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Some Questions In Building Carved Tops

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Hi there, I am new to this forum and I will soon begin to build my guitar - not my first one, but the first one to mention (did only build from kits before) :D

So I've got my plans and templates in CAD, I could get great pieces of wood and everything was ok since I discovered some problems:

I want to build a modified soloist/powerstrat - SG clone with carved top and I've got some amazingly deep-flamed maple. But I have neither a vacuum press nor special tools to make the maple flexible, does this work without special tools ? Does anyone have experience in building carved tops this way ?

Is it usual to attach the flametop first and then carve it ? (I'm afraid of this because the maple is about 1.2 cm deep and I would not like to meet the mahogany again...)

Thanks for your interest,


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