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Reverend Buck Nekkid

Best tool for carving tops?

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Hello forum, I am a newbie and don't know **** from shinola about building a guitar but gonna try and I got a truckload of ignorant questions to ask..might as well start with the first one and that is what is the best way to carve a guitar top and the best tool(s) or technique to use. Thanks for your help guys and patience with a newbie.

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i've been using these hand planes and i haven't had to much trouble, but i haven't done any concave carves (gibson) yet either.. just convex (brian more, ibanez s series) ..

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Besides carving with hand planes, has anybody done any serious body shaping with sanders? I figure the big boys use cnc routers for shaping and there has got to be a poor boys way using sanders. maybe. I bought Melvin's book and he talks of spokeshaves and surforms for carving tops. Then I saw where some dude said in the forum spokeshaves and surforms werent worth a crap for guitar making..By the way, Melvins book aint what its cracked up to be..all that crap about inspiring u to use your own imagination..bull ****. That book is passed off as an instructional book..he glosses over a lot of stuff.

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the one i just recomended was an old version of the spokeshave... if you want to go the sanding rout, you'll need a disk sander (hand held grinder) with a couple of wood disks, but be carfull, those things work pretty fast... blink or sneez and back to the thickness planner you go. Unless you make a convex (bowed out) sanding block and slapped some 50 grit on there.. but that'd take sooooooo long.

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Besides carving with hand planes, has anybody done any serious body shaping with sanders? I figure the big boys use cnc routers for shaping and there has got to be a poor boys way using sanders. maybe.  I bought Melvin's book and he talks of spokeshaves and surforms for carving tops. Then I saw where some dude said in the forum spokeshaves and surforms werent worth a crap for guitar making..By the way, Melvins book aint what its cracked up to be..all that crap about inspiring u to use your own imagination..bull ****. That book is passed off as an instructional book..he glosses over a lot of stuff.

yeah there is not alot of specific info,but it is a good starting point.(the book)

hamer uses sanding discs to carve their tops.but like derek said you need a LIGHT touch and DO NOT let your concentration lapse.i would reccomend mucho practice on crap wood before hitting the maple

spokeshaves and sureforms work,but you have to know what your level of patience is when choosing a tool.

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Thanks krazyd. I've done some shaping with sanders on gunstocks in the past, just really wanted to hear that someone has done it in the forum on guitar body blanks. I figured with all the talent in this forum that somebody had figured out a way to devise a template or jig of some sort to use with a sander that would consistently sand down to a set line or depth and contour. And could be reused for the same body style/design. Sittin' on a stool, humped over a blank, carving for endless hours....got to be a better way. Krazyd...I think you are the man to come up with the tool to accomplish this. I am starting on my body next week, don't let me down.

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Yeah Wes, really it is a starting point. The first part of the book was informative. When he actually started building the guitars is when I got the "ripped off by the price" feeling. One thing about being an old fart is that over the years you learn patience. So if I had to , I could carve a top with bladed handtools. I just don't won't to. LOL. By the way , I saw the guitar you made... really nice my man. I would be proud of that sucker.

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Disc sander, working towards a rebate routered to the edge of the body.

One hours work:

Untitled-32.jpg

Two hours work, because i did it twice. I wanted a deeper carve, after i had finish sanded it all.

body-carved5.jpg

43 minutes work. I timed myself, which included setting up, cleaning up and packing everything away. It needs five minutes more work with a curved scraper blade, and MAYBE five minutes of finish sanding. I'll probably bind this body. I will use a file to carve the scallops on the horns.

2-9a.jpg

I once read a discussion on the MIMF forum, and a few people were agreeing that they enjoy the 8-10 hours it takes to carve a top using the "specialist" luthier planes. They seemed to think it was soothing, and relaxing. Each to their own i guess.

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umm...... :D lol i'm the man eh? :lol unless you own a CNC machine there really isn't any way to get the same carve over and over other then skill and the right tools. And i'm not really a pro and carving, i've only done one lol, I pretty much did the same thing as rhoads and he has it toulined on his site i beleive. so figure out how deep you want to carve, then rout around the eges of the guitar a little shy of that depth (1/32), (your routing kinda like for binding, don't stray from the edge of the guitar) Now draw your outline in the middle of the body, then use your sander or a sanding disk to connect what you just routed with the line you just drew, using a disk becarefull you have to hold it at the right angle to the wood or you'll get like grooves as you move forward (ie practice on a big peice of scrap) if you're going to use a palm sander.... umm first of all good luck around the horns, but they might be good for areas like behind and to the sides of the bridge... Since they weren't really made to cut away material as fast as a disk..... you might need some 60 grit paper on there to start otherwise a carver would be faster and easier on your hands..... mmmm breakfast time

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Yeah Wes, really it is a starting point. The first part of the book was informative. When he actually started building the guitars is when I got the "ripped off by the price" feeling. One thing about being an old fart is that over the years you learn patience. So if I had to , I could carve a top with bladed handtools. I just don't won't to. LOL. By the way , I saw the guitar you made... really nice my man. I would be proud of that sucker.

thank you i do like it.but it was a fairly simple desighn.ion my next projects they will be more complex with inlays and such.and i don't think i will tung oil again.

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Hey, Frenzy....speaking of Driskill....Joe Driskill is undoubtedly the king of finishers. I have not seen anybody beat him at finishing a guitar. They are immaculate. When one thinks he is the big man at finishes, one needs to go check out Driskill's guitars. Humbling. The deepest finishes I have ever seen. Back to sanding the body contours....I have it figured out how to carve the lines with a sander without relying on a steady hand. Freehanding can get me into trouble. Got to get to a machine shop. If Hamer is doing it with a sander, then my idea has to be on the same principal. I know they aren't paying some tech to hand sand each blank..it's automated.

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Hey, Frenzy....speaking of Driskill....Joe Driskill is undoubtedly the king of finishers. I have not seen anybody beat him at finishing a guitar. They are immaculate. When one thinks he is the big man at finishes, one needs to go check out Driskill's guitars. Humbling. The deepest finishes I have ever seen. Back to sanding the body contours....I have it figured out how to carve the lines with a sander without relying on a steady hand. Freehanding can get me into trouble. Got to get to a machine shop. If Hamer is doing it with a sander, then my idea has to be on the same principal. I know they aren't paying some tech to hand sand each blank..it's automated.

in point of fact they are paying a luthier to do it.these are the u.s.a. customs not the mass produced guitars.

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watch the hammer video tour, there is actually luthier that holds the disk sander and carves each usa guitar by eye...

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again.... disk sander, much different then a palm sander

056e9af0.jpg

tourhamu.jpgtourhamv.jpg

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Good pics man, first time I've even seen people carving guitars other than surform, spokeshave, or drawknifes. I've seen the picture of the guy doing it with a router but not sure I'd even want to do it that way.

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yeah those are the pics of hamer's custom shop if i am not mistaken.when i first saw them i got excited as i use a 4 1/2 inch grinder on a daily basis for my job

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