Jump to content

Wooden Control Covers


Recommended Posts

I've seen builds in the past have wooden control covers and I like the look a lot. Some of them have grain that doesn't match very well while others look like the piece of wood used for the cover is the piece they cut out to form the cavity itself. How do they do that?

If they used the piece of wood that came from cutting the hole, there would be no shoulder for the cover to rest on once done, or do they put blocks underneath for it to rest on once done?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know there is a few ways to do this, however, I did mine probably the most difficult way as I needed to thin the wood anyway and it was the safest way. So my body wood needed to be thinned by about 3/8", I marked out the area where my cavity would be and using the router sled jig, I routed off the 3/8" in thickness except for where the cavity would be. Then I took a Japanese saw and cut this 3/8" platform off the body. By cutting the wood right where the cover would go I had matching grain. I lost a little thickness from cutting and sanding it flat and also felt that it might warp on its own, so I laminated the zebra cover with some Jatoba in the middle and some scrap figured maple on the back, which somewhat matched the inside of the cavity where you could see the back side of my maple top. All in all it was a process, one that can be done much easier, though considering I needed take some thickness off the body anyway and I wanted to use magnets to hold the cover on, my method worked alright.

Ghetto Method

Cover Laminates

Matching Grain

Cover Epoxy Grainfilled, magnets installed

Inside cover

As I said there are other ways that are better, easier, but since I was lacking tools and needed to take some thickness, this method worked just fine for me. In the future I might try new ways, though honestly I really like the look of binding the covers or the cavity route, so I may try this in the future, with or without matching grain. Best of luck to you. Jason

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's quite a bit of magnets for that cover, J, how were you able to get the cover off afterwards? Myself, I put a little thumbgroove on one of the corners so I could reach in and pop it off. I think it was MetalMatt (though I might be wrong) Who put a tiny hole in the cover so he could pull it off with an allen wrench.

In response to the original question, though, the way I've seen it done is to get a piece a bit thicker than you need, and run it through a bandsaw to take a tiny sliver off the back. Then you have a whole body-sized sheet for making as many covers as you want, i.e. control cavity, les paul switch, battery cover, and the like.

Or if you're using a cap for the back, and you're REALLY skilled with a scrollsaw, you can have at it that way :D I myself, if I ever build a top-routed guitar, am thinking of making the "pickguard" out of the same wood, grain matching it, and recessing it flush with the rest of the body. Classy :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I hadn't bought the magnets yet when I designed the layout of the cavity ledge and amount of tabs. I could of sworn I'd had those types of magnets before(for something else), but as soon as I tried to pull them apart I just started laughing and realized I didn't need that many. I was shocked at how tough they were. I actually do have a nice little groove to pull the cover off, I personally think they look kinda neat. I haven't seen many, but recently Russ posted a pic of his and I really liked how it looked. I had always planned on having the little groove as I had no idea of any other way to get the cover off. I wanted to do the groove with my smallest drumsander on a drill, but I practiced on scrap and it came out too uneven, so I just took that drum and sanded it in by hand, worked perfectly. The cover was a bit tough to get off at first, but I put a little epoxy over the inside of the cover to make it look nice and the magnet strength is now perfect.

Shaving off a sliver of the body would be nice and easy, if you have that big of resaw or if you do it before joining a two piece body. There is also another way to do it with certain bits and such, but I don't know that you method fully and wasn't sure if you could get away with magnets by going that route? There might be another thread from a couple months ago where a lot about cavity covers was discussed, I might search for it later, but I know there is something that would help. J

Edited by jmrentis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also really like the look of the cover with magnets and matching grain.

Loved the photos in this topic, J!

The matching grain is obviously a highly desirable effect, but the magnetic cover intrigues me.

Is the idea behind the use of magnets purely to avoid visible screw heads?

I mean, how often are you going to be opening the cavity?

I guess if you have active pickups you'll need access to change the battery every so often!

Just curious as to how this method came to be used.

