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Good Carved Top Plane Sizes? Building Planes?

j. pierce

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I'm looking to pick up an IBEX type, small curved sole plane for general carved top work (something les-paul-ish) - working with spokesaves and scrapers is going well, really I just want an excuse to buy something new, shiny, and cool - but I've no idea what type to start out with.

What's a good size for general guitar top carving? I've been thinking a smaller one might be nice because I've also been trying my hand a mosrite-style german carve (I believe that's the name for it - the very tight curve where it almost looks like a smaller body raising from the surface of the blank) and while I get most of the way there with a router, it needs some tweaking to get the slightly-assymetrical look of those guitars. (My next plan is a non-bearing cove bit [does such a thing exist?] and a bushing with a modified template) But that's just experimenting at this stage, and I'd rather have something good for a more standard LP type carve.

Also, ever since seeing setch's avatar and site, I've become slightly obsessed with the idea of making my own plane. Anyone know where to go to get info on such an endeavor? Been trying to find a book or something with little luck.

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Non-bearing cove bits...will this do:


Anyway, I have an ibex plane (the biggest of the fingerplanes, I believe. 26mm? Something like that.), and I've used it for fine-tuning tops, and even carving entire electric tops, and it does work. But...it's blister-creating work. And anything smaller would be close to useless for something the size of an electric guitar.

The best tool for a Les-Paul type carve is....an Angle Grinder with a (flap) sanding disk. Tada!

I've done 3 plates, in and out, with little more than a router for the initial perimeter, gouges, chisels, and the Ibex, and I'm never, ever going back to that alone. I still use the Ibex for some finer detail carving, when the whole thing's almost there already. I don't regret buying it, since it does get some use in electrics, I also use it to carve braces on acoustics, and it's just a very pretty, well-made tool, but I can quite easily build a carved top with pretty sharp lines without one.

As for plane making, here's the link:


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The link matia posted is what I used to make my carving planes.

The plane I use for carving tops has a 10mm ibex blade, and is capable of removing material pretty quickly. I use it a lot in the recurve area of the carve, and around the binding. I also use it in other areas, such as the headstock blend and to flush shape the cutaway on a Les Paul, When I finally get started on acoustic building I think it'll be a champ for brace shaping.

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