Body Goofs 5.JPG
After I had myself a good laugh at this one, I decided that the veneer is "busy" enough that if I plug part of the mis-routed cavity, the veneer wouldn't have to perfectly match, especially since it would be under the strings, between the pickup ring and bridge, and part of the seam would actually be covered by the bridge.

I carefully measured the depth of the cavity, and ran a piece of scrap through the planer until it was exactly 0.025" less than the depth of the cavity to allow for the veneer. I used the cavity routing template to mark out the plug on the scrap, and with some bandsawing, some filing with a mill-tooth file and some sanding, got a pretty good fit.
Body Goofs 6.JPG
Body Goofs 7.JPG
I glued some veneer onto the plug, and trimmed carefully so it fit as perfectly as I could get it, and glued the assembly into place, clamping with some wedges.
Body Goofs 8.JPG
After applying a coat of epoxy, I wouldn't say it's like it never happened, but I'll settle for this.
Body Goofs 9.JPG

Re: New mistakes, but managed to recover

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:06 am
by Chris Richards
These sort of errors are so easily done and after all half the secrets of being a luthier is being able to cover your mistakes! BUT I would suggest ALWAYS making a full size template with the neck pocket, pickup routs and bridge/tailpiece holes and whatever other cavities/holes cut into it and ALWAYS use this to do your routing, I dislike separate routing templates it's so easy to make errors and even tiny ones can compound to bigger errors.

It doesn't take long to make a good template and will ALWAYS save you time in the long run also it kind of prototypes the whole guitar, mistakes will still be made but hopefully less!

Re: New mistakes, but managed to recover

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:07 am
by Steve Sawyer
Good advice, Chris, but I did that on my last build and it got me into trouble. Doing a single template for the neck pocket and pup routs is good, and I'll probably do that on the next build. However the bridge I learned should be positioned relative to the neck. My last build was a Tele with the strings through-body. The high E ended up perilously close to the edge of the fretboard. I would have sold my soul to be able to shift the bridge (and through-holes and bridge pickup rout) up by a millimeter. I was able to get some correction wth the neck, but it was a fussy struggle. I play that guitar daily, so it wasn't a catastrophic issue, but it could have been!

Re: New mistakes, but managed to recover

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:15 pm
by Peter Wilcox
I made body templates when I started, copying existing designs and making several of each (Tele, Strat) and then when I designed my own guitars and basses, and made a number of each. It was faster to do it this way. Now I'm just doing one-offs, so I made pickup and neck pocket templates of different styles and clamp them or screw them in carefully measures positions. I never use tape any more after a couple of movement disasters. So far so good, but I'm sure there are screwups coming down the line.

Re: New mistakes, but managed to recover

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:48 pm
by Steve Sawyer
Peter - I was thinking the same. I have a bass planned for my next build, and will be designing it from "scratch", and was thinking that maybe some templates just for neck and pickup routs, each unique to a scale length might be a good idea.

Also, for re-usable templates I've found that facing both sides of a template made from 1/4" MDF with Formica makes it much more durable and less prone to getting dinged. Not sure if anyone else has tried this, but I made one template using that technique and it seems to work well.

Re: New mistakes, but managed to recover

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:21 pm
by Gordon Bellerose
I'm like Peter. I have body templates for all of the different shapes I have built.
As the pickup configuration is not always the same, having pickup pockets in the template doesn't always work.

I have single pickup templates now, and I am VERY aware when measuring for them.