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Routing And Guides Confusion


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Sorry about this. I'm new here and to building and want to have my head clear of any confusion BEFORE I start attacking the wood.

I'm puzzling over this because I have just bought a nice Black and Decker Router. This one:

http://www.blackanddecker.com/ProductGuide...ProductID=14874

Having never used one before, I'm obviously doing a lot of reading of the manual and intending to do a lot of practicing.

But what I cannot get my head around is this:

If I make a template for, let's say the tone cavity on the back of a Les Paul Style build, there is a larger, very shallow cut out in to which the cover plate fits and then a deeper, inner cavity for all the tone pots etc.

If I start by routing out the shallower channel first, how do I set up a guide to make the shape EXACT? I mean, all I can imagine is the router bit eating in to the guide and making the shape go wrong. How do I keep the bit away from the guide but still cut to the limit of the guide???

I guess I am confused about how a guide works really. I HAVE looked through all the tutorials on this site and searched the web to try and find a picture of one in use, but without luck. The answer is probably staring me in the face but I really just want to know exactly what I'm doing before i start on the actual piece.

I'm sure there will be lot's of other questions as work get's underway, but I don't want to get to be a pain in the ass.

Any advice would be absolutely great guys. Many thanks, Paul

PS: I'm really sorry If I'm being a pain.

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I'm going to guess at the risk of looking silly.

1. i need either a bit that has a shank the same thickness as the cutter, or

2. i need a bit with a collar to make the same thickness as the cutter

If this is right, can anyone please tell me where is best to go to purchase the bits i will need to create the cavities for the neck, pickups, tone pots etc as well as the bit for cutting the indents for the cover plates.

Will one be sufficient or will i need to buy several?

Thank you

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If this is right, can anyone please tell me where is best to go to purchase the bits i will need to create the cavities for the neck, pickups, tone pots etc as well as the bit for cutting the indents for the cover plates.

Will one be sufficient or will i need to buy several?

Thank you

You might as well get to know Stewart MacDonald --I have one of these bearing bits and they're excellent, sharper and cleaner cutting than the other bits I've tried. I bought the 3/8 inch bit and it's holding up very well after three guitars. I'm tempted to get the larger bit too.

StewMac's an excellent source for all your other parts and tools (there are other sites, I don't buy everything from Stew Mac).

You can use the collar that comes with the router, but then you have to calculate the difference, etc. And those collars aren't perfectly rounded, so the routing won't be either. On the other hand, they're great for using when you need to route out a larger cavity --use the collar first, because it really helps to prevent accidental slips ups--keeps you away from the edge of the template. You can also the cheaper straight bits instead of the bearing bit, and only use that for the last couple of passes.

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Gotcha.

Thanks mate. I already have the router binding guide and cutter coming from them amd I think I'm getting my head around the router guide thing. It is just the really shallow routes that puzzle me a but because the template would have to be 'lifted'?? high enough for the collar to reach it if you see what i mean. (or be a very thick guide)

The ones they sell on stew mac seem to be just thin bits of plastic. How do you route a shallow cavity using one of those? At least one shallow enough to use for the cavity cover, which is only 2.5mm deep?? Raise it up somehow till the guide rests on the shank of the bit?? Dunno.

I know it's a pain new people coming along asking a series of questions but i guess it's the only way to get some of your experience.

I'm pretty handy with most things but have never used a router in my life so it's a big learning curve.

I'd love to see a series of pictures of someone actually routing the chambers on a guitar but none seem to exist. Every site i visit has a blank body and in the next picture, all the routing is done. LOL

Thanks again

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I'm pretty handy with most things but have never used a router in my life so it's a big learning curve.

Take the time to practice on scrap wood first. Just give yourself the time you'll need to make the mistakes you need to make before you approach your guitar with that thing. There's a lot to get used to, a lot to figure out. Make sure you're wearing full protective gear---eyes, ears, respirator (those things kick up tons of dust, and there's no reason at all to breathe that in). Safety and patience are the first important things to learn.

Once you get the hang of it, you'll understand about routing the cavities, it'll make a lot more sense to you once you see what this thing can do.

Don't use the Stewmac bits until you're comfortable using the router, since you'll just spoil them in the meantime. Don't practice with your template, since they're easy to screw up.

Careful with the cheap bits --they can break on you if you force them too hard.

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I'm pretty handy with most things but have never used a router in my life so it's a big learning curve.

Take the time to practice on scrap wood first. Just give yourself the time you'll need to make the mistakes you need to make before you approach your guitar with that thing. There's a lot to get used to, a lot to figure out. Make sure you're wearing full protective gear---eyes, ears, respirator (those things kick up tons of dust, and there's no reason at all to breathe that in). Safety and patience are the first important things to learn.

Once you get the hang of it, you'll understand about routing the cavities, it'll make a lot more sense to you once you see what this thing can do.

Don't use the Stewmac bits until you're comfortable using the router, since you'll just spoil them in the meantime. Don't practice with your template, since they're easy to screw up.

Careful with the cheap bits --they can break on you if you force them too hard.

Even better. Thank you. I'm real nervous and also excited about this. Once I have some practice and some information, I'll get started. Another area i'm going to struggle in is the finish with paint and laquer, but that's a long way off yet and i have plenty of time to read and try things. It's my aim to try to replicate a 59 LP as close as possible and have a long time to enjoy playing it when done. I don't care if it takes me a year, I want to be proud of what I've made.

Although I do expect tears along the way.

I'm so glad I found this forum. you experienced guys will not even remember how lost you felt when you started out as I'm doing and all I can say, is forgive the newbies and keep on with the giving attitude. We appreciate it.

Cheers, Paul

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