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Vertical Routing Jig


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Hi guys,

I was wondering if there is a simple way to make the distance between the wood blank and your routing template adjustable without losing any accuracy.

I am not talking about putting shims between the template and the blank - this bears the risk of accidentally displacing the template and messing up the cavities.

Are there any jigs or devices that you like to use for this job?

Share your methods, please.

Thanks!

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I am using common router bits that would cut too "deep". Not very suitable for the routing cavities on a guitar.

In other words their cutting edge is too long. The template is quite thin too, so it doesn't help at all.

I saw several tutorials on Ste Mac's site but they all suggested that one should put shims between the template and the plank. I can't do that and be sure that everything would be fine. :D

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Well that's just the two options I would tend to accommodate.

Mind you there's nothing at all stopping you from trying the shim method, but

you've obviously thought about the possible repercussions, and they're not all that positive !! :D

That's all I've got for you I'm afraid

I doubt thickening up your router base to suit will help at all either.

good luck :D

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Go and get yourself some thicker material, use the template you have to transfer it in to the new material and just think of it as good practice handeling a router. Shims in this case are NOT a good idea, as you have said if they slip, your buggerd. even though you will have it clamped down well things can slip from time to time. Yeh, if you get some 3/4" material you should be able to work with that.

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You can always do 'sacrificial' template raising things; screw an extra piece of ply/MDF/whatever, large enough to support the entire router, to your template (watch out for screw length!!), cut a bit undersize compared to the actual template, use a flush trim bit (bottom bearing) to copy the template, and voila, thicker template.

Honestly, just consider either making the templates thicker to start with, or buying the shorter template bits from StewMac or off another website (say, routerbits.com, which has template bits down to a cutting length of 1/8" or 1/4", and it's hard to beat Whiteside's quality)

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From the acrylic experience if you shim or use multiple templates I recommend larger templates and double sided duct tape (outdoor carpet tape) instead of clamps. They will not move! There may be a bit of residue to clean up afte but it holds routing temps strongly.

R-

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My template bit is way too long...got to get a smaller one one of these days...in the meantime, I do what they others say--I make a thicker template.

Make sure you place your center line on the template before routing that.

I usually make the template large enough to be clamped down --I use double-sided tape too, but I prefer not to trust it.

The larger template also allows me to drill holes along the center line--that way I can sight through those to match up the template line with the center line on the body.

So far, that's worked for me just fine.

It'd be much easier having a shorter bit.

I can't see how you can use a template without a template bit though --pretty risky, if you ask me. Do you at least have a guide collar?

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I can't see how you can use a template without a template bit though --pretty risky, if you ask me. Do you at least have a guide collar?

If your template's 3/4" ply (not MDF, or thinner stock) of good quality (ie, birch. Not weird luan plywood), you can run a 1/4" bit with a 1/4" shank in it just fine. The only problem: it'll wear out the template faster. But it's perfectly fine for the first couple uses. I much prefer it to collars, which I find completely useless due to the fact they're pretty much never centered on the collet.

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If your template's 3/4" ply (not MDF, or thinner stock) of good quality (ie, birch. Not weird luan plywood), you can run a 1/4" bit with a 1/4" shank in it just fine. The only problem: it'll wear out the template faster. But it's perfectly fine for the first couple uses. I much prefer it to collars, which I find completely useless due to the fact they're pretty much never centered on the collet.

So you're using the shank essentially as the bearing on a bearing bit, right? I've never tried that one before--do you think it would work with pine? (got plenty of scraps of that lying around)

I use the guide collar only for rough shaping or for places where exactness isn't critical (like routing chambers). I switch to bearing bits for the last millimeter or so. Lately though I'm getting a little better at handling the router so I don't need the collar as much.

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Thanks for the replies, guys.

So, it seems that there is no need of a special jig to move the template vertically. All I have to do is make a thicker template.

Cool, I will try that.

The bits that came with my router do not have bearings (actually 6 out of 12 bits do have bearings but they are not suitable for guitar work)

I bought a bearing for the 3/5'' (16 mm) bit and tomorrow I am buying one for the 1/2'' bit (12 mm).

The bearing for the 1/2'' bit is going to be a roller bearing and not a ball bearing. Is this a problem?

Also, how to shape the sharp corners on the cavities? Router bits would always make them round. Should I use a chisel for that or is there any other method?

Thanks!

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round6bd.jpg

sharp4np.jpg

Don't ask me why, I just need the corners of the cavity to be sharp. :D

I watched the video tutorial by that German guy who made the neck pocket with razor sharp corners (using a chisel). Then, the heel of his neck was with pointy, sharp edges too and it fitted snugly in the pocket.

How to do this sharp-edged routing without a chisel?

Apparently router bits can't do that.

Any special instruments or power tools for this job?

Or is it just the good old chisel and a hammer?

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sharp corners = sharp chisel (ie, you need to sharpen pretty much any chisel you get. Google 'scary sharp').

Says it all. :D

I actually prefer the look of slightly rounded corners except where necessary. For neck pocket, it's probably easier to do a sharp pocket than to round the neck.

Greg

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A chisel, as Mattia suggests for the cavities. :D I believe Myka, Setch, and most other builders use a router except for the very corners and then a chisel to finish the corners off.

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With a crazy sharp chisel, it's pretty easy. I believe you can even get chisels that are 90-degree corners so that you can do it all together, as it were. Dunno that I'd bother going THAT far, but I'm sure they exist.

Greg

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Corner chisels seem like a really good idea until you realize how much of a pain they are to sharpen.

Chisel work, like most hand-tool work is lots of fun if your tools are of decent quality, and sharpened well. I use a lot of handtools because I live in a small apt. building - I have power tools, but it means hauling things down to my car and driving to my folks house and setting up there. So for a lot of things, I just do them at home with hand tools. It's fun and cathartic. I've gotten quite apt. with my various hand tools, and while I expect to spend more time when working with these tools, I've often found that many tasks I can do quicker by hand, because there's less time setting up jigs and what have you.

But I ramble - is there a particular reason you want sharp cornered cavities? Most of the p'ups I've used have fit in the round-cornered ones. (Although for a neck, I agree with the sentiment below; it's easier to make a sharp-cornered pocket out of a round one than round a sharp-cornered neck just right)

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