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Andyjr1515

Finished Pics! Swift Lite 2

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Hi

Yes - another one. 

This one is a special commission but one where I can also continue developing the concept of a light and playable guitar that would particularly appeal to older players, young players, new players and women players! :)

It would be ungallant of me to suggest any more than two of the above categories would be ticked - new player and woman player - for this one to be built for my sister-in-law, Jane!

The basic construction and design concept will be the same as the prototype - my own Swift Lite:

_MG_4270.thumb.JPG.f319d792109427c25b011b3b073f6683.JPG

...which is perfect for my own use but will incorporate, if possible, some tweaks that a lead guitarist might appreciate:

  • the upper horn cutaway positioned to allow a thumb anchor when bending strings at the upper frets
  • the lower horn cutaway deepened, again for optimum upper fret access
  • the lower waist moved rearward for better positioning when playing over knee
  • longer upper horn.  The one above balances perfectly at just under 6lbs.  The new one will attempt to reach the design weight of 5 1/2 lb and so may need that extra length on the horn to compensate.

The other thing I've tried is to teach myself to use Inkscape, after seeing the great results and reading the comments from some of yourselves about the product :thumb:

And here's the Inkscape mock-up with the Amboyna I am intending to use:

5a849c9d3df4d_MockupSwiftLite211Feb2018.thumb.jpg.c035578a162fdf637d496431ec7f7765.jpg

 

Oh - and the other challenge, based on the fact I'm going to knock 1/2lb off the weight is that the back is going to be oak :wOOt

Yes - heavy, tool blunting, challenging to grainfill oak

There is a reason.  The house that Jane lived in all her life and her parents lived in all their married lives had a large oak shelf over one of the fireplaces.  When the house, many years later, was demolished, Jane and Chris, my brother-in-law, managed to salvage the shelf...which is now in my shed...

Although the above shows two humbuckers, I haven't fully decided the pickup configuration - might even go for a single P90...

Anyway - while there is still plenty of deciding to do - let's declare this project open :D

 

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I'm liking the evolution of your design on this one, Andy. That's so pointy by your standards, it's practically a BC Rich Warlock. Where does the quadruple-locking Floyd Rose, pyrotechnic launcher and spandex attach?

:thumb:

If oak is good enough for Brian May...

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I got round to having a look at the oak shelf and cut it into body-sized lengths:

_MG_4464.thumb.JPG.50d7c0eed41b450ccf3523b6259e9d6a.JPG

It's a bit cupped, so I ran it through the thicknesser first to take the hump off, and then reversed to take the wings off.  Once it was flat and straight, I thicknessed it down to the nominal 25mm starting point:

_MG_4468.thumb.JPG.c1d37f0fa62a7531622afdcd453302a0.JPG

 

It will be cut into two wings, either side of the neck and is presently around 30mm wider than needed - as such, I will take off the excess from the rhs in this shot, bringing the feature figuring pretty much into the middle.  While the neck will break that feature up - and the back will be scooped -  hopefully there will still be a continuity of figuring showing either side of the neck. 

For oak, it doesn't feel too heavy.  When I cut the excess off, I'll thickness a length of the offcut and compare the weight with a similar blank of the sapele.

The other good news is - do you remember I made a wrong cut on Tim's Alembicesque and had to re-make the neck?  Well - I've still got the original neck.  It's here:

_MG_4469.thumb.JPG.28582d0e1e43dd7be34f7144a6b219b4.JPG

It only couldn't be used because I'd already cut the top for Tim's.  And I haven't cut the top yet for Jane's :D.   So I can use it!  It even has the correct neck angle, etc, etc, already done :)

That'll save a bit of time

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Having been a shelf, I'm sure that the Oak has acclimated and done enough movement to settle down. White Oak is heavier than Ash....the body for the Tele I'm filming is abusively weighty!

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Soon time to draw the first blood and start cutting wood. 

I've sorted the join line of the amboyna and tweaked the shape a little - actually, this will probably be tweaked 0.5cm wider either side of the centre line and brought down a little steeper from the rear bout to the upper waist, but this is the kind of shape:
_MG_4473.thumb.JPG.604411836c854900847e4ff395393ee7.JPG

This evening I will glue the two halves together and tomorrow, cut out the shape.

