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Question About Laminate Tops...


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Hello, I had a few question about laminate tops. I am a bit confused do you glue your laminate to your body blank first then cut and route or do you cut the body out first and then glue the laminate top on. I can't seem to find an answer to this question anywhere. Thanks

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There are different ways of doing it, personally, I would glue my top and back together first, that way when you start routing or whatever to shape the body, you don't have to do it twice, but you do have to be careful with some figured woods as they can tear out.

I would put the top on, route the body oversized, and hand sand to final dimensions to avoid tear out.

Edited by Firefox2551
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I always get my body cut and then routed with a template to shape. Then I take my roughly-cut top, glue that on, and use the body as a template to route the top to shape. Since I usually need to take many small passes anyway to route the whole thickness of the body to shape, it really doesn't make much of a difference.

I've avoided tear out by careful use of short cuts with the router in the reverse direction you usually feed things. I do this around the waist and anywhere you might be hitting end grain from the wrong direction. Have to be careful the thing doesn't get away from you. I always end doing some sanding/scraping the edge of the body, but I find if you're routing oversized, you'll get just as much tearout as routing to size, unless you're being careful/taking small passes. If you're being careful, might as well go all the way to the edge. And if you're routing oversized enough that any tearout isn't going to proceed into your planned lines, then I'd think you're leaving yourself a lot of wood to sand through, and in that case, I'd think to just cut a little deeper with saw and sand from there, forget breaking out the router entirely.

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Depends, really. On carved tops, I tend to do the body, then put the (pre-carved) top on afterwards, mostly because I chamber and carve the insides of my tops as well. It's also about even clamping pressure all-round; if you've got a smaller surface area to clamp, you can make sure it's down everywhere around the oh-so-critical edges (because, y'know, visible unless you're putting in binding).

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Typically, glue your laminate to your body first (after getting them both somewhat close/in-the-neighborhood to shape), then route to final shape.

Can be done other ways, but that's the 'typical' way, so it would be:

1. Cut both to rough shape (like, maybe an inch extra all around or so)

2. Glue laminate to body

3. Route with template to final shape.

4. Manually sand out any small imperfections, router tearout or nips until sides are perfectly smooth and sweet.

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Well, a lot of us use body templates to route to the final shape. I do.

A body template is a 'master' shape image of the body, usually made out of plywood or MDF that you double-side tape to the top of the body, then using a pattern cutting bit on your router, route the wood to it's final shape.

A bandsaw is good for getting 'close', but using a router with a template gets you damn near perfect dead-on acuracy.

You can either make your own templates (I do) or buy them online.

Look up a pattern cutting bit online, see how the bearing riding on top of the bit influences the cut of the router, and understand what it does, then you'll understand the 'magic'. :D:D

B):D

Additional note, I use templates for damn near everything. Neck pocket, pickups, bridge (for Floyd), etc., I use templates for everything, and I can do a guitar body from raw wood glueup to ready for finish in about 6 hours or so.

Nice. B)

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