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F-holes & Maple Top Integrity


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My new guitar build requires sound holes which I would like to keep as a series of round holes rather than the standard "f" or fin shape. Find out more HERE

I just wondered whether it's likely to weaken the top & cause the pieces between the holes to fall out? I routed out some channels once in an ash top across the grain :D & ended up with a crumbley hole :D

I wondered whether the maple top is less likely to do this, whether anyone has experience with something similar & maybe has some tips? I considered glueing something to the back of the top, in chamber to strengthen it. Maybe a veneer with the grain going in the opposite direction or something else?

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yeah that's what I was going to do but I'm not sure whether the maple would be structurally strong enough to hold together between the holes.

Does that make sense? Obviously there's not going to be anything behind the holes so I'm concerned that the pieces between each hole (which are going across the grain) will be too weak & potentially fall out.

Edited by biliousfrog
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Couple of questions- One how thick will the top be? In the pic it looks like you have the holes aligned with a carved section. Will you have any extra material behind that carved area? Well actually what are you doing in terms of routing and or chambering? Will you have a full block of wood under the bridge and or pickups or are you planning on making a fully carved braced top. What will the minimum spacing between holes be? Are you going to add any sort of binding to prevent the edges of the holes from damage? I doubt you are going to weaken the top any more than say the full size F holes on an actual arch top. I suppose I am asking because anything is possible and you have them placed along a line that is being carved.

Peace,Rich

P.S. One way or the other be sure you lay the holes out accurately and not too close. It would suck to waste a top (and drilling a lot of holes increases your risk of a slip).

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I'm going for a solid centre section with a large chamber under the holes & some smaller ones (including the control cavity) along the bottom for even weight distribution more than anything. The top will be 3/8" at the deepest point (where the holes will be) down to 3/16" at the edge. I hadn't planned on binding as I wanted to leave a natural strip like a PRS but.....I might get some maple veneer to lay under the maple top, going across the grain to give it some strength & maybe use it as binding too?

The maple top is actually quite overdue so I might be buying from somewhere else in which case I'll go for a much deeper top, 1/4 - 5/8

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I dont think the holes will cause a real issue, and when working with my maple I simply set the router/drill on high and went slowly. My biggest fear was tear out and I avoided that fairly well. the edges are pretty smooth,

you could allways go smaller, then use a dremel to clean up the edges, then switch to paper by hand..

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I'm going for a solid centre section with a large chamber under the holes & some smaller ones (including the control cavity) along the bottom for even weight distribution more than anything. The top will be 3/8" at the deepest point (where the holes will be) down to 3/16" at the edge. I hadn't planned on binding as I wanted to leave a natural strip like a PRS but.....I might get some maple veneer to lay under the maple top, going across the grain to give it some strength & maybe use it as binding too?

The maple top is actually quite overdue so I might be buying from somewhere else in which case I'll go for a much deeper top, 1/4 - 5/8

Should not be an issue. Veneer behind the holes is not really needed @3/8" thickness (maybe at 1/8"). The biggest potential I see for a problem is in the edge of the holes getting a ding and possibly chipping. A smoothy rounded edge should pretty much remove the risk, or some form of binding(it isn't just there for looks, it serves the purpose of protecting a weak edge from damage** Using a thin veneer may make the situation worse rather than better, as now you have a more fragile veneered edge).

Peace,Rich

P.S. You didn't mention your spacing. Be sure to give them a bit of room.

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thanks for your help.

The tops arrived today, hoorah!

The only problem is that I really mis-judged just how thin they are, a carve top is going to be almost impossible or at least look rediculous. Anyway, I've had an idea & would like some imput as to whether anyone thinks that this is a good or bad idea.

I have a nice quilt top, a nice flame top & a fairly dull flame top (which looked much nicer in the photos). As they are all quite similar in colour I thought that I might stick the quilt on top of the boring one & carve quite close to the line using a routing template...that way the quilt will be nicely carved & the other top will only be seen as a natural binding.

It might actually help with keeping the dye from bleeding onto the edge too! I drew a diagram but I can't upload a pic here so you'll have to use your imaginations :D

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