Some of you will know that I use the fancy top as the routing template - absolutely not recommended by most builders so I don't encourage you to do likewise.

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I don't think that it's entirely a faulty approach though Andy. It's the equivalent of shaping a temporary template in thin stock before copying that to template stock. I do this with my 5mm acrylic templates, copying them into 15mm plywood. That is, until a router bearing seized on me this week and burnt my acrylic on a horn tip....grrr....

No, I think that like anything you can do it however you please as long as you have a grip on the implications of that choice. It isn't like you're going gung ho with your eyes and mind closed.

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15 hours ago, Prostheta said:

I don't think that it's entirely a faulty approach though Andy. It's the equivalent of shaping a temporary template in thin stock before copying that to template stock. I do this with my 5mm acrylic templates, copying them into 15mm plywood. That is, until a router bearing seized on me this week and burnt my acrylic on a horn tip....grrr....

No, I think that like anything you can do it however you please as long as you have a grip on the implications of that choice. It isn't like you're going gung ho with your eyes and mind closed.

Yes, I think you are right.  For me, it's a choice made based on the builds I tend to do, the woods I tend to use and a balance of risks and implications.

My reasoning goes something like this:

  • All of my builds are one offs so I never use a body template twice
  • The top woods are usually exotic woods, often burrs or otherwise highly figured, and are therefore often soft or brittle 
  • Using an external template, the implication of the router cutter hitting the top wood too hard or running 'downhill' and catching is losing a chunk of the critical and visible shape of the finished item.  And the risk is high.  
  • Using the top wood AS the template, the implication of a siezed bearing hitting the top wood is, at worst, a slight burn on an edge that can be sanded clean.  The risk is medium

Which reminds me - I must post a question about downhill routing...

 

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It all boils down to unsupported grain. Wood isn't an isotropic material (properties vary with direction) and weaknesses exist where fibres are not supported by their neighbours. At some point the tool pressure of the cutter hitting those areas will be enough to push the wood out of place rather than slicing through it. There are several solutions such as spiral cutters (expensive), climb cutting (almost like re-learning routing to do this safely) or strategising which areas to cut first to as not to leave excessive unsupported grain.

This might not be the information you're looking for, but it does illustrate one of the largest issues in routing. It's a physics thing at the end of it all. Wood will come apart at the point of least resistance. That is either along the grain or through the fibres, whichever has the least strength. Some woods are better than others....Maple is better than Wengé when routing unsupported grain for example.

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7 hours ago, Prostheta said:

It all boils down to unsupported grain. Wood isn't an isotropic material (properties vary with direction) and weaknesses exist where fibres are not supported by their neighbours. At some point the tool pressure of the cutter hitting those areas will be enough to push the wood out of place rather than slicing through it. There are several solutions such as spiral cutters (expensive), climb cutting (almost like re-learning routing to do this safely) or strategising which areas to cut first to as not to leave excessive unsupported grain.

This might not be the information you're looking for, but it does illustrate one of the largest issues in routing. It's a physics thing at the end of it all. Wood will come apart at the point of least resistance. That is either along the grain or through the fibres, whichever has the least strength. Some woods are better than others....Maple is better than Wengé when routing unsupported grain for example.

The problem is that I find the advice in various 'do's and don't's' for routing always a bit contradictory.

I now know - and even understand - the advice quoted in many manuals and articles that say always rout 'down the hill':  And the explantion above, @Prostheta is one of the clearest explanations I've ever read as to 'why' ;)

5a89ae75610e2_Routing1.jpg.271047055d37c3e2335e45ceeeada23c.jpg

 

But then - sometimes in the same 'do's and don't's' - the advice is to always travel into the rotational bite of the bit:

5a89ae767ecba_Routing2.jpg.421d7106d2e34827e493812d5c1348e2.jpg

 

So what do people do for the right-hand waist cut in the pic above? 

Do they:

  • go 'down the hill' traversing the router the wrong way ref the bit rotation
  • traverse the router the right way for the bit rotation but, therefore, 'up the hill'
  • flip the blank over and use a bottom bearing bit (but that would need to be a very long one on a 2" thick body)

It gets even more scary when you get to the horns.

Clearly, presumably, there has to end up being a compromise somewhere?   Personally, I go down the hill, traversing the router the wrong way for the bit rotation -  but I've never been sure what I should actually be doing.  And surely, this quandry is faced by every builder every time they rout every guitar body?

