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Rounding Edges *and* Veneer?

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I have an Ibanez 550 that I want to experiment with. I never was comfortable with the sharp edges, and much prefer the rounded curves of my Strat. I am going to sand down the edges to make it more curvey. I am also thinking about putting a flame maple veneer on it. I am wondering how well this will work. Should I round out the edges first, then veener, or apply the veneer, and sand them together? I figure if the edge looks funky, I might just do a burst around the edges.


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I would glue on the veneer before shaping the edges assuming I'm dealing with a flat top and am not going to cut the traditional strat body contours. Sticking wooden veneer onto an irregular suface would require cuttng the contours on the body and then shaping the veneer, maybe by steaming, and glueing to the body afterwards. Pretty tough job to get perfect ,IMO. :D

But if the idea is to go with a straight radius all around the guitar I would do all of the initial veneer edge shaping with a router using a flush trim bit w/ bearing to match the body shape and then a 3/8" roundover bit to make the edge radius. The average edge radius on a strat is a slightly flattened 3/8". So I would cut the veneer slightly larger than the guitar, glue and clamp it on and then cut it flush to the body edge using the flush trim bit w/ shaft bearing. Then cut the radius with the 3/8" roundover bit. It can be sanded down by hand but you have to be very careful to make sure the glue line closely parallels the outer edge of the body. LOTS of room for error.

Thickness of the veneer will determine where the glue line will lie on the radius. The thicker the veneer the closer to the outer edge of the guitar. A 1/16" thick veneer should result in the glue line being about 3/16" inside the body edge after routing a 3/8" radius. A 1/8" thick veneer will place the glue line 1/8" inside the body edge and very close to the center of the 3/8" radius curve. So long as the veneer is well fitted, glued and clamped your glue line should be uniform with the edge of the guitar without any serious gaps. Otherwise its burst time. :D

Edited by Southpa
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