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What Exactly Is The Shape Of This Wood?


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Well for my next project I want to build a kind of Les Paul and as you all know they have curved tops on them....I know this makes everything more difficult so I might just settle for a flat top that just has the shae of a Les Paul but would rather have it be curved so my question is what is this wood Link specifically the ones that say "Les Paul top plates" are these already curved and I just pretty much glue them on some other wood and then cut the whole thing out and it is already a curved top? Because that sound too good to be true but hey I dont know these things so i thought I would ask...Thank you very much for the help

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Best/easiest way, IMO: attack it with an angle grinder with a (flap) sanding disk and a fine touch. Works wonders. Basic carve on a maple top takes me about 15 minutes, then some random orbit sanding to clean up a little, and a frech curve scraper to make things look prettier/fair in various edges.

It's frighteningly good at removing wood, though, so you really want to know what shape you're aiming for. I do it freehand, just carve until it looks and feels about right. Templates optional.

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This is my preferred tool. Rough out the shape with this and then sand with a random orbital sander to smooth things out. Not as dusty as attacking it with an angle grinder and as a bonus it gives me a little more control over things. For the tighter curves I switch to my finger planes. On a maple top it can be a hard job if you don’t keep your blades super sharp. But if you do, going cross grain is a reasonable easy job and going along the grain is a nice and rewarding job.
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I should be getting a palm plane in not too long, but methinks I'll still rough things out with an angle grinder. That a plane gives you more control is somewhat mythological, particularly in figured woods; tearout is a great way to mess stuff up, and sanding won't get you there. What you do need is a light touch.

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Correction: It gives ME better controll. You are right Mattia. If you are more accustomed to using a angle grinder you will have more controll with that. It also helps that I have added a handle molded perfectly after my hand (a chunk of friendly plastic held between the plane and my hand 'till it formed the handle).

But regarding tearout in figured wood. That is no problem. A sharp blade and a well adjusted plane and I go gross grain, along grain even on figured wood without any major tearout-

Edited by SwedishLuthier
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Agreed. I carved my first with an ibex fingerplane (inside and out), the largest one, and I still remember the blisters! Learning to sharpen a plane properly, especially a curved bladed one, takes a bit of practice, as does setting up and using the plane. It's not exactly difficult, but it does take some trial and error, reading, practice and a bit of patience to get everything just right. And when a plane works well, it's a pleasure and a joy to use.

All tools have a learning curve. Just because they look simple doesn't mean they're easy to use :D

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