Of course, I know what's going to happen.  Someone's going to say, 'It's very clearly explained in the tips and techniques section of this forum, and, due to CE regs on the first page of every router manufacturer's instruction manual and on page 39 of the internationally-renowned guitar builders bible "How to Build a Guitar without Chopping the Ends of the Horns - or your Fingers - Off" by Bert 'three pints please' Scogley :rolleyes:       :lol:

 

Having at last got into my head how to sharpen chisels and cabinet scapers - and what an epiphany that was - this is the next deep-seated mystery in my long journey of discovery related to this most wonderful and terrible of hobbies :)

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Travelling with the direction of the cutter - or climb cutting - requires that the router is restrained so that the force of it "biting" and trying to drive forwards like a car wheel is less than your restraining force on the router itself. If the force goes the other way, the router will go where it wants to. Climb cutting is best done with shallow cuts, removing as little material as possible. Doing this one a router table or with an offset router base leverages the physics in your favour.

It is a puzzle every time you approach a workpiece. Sometimes you end up taking it for granted too much and get bitten, sometimes it is simply routine. It's difficult to describe, especially when there's a degree of feedback you get from how well the cutter it managing. If it starts to struggle a bit then choices start needing to be made.

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2 minutes ago, Prostheta said:

Travelling with the direction of the cutter - or climb cutting - requires that the router is restrained so that the force of it "biting" and trying to drive forwards like a car wheel is less than your restraining force on the router itself. If the force goes the other way, the router will go where it wants to. Climb cutting is best done with shallow cuts, removing as little material as possible. Doing this one a router table or with an offset router base leverages the physics in your favour.

It is a puzzle every time you approach a workpiece. Sometimes you end up taking it for granted too much and get bitten, sometimes it is simply routine. It's difficult to describe, especially when there's a degree of feedback you get from how well the cutter it managing. If it starts to struggle a bit then choices start needing to be made.

That is very helpful, @Prostheta    And I think the general 'must do' rule, whatever, is definitely the 'shallow cut' advice. 

My assumption, when using standard hand-held router setups, is that climb cutting is safer to the piece but riskier to the person and standard cutting is the other way round.  Is that a reasonable conclusion?

10 minutes ago, Prostheta said:

It is a puzzle every time you approach a workpiece. Sometimes you end up taking it for granted too much and get bitten, sometimes it is simply routine.

I suppose this is the crux of the matter.  The advice from the router suppliers' manuals tends to be a bit back covering - advising what you should always do even though that will not actually do the job.  It's a bit like a car owner's manual saying, 'Please remember that all driving carries a risk.  As such, we advise you never to start the engine or release the handbrake.'

I am always surprised there is not more discussion - in any of the forums I've been a member of - on this issue.  It is a bit of a quandry and router 'events' surely must be the most frequent causes of build problems.

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I've been sat thinking about this for a while, and to be honest I think its been so long since I router a perimeter using a hand router that I can't immediately suggest much. The one thing that springs to mind is the offset router base, which is more or less a physics trick. I push my router's bearing into the side of the template firmly, which is difficult to do with a base centred over the bit. It's a similar issue to cross cutting wood on a table saw, where you're simultaneously pushing one thing and pulling the other. An offset base allows one hand to direct the router and the other to keep it held against the template and workpiece. Making it into more of a two-handed job and giving you the advantage of better control over both parts of the action. Does this make sense?

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This is one of my offset bases. The baseplate of my Makita RT0701C's fixed base bolts onto this through the hole in the large end. The knob allows me to tension the router into the workpiece whilst I guide the wet end around the workpiece with more control. It keeps it perpendicular and depending on whether you place the knob in front or behind the cutting edge, you can vary the sort of control you have. Difficult to describe, because it's such a tactile thing. You know when you're in control.

IMG_9274.JPG

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Believe me, I've spent many more hours than the few minutes spent tonight trying to quantify just how I approach routing. On the table saw, I tend to rotate curved workpieces rather than move them in a line against a cutter. It works almost like gear reduction where the (sort of) fixed rotational point and guiding hand produce a smaller movement against the cutter. Speed being converted into torque, which produces more resistance against the bit trying to take control of the cut. It's super geeky stuff when you think about it.

