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Creating Your Own Headstock Laminates


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I assumed there would be info here on this kind of thing, but my searching so far has turned up little of value. What i'm looking to do is create a laminate for my headstock. Not necessarily something extremely thin, but probably in the 1/16" range. Are there any special jigs, tools, or techniques for doing this. At this point i've got several pieces of wood glued up for a maple/walnut/maple pattern, and i've been pondering the best technique to get a couple of thin pieces out of it, but I haven't been able to come up with anything foolproof. Another application of this would be a 1/8" thick control cavity cover. Based on the projects i've seen here I know people must do this on a regular basis, I just haven't been able to find info on how they do it. At this point i'm considering trying both the bandsaw and/or the tablesaw with fences combined with delicate belt sanding and hand sanding. But they both have their downsides, deflection for the bandsaw and waste for the tablesaw. So what am I missing here? This can't be too tough.

Thanks!

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I assumed there would be info here on this kind of thing, but my searching so far has turned up little of value. What i'm looking to do is create a laminate for my headstock. Not necessarily something extremely thin, but probably in the 1/16" range. Are there any special jigs, tools, or techniques for doing this. At this point i've got several pieces of wood glued up for a maple/walnut/maple pattern, and i've been pondering the best technique to get a couple of thin pieces out of it, but I haven't been able to come up with anything foolproof. Another application of this would be a 1/8" thick control cavity cover. Based on the projects i've seen here I know people must do this on a regular basis, I just haven't been able to find info on how they do it. At this point i'm considering trying both the bandsaw and/or the tablesaw with fences combined with delicate belt sanding and hand sanding. But they both have their downsides, deflection for the bandsaw and waste for the tablesaw. So what am I missing here? This can't be too tough.

Thanks!

Sounds like you are talking about re-sawing. The most efficient and effective method is a bandsaw and thickness sander. If you want to be able to get very accurate cuts look up topics on setting up your bandsaw. If you want the lowest loss cuts with your bandsaw use Woodslicer blades. A thickness sander is about the most effective method I know of to clean any saw blade scratches, and get to your desired thickness when you are dealing with thin material. If you do not have a thickness sander. Hand sanding or a belt sander(be careful not to destroy the thin piece with agressive methods). You will find topics on this subject, but the info you want will relate to the tools you have available.

Peace,Rich

P.S. Regarding deflection on a bandsaw. When your saw is well tuned and your blade is sharp you will be able to achive VERY consistent accurate results. I regularly re-saw 7-10" wide billets for acoustic backs @.14-.17" one right after the other with a final surface sanded thickness of .125-.14". I also make my own binding strips generally .06" but sometimes I thickness sand .02" fine line also. If you think you may be interested in a thickness sander the Performax line are wonderful tools(my 16/32 has worked like a champ for me).

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Thanks Rich, a thickness sander sounds wonderful, unfortunately I can't afford to invest in serious tools at the moment. But I will certainly keep it in mind when I have the funds to outfit my own shop (Using my father in laws space at the moment). Sounds like the bandsaw is the way to go. I guess i'll just tweak the setup and run some 2x4's through there until i'm getting consistent results.

Thanks again!

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You can use a router thicknessing jig to take wood right down to 1mm or less. You need to take small passes, removing a little thickness at a time, but it works really well with a little care.

Setch,

I don't doubt for a second you can make that happen. However routing down to a 32nd of an inch or less range with a router and then surfacing smooth is going to be extreamly hard for most people to do. At that thickness wood tends to buckle and distort a bit and a router is not going to be kind to it when it does.

Again I am not saying it can't be done. I route my rosettes, backstrips, and other veneers into backs and soundboards. My routes take about 50% of the thickness leaving about .04-.05" worth of material. I do have to take a great deal of care in ensuring my set up is accurate and the wood remains flat. Straight up thicknessing a whole piece of wood would require a greater deal of care yet.

Maybe you could give some suggestions on how to best hold the material flat and stable using your method. I know you have posted information on your slick router jigs.

Peace,Rich

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I start with a piece rough cut to size, and get one side flat, either by sanding, planing, milling - what ever suits that piece. Then, I stick it down to a flat board with doublesided tape, and work it down with the router. The only real danger spot is at the edges - you can blow off a corner quite easily if you don't consider the cutter rotation when moving around the edges. Once it at the thickness I want, I go over it with a sanding block or scraper to remove the machining marks, then pop it off the backing board with a thin spatula.

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I've used a method akin to what Setch describes. I wouldn't want to do it all the time, but it works well. I leave the last bit of thickness to be removed by sanding, but mostly out of being overly cautious, I could have gone much closer to my final described thickness.

One thing to be cautious of is that your router is set up well before you attempt something like this. I have an older craftsman plunger router that really needs to be tuned up or replaced, and unfortunetly it was the router I grabbed for this job. For whatever reason (probably a combination of the springs and the fact that the depth stop only holds at one leg) it turned out to not hold the bit quite perpindicular to the base. Fine for chambering a body, but any operation where the final goal is a perfectly smooth surface leaves a bit to be desired. I got lines indicating all my passes ass the circular bottom of the bit was a bit "deeper" in one spot. Also, make sure any rails the router is riding on are perfectly straight as well.

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I set up a ghetto jig on the bandsaw to cut 3/16" thick pieces. It worked pretty well. There was a little undulation in spots, and on one of the pieces it dug in a bit when I shifted from pushing through with my hand to the wood block. But it should be quite simple now to use the safe-t-planer to get it down to 1/8" and 1/16" (for the cavity cover and headstock laminate respectively). Just have to buy a safe-t-planer now. :D

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