Thursday, 27 June 2013

Baritone Guitar Build Part 4 - The body slab and imbuya cap

The main slab of the body is African mahogany with a book matched imbuya cap. Bill Quinn over at ToneTech Luthier Supplies showed me a nice piece of South American imbuya that he'd had resawn to book match it. I pondered over it for 30 seconds and just had to have it.
The imbuya boards on my
kitchen countertop
Drilling the pickup cavities
The next thing I did after hand planing the mahogany board flat was print out my plan full size and glue it onto a piece of hardboard (masonite). Then I cut it out on the bandsaw using a spokeshave and sandpaper to blend in the curves.

I then attached the template to the mahogany with some double sided tape. I opted to drill out rough voids where the pickups were intended to go with a forstner bit. I also routed out slots where the wiring would go.

One of the latest trends in relieving weight of solid guitar bodies is by constructing chambers in the wood underneath the cap. This is because a lot of guitarists were getting shoulder pain due to the strap digging in. Some guitars can weigh around 10 pounds or more. Imagine that on your shoulder for 2 hours during a gig.

On this guitar there was a requirement for a battery compartment as well as a control compartment.
I decided to use a larger forstner bit to rough out both cavities at this stage too. This would aid in weight reduction of this considerable slab.
Drilling the battery chamber

Roughing out the control chamber
The pickups chambers have been roughed out
and the cable channels completed.

Slab roughing out complete

After all the roughing out was completed I traced around the template with a pencil.

Do you think I may have overdone the clamps?

The next thing to do was to run the imbuya through the planer and joint the edges. I then glued it to the slab with a little Titebond 1 yellow glue.

Bandsawing the profile

When the glue was dry I bandsawed the profile leaving to about 2mm (1/16") from the pencil line.

As the completed glue up was still wider than my planer I then had to use a combination of jack plane and jointer plane on the back side to take it down in thickness.

Using hand tools!

I then marked out the front of the body with the salient points of where I needed to rout. I have not cut out the upper horn yet so I have some support for the router in the next few operations.

Roughed out body with salient points
marked on in pencil.

Next time I rout the neck pocket using a simple shop made neck routing jig and rout the body profile

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