Jump to content

Maple Top Assembly


Recommended Posts

Hello again everyone. During the downtime over the weekend I had a birthday and got a little bit of money. So now I think I can finally start a real project! :D I finally decided that I am going to make a bass with a flamed maple top. But I am not sure if I should use a highly figured veneer or use a low figured actual maple cap (since my budget is still pretty small). The main site has a tutorial on veneering, but I can't find much info on actually attaching a real maple top....but I will keep searching. Anyways, I was just wondering which one would be easier since this will be my first build. I remember Drak saying before that veneer can be tricky. Would I be better off getting an actual maple top? Is that any harder to use? Any opinions/comments would be appreciated. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It really depends on the thickness of the top. Primal is right, but still, thicker veneers are easier than thin ones.

A solid top, how much glue used isnt too much of an issue. On a THICK veneer like 1/10" or bigger, it isnt too critical either... on a real veneer- (thin- like 1/20 or less) then the amount of glue is crucial, and hard to get right the first time. Too little glue has bad adhesion, too much glue and the veneer will wrinkle and theres nothing you can do to stop it.

I'd suggest staying away from a thin veneer, but anything 1/10 or thicker shouldnt be too much trouble. Just remember to use glue sparingly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks. I think I'll go with a maple top, though I can't get a really expensive one. How would I go about attaching it to the body if I do this? Do you do it before cutting out the shape or after? I've been searching the internet all day and can't find any tutorials or anything. Almost everyone on this forum who has used maple tops only shows pics of the laminated body cut out....nobody shows how they attach it. Any help?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

find a local wood shop, I can get flamed maple 2' long, 8" wide x 1" deep for $15, and im talking nice flame:

figure.jpg

to bad I mutilated the neck, although it made me decide on a nicer one.

anyway..

glue it BEFORE cutting the shape, that way, you can allways align the centerline, and there is no possibility of you cutting one side shallow, and spending forever trying to shape it right, only to find you passed your line(what I did to ruin my neck)

once the glue dries, it will be like using one solid piece, just watch grain orientation while using power tools.

also, use alot of clamps, and I used a piece of wood over everything to apply preseure in the center.

Edited by Desopolis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks desopolis. So I should glue it all together before cutting out the body. Do I glue the top together before gluing that to the rest of the body? Or glue it on top as two separate pieces?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely glue the top together BEFORE gluing it to the body. As for when to cut out the body, I would recommend cutting out the body on the back first and do some shaping, then glue the top on. That way, you can just use a template router bit to trim the top. It will be easy enough to line up the center line, just pencil the center line on the edges of the body and line the top up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Primal. B) It seemed to me like that is what most people on this site do. Just one more question (for now :D )....how exactly do I glue the top together? It is too thin to clamp across it, I don't want to break it. What would be the easiest way to do it?

And sorry again for all the questions....but I like to know how to do something before I start buying parts. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you have Hiscox's book on guitar making? He includes a nice little method to glue together maple tops using a flat workbench and some nails. It needs a diagram to explain, hopefully one of the community may have a link to one. I've used the method twice now and it works pretty well if your edges are prepared properly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm considering building a specialized little workbench/table for gluing tops. Basically, make it as small as possible, that way you can put the body on it and be able to clamp all the way around it.

Another option would be to use a two piece body and glue the two sides up after the top is glued on. By doing it that way, you only have half the width to deal with and it would be possible to clamp together on a normal workbench.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you have Hiscox's book on guitar making? He includes a nice little method to glue together maple tops using a flat workbench and some nails. It needs a diagram to explain, hopefully one of the community may have a link to one. I've used the method twice now and it works pretty well if your edges are prepared properly.

Yes, I actually do have the book. I saw the brief little explanation on how he says to do it, but I have trouble understanding what he means.... what is a "batten"? I read it, but I'm still confused and the diagram doesn't help me much either. I don't suppose you could tell me how you did it in simpler words? :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not sure if this is how everyone else joins tops, but this is how I join thinner tops, soundboards and acoustic backs(they are pretty thin). I have a flat 24" x 24" board w/three slots (1" wide- size the slot for your clamps one center and the other tward the outer edges). I place wax paper below the area that is to be glued. I prep the joint and then apply the glue to the joint. I place the first side aligned with the edge opposite the slots, and use light duty spring clamps to hold the side down around the sides. Then I place the second side and use light duty spring clamps to hold its alighnment(at the edges). Then I use light spring clamps to hold down three 1" square hard maple sticks (one @ center of the joint*lay wax paper under this one, one each centered on each side). Then I place a 1" square stick at the edge of one side(this sets on the board, and one is placed at the edge of the board(side of second top half). Then I use three bar clamps(one at each slot). I snug them in 4 or 5 passes (not too tight just firm). The idea is to keep even pressure on the glue (to get it to penetrate the wood). By tightening several times you keep that pressure pushing the glue in as some is forced out(dropping that pressure). Keep the pressure even and don't put so much that it lifts the spring clamps(that keeps the thin wood safe from being distrorted).

I sure hope that kinda made sense.

P.S. For thicker tops, and bodies I hold the wood down with stronger braces and clamps. It takes more force to wider joints pressure up.

Peace,Rich

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not sure if this is how everyone else joins tops, but this is how I join thinner tops, soundboards and acoustic backs(they are pretty thin). I have a flat 24" x 24" board w/three slots (1" wide- size the slot for your clamps one center and the other tward the outer edges). I place wax paper below the area that is to be glued. I prep the joint and then apply the glue to the joint. I place the first side aligned with the edge opposite the slots, and use light duty spring clamps to hold the side down around the sides. Then I place the second side and use light duty spring clamps to hold its alighnment(at the edges). Then I use light spring clamps to hold down three 1" square hard maple sticks (one @ center of the joint*lay wax paper under this one, one each centered on each side). Then I place a 1" square stick at the edge of one side(this sets on the board, and one is placed at the edge of the board(side of second top half). Then I use three bar clamps(one at each slot). I snug them in 4 or 5 passes (not too tight just firm). The idea is to keep even pressure on the glue (to get it to penetrate the wood). By tightening several times you keep that pressure pushing the glue in as some is forced out(dropping that pressure). Keep the pressure even and don't put so much that it lifts the spring clamps(that keeps the thin wood safe from being distrorted).

I sure hope that kinda made sense.

P.S. For thicker tops, and bodies I hold the wood down with stronger braces and clamps. It takes more force to wider joints pressure up.

Peace,Rich

haha

gives me Ideas for a rig, not really how I did it though..

and I disagree with cutting the body first, maybe a basic shape.. just from what I screwed up last time.. I could see getting within 1/2" but I wouldnt start shaping... and I used a bearing bit, cut a inch down, then used the same bit in a router table..

PERFECT!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...