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Recessing The Pickguard, Rings, & Plates


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The problems I see you running into:

1) Routing out the entire pickguard area evenly.

Your router more than likely won't have a wide enough base to reach all the way to the middle.

Maybe, maybe not. You need to know beforehand.

When you're trying to do the middle, the router may very well 'tip' in towards the middle area due to an uneven base.

You have to check it out and prepare in advance for it, have a plan ready.

That's a rather wide area to route so evenly, it all has to be pretty near perfect or the pickguard could/will sit unevenly/wobble/hump, or you will be spending a lot of time trying to even out the entire area WITHOUT harming the PERFECT outline of the route.

Very hard to do.

2) Your router veers outside the line.


This is probably the biggest risk you have, because you're routing a fairly large outline(s).

If you blow it here, it will look like garbage, and with a top like that, a fix will be very hard to do. Very hard.

If at all possible.

With that Paduak stripe, you run the risk of getting Paduak dust in the Spalt pores unless you've filled everything or you have compressed air around to blow it out afterwards.

You will need to be pretty much dead-on PERFECT with your outside route lines.

3) You will need to make yourself an 'opposite image' router template to do all the outside edges perfectly.

For every piece.

That's quite a bit of trouble, do you want to do that?

4) Basically, what you're doing is inlay on a much larger scale, that typically involves using a downward cutting router bit (or dremel tool bit) to get a factory clean edge the very first time.

That's what I see for concerns just off the top of my head at the moment. :D

In-line thoughts, responses, and ideas

1) So, it would sem that you're going at it routing from the outside and going in. Why not start in the middle. Wouldn't this lessen (not eliminate) the level & wobbling issues?

Let's say that the top has been leveled to near perfection. That's not really so hard to do: shiny wood sealer & a wide sanding block. Let's also say that you're using a dremel & the routing base. I believe it's footprint is smaller than a standard router. I don't have either yet, so I can't say for sure, but it LOOKS like it is to me. :D With a smaller footprint and weight, the control would skyrocket.

With the whole thing being maybe 3/8 to 1/4 inch, it could be done in one pass (so to speak) - no re-adjusting the height for another cut.

If you start from the inside and work towards the edge, and you use a small router for greater control, I think the main area could be done pretty evenly. I think you'd have a greater possiblity of dips than humps.

2) No arguement there. One little slip on the perimiter would blow the whole thing. ANY tearout would do it in too.

3) The "negative" template would ease the possiblities of badness on the edge. I concede that it's be a lot of trouble for a possibly one-off project. That'd be a judgement call if it's worth it or not. It could be re-used though, so the effort might not be seemingly wasted.

4) The "very first time" would only apply to the body rout. You can hose up the p/g and still remake it.

One suggestion for this might be to make the body, but don't put too much time on anything but basic shaping. Leave the body a little thick. If the rout on the body gets messed up, it can still be salvaged by planing it down past the rout and either starting over or using it as an un-recessed body.

If you get it too thin to use as a body.... I guess you can still slice off sheets of it to use as tops for chambered bodies.

Maybe some nice coasters.

Or some heat pads for the dining room table.

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Don't worry about putting the extra time into making a template, it will be worth it.

Besides, you would end up spending about the same amount of time trying to get the edges of the recess perfect if you did it without a template.

Once you get the template right, and the pickguard fits in it perfectly, the routing of the body will go pretty quick, and there will be much less worry about screwing up the body.

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