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What Kind Of Tools Do I Need?


cukaracha
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Are you meaning an acoustic or electric? An arched top guitar starts off quite a bit thicker than a flat slab axe.

There are various methods such as a sanding pad with coarse grit on a 4" grinder to machine it off.

You would need to mark some guide lines top and sides so the carve is even.

Is this a cheapo guitar as I wouldn't try it on your vintage Les Paul Junior without prior experience?.

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i plan to do it on an electric guitar. i'm gonna buy a freshly cut basswood body thats more or less the shape of an Ibanez RG Series but with slightly curved edges. so i'm actually gonna mod a stock body. any suggestions on what procedure i should follow?

i plan to make it look from this:

529dcb753d.jpg

to this:

cf17c7dbd8.jpg

Note: the first pic isn't exactly the guitar body i have / what the real one looks like. and the second one is how i want it to look, not exactly like that, just more or less. emphasis on the curved edges and slim body, not the input jack.

Edited by cukaracha
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That shouldn't be too difficult, I'd suggest using mostly a round bottomed spokeshave and then finishing it off by setting the spokeshave really fine or using sandpaper. Lie Nielsen make a really nice Preston style spokeshave that would work great for this job, and for an extremely high quality tool its not that expensive:

Lie Nielsen (curved bottom) Spokeshave

alternatively, you could try using a modern Stanley #63 spokeshave that's cheaper, although I wouldn't expect it to get as fine shavings as the Lie Nielsen:

Stanley #63 Spokeshave

When doing a job like this on a guitar, I'd use an old Stanley chamfering spokeshave that I got from my grandfather, it's missing the chamfer guides so effectively it's just like a Stanley #63. After derusting, tuning up the blade and fabricating a new brass chipbreaker/cap for it (the original was missing) it does the job extremely well.

Another option might be to use a file, or even a palm sander if you're a power tool junkie, but the spokeshave is probably the easiest method and you'll be glad you learned how to use it when you want to try carving out a neck.

Edited by Bainzy
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Erm.. i took a look at the links and honestly, that spokeshve thing doesn't even look like anything.. :D most probably because i've never seen one let alone heard of it.. B) could u pls explain how it works...? cuz from what i understand, it kinda works like a potato pealer, right? :D

Edited by cukaracha
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could u pls explain how it works...? cuz from what i understand, it kinda works like a potato pealer, right? :D

Hah, basically! You could also use a microplane + sandpaper, or a rasp + sandpaper. But a spokeshave is a lot more fun to use. You could even go with a Kunz spokeshave, it's about $20.

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once again, whats a microplane and rasp? Pls excuse my lack of knowledge of tools. i'm quite a beginner with no one else to help me.. also, all the tools that i learn and use in school are in Malay language.. (eg. sandpaper is kertas(paper) pasir(sand))

Edited by cukaracha
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  • 3 weeks later...
Erm.. i took a look at the links and honestly, that spokeshve thing doesn't even look like anything.. :D most probably because i've never seen one let alone heard of it.. B) could u pls explain how it works...? cuz from what i understand, it kinda works like a potato pealer, right? :D

Pretty much - you rest it on the surface, grab the handles and drag it towards you. It doesn't take long to get the hang of it, and you can get a finish with a well tuned one that doesn't even need to be sanded afterwards.

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You'll be surprised at how naturally curves just kind of pop out of wood once you get the feel for it.

I just bought a Microplane over the weekend, and I have a spokeshave, files, and a rasp as well, so here are my comparative impressions:

I love the spokeshave. I bought a cheaper one (a Stanley, it was $20 or $30) and tuned it up so everything is as sharp and flat as is possible. It works great. I've found that even set to take off as little wood as possible, it's best not to use it to get extremely close to finished dimensions. (At least not at my skill level.) No sawdust is a big plus.

I don't like the rasp much, but maybe it's because I (again) have a cheap one. $8 or something. I just don't see anything it can do that I wouldn't prefer using a file to do instead. It leaves quite a rough surface, and I can't control it as precisely as a file. . No sawdust, though.

I have a singlecut and a doublecut file, and I use them constantly. The neck I'm currently building, I started shaping with a spokeshave, then moved to files and sandpaper. Worked nicely.

I haven't used the Microplane very much yet, but it seems to be somewhere in between a rasp and a file. It's not as coarse as a rasp, but more aggressive than a file. I'd use it instead of a rasp, but I think I still prefer files.

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Trust me, get a nice rasp, and you'll not really be tempted to use a file on wood again unless you're doing weird stuff like crests on classical headstocks or the like. Married to a scraper, a hand-cut rasp is one of the finest, easiest to use carving tools ever.

Files are for metals and plastics.

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I'm certainly willing to give rasps another shot. Any particular recommendation as to a good one? I don't mind spending $20 or $30 if it will help.

[Edit: I just looked at leevalley.com and woodcraft.com and see a lot of rasps in the $50-$70 range. Any good but less expensive options? If it comes down to it, I'll spend the $50.]

[Edit again: I just found this thread, but my experience with cheap rasps is counter to the advice therein.]

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Bet you anyone reccomending cheap dime-store rasps has never, ever used a set of hand-cut tools. I was skeptical, I admit it, but I haven't used my Sandvik since. Well, OK, sometimes, for really coarse stock removal, but it leaves the rasped surface a real nasty mess, and if you even TRY using it on end-grain, things start trying to chip off/out. It is made of good steel, though. I have some Herdim files from Herman Dick Tools GmbH in germany, cost around the 30 dollar mark for the smaller (not huge-ass) cabinet makers rasps, have a medium and moderately fine one. Easy to control, no crazy!rough surface, and a real joy to use. I'm sure Ariou's are wonderful, if horribly expensive, but a mid-priced option should work. StewMac's Dragon rasps look like they'll do the job, and even the smaller tools should be useful additions, and 25 bucks ain't much...

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