DJ

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure what the common reason is for magnets on the cover, but I just did it because I think it looks cool without any screws. I think without any screws and matching grain it looks pretty cool. I'd imagine a number of people here would like the magnet cover because they love to tinker, adjust, switch, and mess with electronics and sounds. Anyhow, I just did it for the looks really. J

BTW:Xanthus- I actually left the top off until I had sanded in that groove to get the lid off because as you would expect there would have been no way to get it off otherwise, haha, seriously. With the top off I just pushed through the topside of the body to get the lid off. I don't know if I will go down to 3 or 4 magnets for the next cover. I know 3 is enough, heck I bet two is plenty, but I don't want it to be uneven or have gaps, so I will at least do 3. I think my next design will have one magnet at the middle angle area and then one towards each corner of the flat edge.

Edited by jmrentis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about recessing slightly more, or angling in a small area at one of the "end corners" of the cavity - just enough that you could then press inwards on the cavity cover at that spot, and if it was rigid enough, it would sort of lever itself out. (Am I making sense? I'm not good at describing things)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Groove w/ lid on, Groove w/ lid off That is how I did mine and I will say that I like it a lot. It looks bigger than it actually is in that picture because I have a thin epoxy layer on it. I did that so when doing some of my final sanding I don't dip into that groove and change it's shape or scuff it because it was perfect and finished. It's just a very thin layer and will actually match later on when I epoxy grainfill the whole back. I actually really like that 2nd pic because it gave me an idea of what my maple will look like with some finish, its really nicely figured. The zebra should look really nice when done as well, I was surprised at the how much different it looks when cleared, Zebra.

Anyhow J.pierce, I understood what you meant about leaving one corner without support to pop the cover out, but I did not quite understand the other idea(recessing more). I haven't slept in two days so that could be why. The corner popping idea may work, but I would be worried about bending or warping or even messing up the finish somehow. Those magnets are strong, I think the popping method would be fine if you used 2 magnets and left one corner without one(the corner that pushes in). Since you wouldn't be taking the cover off much, it would probably work just fine. Personally, I wouldn't want to do that because I would somehow end up dropping the cover and damaging it when trying to take it off, I do stupid stuff like that. Anyhow, its all about personal preference really, I'd bet you could come up with numerous ways to get those things off. I personally like the method I copied, which is same as Russ did his. I think you should try out the popping out design on your next build and see how you like it and how well it works, I'd bet most people would prefer it over a notch and it sounds like it should work. J

Edited by jmrentis
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Groove w/ lid on, Groove w/ lid off That is how I did mine and I will say that I like it a lot. It looks bigger than it actually is in that picture because I have a thin epoxy layer on it. I did that so when doing some of my final sanding I don't dip into that groove and change it's shape or scuff it because it was perfect and finished. It's just a very thin layer and will actually match later on when I epoxy grainfill the whole back. I actually really like that 2nd pic because it gave me an idea of what my maple will look like with some finish, its really nicely figured. The zebra should look really nice when done as well, I was surprised at the how much different it looks when cleared, Zebra.

BINGO! I actually took a scrap of sandpaper and a AA battery and went to town to do my groove, hahaha. I like it, came out nice and clean, and the pic of that zebra is beautiful! I really shouldn't limit myself to "boring" woods. Then again, it's not so much me limiting myself as the lack of funds :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input jmrentis, that's what I was looking for. I wasn't sure how to do it, but your way is one way that works well. I have a bandsaw, but it isn't big enough to take an entire cut from a body. I'm planning a neck through, so I guess I could slice the wings before they are put onto the neck through section to get my covers if my wood is thick enough to do so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did my last few exactly as JMRentis described. Make sure you leave the areas you will remove oversize, so that you can shift them around to get perfect grain alignment. A perfectly quartered body will not need much adjustment, but a flatsawn body will need quite a bit - if you remove a 1/4" section, you may need to move it as far as 1/2" to get the grain to match up.

65_back_closeup.jpg

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...