You know. Geeky being, "don't lose fingers". :mellow:

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1 hour ago, Prostheta said:

This is one of my offset bases. The baseplate of my Makita RT0701C's fixed base bolts onto this through the hole in the large end. The knob allows me to tension the router into the workpiece whilst I guide the wet end around the workpiece with more control. It keeps it perpendicular and depending on whether you place the knob in front or behind the cutting edge, you can vary the sort of control you have. Difficult to describe, because it's such a tactile thing. You know when you're in control.

IMG_9274.JPG

I'd never really thought about that advantage of an offset base.  I have one for my little bosch router and, now I come to think about it, it is more controllable for the reasons you state...and yet it's not the base I would usually use for this job.  I will this time, though.  Great input and great info @Prostheta :) 

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Always welcome, Andy. Just don't try and get a feel for it on a valuable workpiece! No one routing setup is completely foolproof, and they each have their own learning curve.

One thing I can add, is not to climb cut end grain. Brrrrrr. :mellow:

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6 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

So what do people do for the right-hand waist cut in the pic above? 

Do they:

  • go 'down the hill' traversing the router the wrong way ref the bit rotation
  • traverse the router the right way for the bit rotation but, therefore, 'up the hill'
  • flip the blank over and use a bottom bearing bit (but that would need to be a very long one on a 2" thick body)

The latter for me, but I'm only making bodies no thicker than 44mm, usually less.

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8 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

So what do people do for the right-hand waist cut in the pic above? 

Leave it for the spindle / belt sander.

Especially if they are always one offs, as mine tend to be as well.:)

SR

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gtr is def a beauty, love the wood, but I can't help but be distracted by the router base... omg... whats up with them wires?  tell me you have batteries in that handle and led lights in that base that turn on when you are holding down the button?  if so... amaz balls.  if not... what the heck is that?  some sort of dooms day device no doubt.

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Definitely a doomsday device. No doubt about it. The LEDs are meant to light the work area, however it isn't as bright as I would like it to be! Currently it's an offset base covered in wires and hot snot. :thumb:

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Made a bit more progress on this.  First of all, got the wenge constructional veneer (2mm) on the back of the top:

_MG_4496.thumb.JPG.d30ab1a318229e142ca89f55469f363d.JPG

 

Then got the fretboard radiussing jig out for a second blooding:

IMG_3722.thumb.JPG.594ca049a9342ab284a3b2c6777e2edb.JPG

It's still not perfect even after a few tweaks but it does do the job and got me to this stage in an hour or so rather than a day or so! :

_MG_4498.thumb.JPG.966234c6ba9588185449142247ff9f4b.JPG

 

You can't see it in the shot below, but the fretboard's got some really nice birdseye in it that will pop out once the finish has been applied:

_MG_4503.thumb.JPG.b49618f110c8a8323aabc405fbfc872f.JPG

 

I'm sure I'll hit a brick wall soon, but at the moment this seems to be buzzing along nicely :)

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Brick walls are of no consequence unless you're running at one with your eyes closed. :thumb:
You've got patience and a good approach, so I think you're going well as always.

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Seemed to be in the cellar a long time today with the routers, band saw, scroll saw etc, etc with little to show for it!

Important stuff, though, getting things square and parallel ready for the addition of the two back wings. 

While I was there, I pushed my hobby bandsaw to its absolute limit to cut some offcut to use as a headstock plate:

_MG_4507.thumb.JPG.ae90db556caebb8700fe0231618a8ea4.JPG

Then ran it through the scroll saw ready to glue.  At the same time, I added the small wings for the headstock width:

_MG_4512.thumb.JPG.a797fee503c54ac3be8b138db0a9bf46.JPG

 

All being well, tomorrow should have me tackling the oak... :D

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Oak takes no prisoners. It splinters when you don't want it it, burns when you rout it too slowly or with a less-than-sharp bit and the dust needs keeping under control. White Oak and Beech. The most common yet most pernicious of wood dusts. ^_^

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6 minutes ago, Prostheta said:

Oak takes no prisoners. It splinters when you don't want it it, burns when you rout it too slowly or with a less-than-sharp bit and the dust needs keeping under control. White Oak and Beech. The most common yet most pernicious of wood dusts. ^_^

Yes, indeed.  If it wasn't for the connection with Jane's old house it's pretty much the last wood I would have used... :rolleyes:

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