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Body Shape Cutout Methods


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OK, I don't have a bandsaw. What other methods do people use to cut out the basic shape from thick wood slabs?

- jigsaw?

I have a jigsaw that can JUST hack through 40mm or so of softwood.

- router?

is it practical to just route through the slab, going repeatedly around the template getting deeper each time, or will this just wear out the cutter (and my patience)

other methods??

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This really has been discussed to death. Start searching!

I must be stupid then, because I have been searching this forum and found nothing really. I am not saying it isn't there, just that I don't know the magic invocation to summon up the right threads.

When I didn`t had a bandsaw, I used to cut the body using a drill press to make several holes, each hole "touching" the last one, removed the sharp points with a chisel and then I used a router with the template.

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A quality jigsaw would likely work alright. When my old jigsaw died out on a template, I picked up a new one. It was the Hitachi saw(5.8amps), easily recognizable by the strange alien looking green saw. It was on sale for a few bucks off and had all that I wanted. I believe that thing could handle sawing a body blank. It says in wood it can cut 4 5/16", but I wouldn't want to do much more than a body blank in hardwoods. I love that little saw, its pretty wicked all around, kills that old saw I had that burnt out. There were more expensive saws on the shelves that I looked at as well, but that one had all the features I wanted and was well priced. For cutting the body blank I would cut carefully making sure to keep the blade as vertical as possible, I would also likely drill a couple holes in the sharp corners or tricky areas to prevent problems and make cutting the corners easy. I would then use a router with a template to finish up the final shape. Just another possibility. J

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A quality jigsaw would likely work alright. When my old jigsaw died out on a template, I picked up a new one. It was the Hitachi saw(5.8amps), easily recognizable by the strange alien looking green saw. It was on sale for a few bucks off and had all that I wanted. I believe that thing could handle sawing a body blank. It says in wood it can cut 4 5/16", but I wouldn't want to do much more than a body blank in hardwoods. I love that little saw, its pretty wicked all around, kills that old saw I had that burnt out. There were more expensive saws on the shelves that I looked at as well, but that one had all the features I wanted and was well priced. For cutting the body blank I would cut carefully making sure to keep the blade as vertical as possible, I would also likely drill a couple holes in the sharp corners or tricky areas to prevent problems and make cutting the corners easy. I would then use a router with a template to finish up the final shape. Just another possibility. J

I haven't tried them yet, but Sears sells some jigsaw blades that purport to be made specifically for hardwoods.

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When I didn`t had a bandsaw, I used to cut the body using a drill press to make several holes, each hole "touching" the last one, removed the sharp points with a chisel and then I used a router with the template.

Thanks Hector. Nice to know others, like me, resort to whatever methods they can. Sometimes you just have to make do, because I sure can't just rush out and buy a Bandsaw for this one job. Maybe if I get hooked on making many guitars I will buy one then. :D

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A quality jigsaw would likely work alright. When my old jigsaw died out on a template, I picked up a new one. It was the Hitachi saw(5.8amps), easily recognizable by the strange alien looking green saw. It was on sale for a few bucks off and had all that I wanted. I believe that thing could handle sawing a body blank. It says in wood it can cut 4 5/16", but I wouldn't want to do much more than a body blank in hardwoods. I love that little saw, its pretty wicked all around, kills that old saw I had that burnt out. There were more expensive saws on the shelves that I looked at as well, but that one had all the features I wanted and was well priced. For cutting the body blank I would cut carefully making sure to keep the blade as vertical as possible, I would also likely drill a couple holes in the sharp corners or tricky areas to prevent problems and make cutting the corners easy. I would then use a router with a template to finish up the final shape. Just another possibility. J

If I burn my jigsaw out, I will do the same. Drilling in sharp corners is a good tip, thanks.

So, when cutting the blank with the saw, I guess the idea is to get close enough to the outline so that the router cutter is taking off much less than it's own diameter in wood, to make it easy? Say, use a 1/2" cutter and try to get the initial saw cut within 1/4" or so? What I'm getting at, is that if too much wood is left to be taken off, you might as well just route through the blank to start with :D

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If you do use a jigsaw, take your time if you push to hard a broken blade is the least of your worries, what may happen especially if your close to the final body shape is that the blade may bend into the body so it will be undercutting it.

Yes, I know what you mean. It will be a very slow and steady job.

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You can also go buy a single Forstner bit, with a large diameter, and use the drill-press method.

bit.jpg

Get a 1" or larger bit (they make em HUGE these days! 2-1/2" diameter is niiiice!), and make sure the center point is in the wood, not on the edge of the previous hole. Then each successive hole will be clean and smooth and the bit won't jump around or get dangerous on you.

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Yeah, but I really wouldn't want to run even a 1" forstner in a cheap, small tabletop drillpress. That's because I've done it, and it works, but they burn, bog down, and generally don't work very well. I now have a far bigger (16") press that handles up to 1.5" with relative ease, and bigger in select woods, but honestly, simply using a jigsaw followed by router templates is easier on the tools.

These days, I prefer to bandsaw the body (duh, if you have a bandsaw), then sand down close to the line and route the final 1mm away with the router. Minimal chance of tearing chunks out of the side, and the router gives me a very nice, very smooth finish.

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These days, I prefer to bandsaw the body (duh, if you have a bandsaw), then sand down close to the line and route the final 1mm away with the router. Minimal chance of tearing chunks out of the side, and the router gives me a very nice, very smooth finish.

I will be trying a similar method, but using a jigsaw instead of a bandsaw. I have an older, but big and solid hand-held jigsaw that has survived much punishment builting speaker cabinets. I will see how it goes.

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These days, I prefer to bandsaw the body (duh, if you have a bandsaw), then sand down close to the line and route the final 1mm away with the router. Minimal chance of tearing chunks out of the side, and the router gives me a very nice, very smooth finish.

I will be trying a similar method, but using a jigsaw instead of a bandsaw. I have an older, but big and solid hand-held jigsaw that has survived much punishment builting speaker cabinets. I will see how it goes.

That's how I built my first 10 or so guitars. Works just fine until you discover the joys of bandsaws and never want to go back :D

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These days, I prefer to bandsaw the body (duh, if you have a bandsaw), then sand down close to the line and route the final 1mm away with the router. Minimal chance of tearing chunks out of the side, and the router gives me a very nice, very smooth finish.

I will be trying a similar method, but using a jigsaw instead of a bandsaw. I have an older, but big and solid hand-held jigsaw that has survived much punishment builting speaker cabinets. I will see how it goes.

That's how I built my first 10 or so guitars. Works just fine until you discover the joys of bandsaws and never want to go back :D

+1 times a million on that. I only managed to afford a 14" grizzly saw(extreme), but I love it. It can do a lot and does it well. With some serious reading, tweaking and aligning, they work great. Can't wait to trick it out a bit as well. My nice jigsaw hasn't seen much action because of the bandsaw, though I still dig that hitachi jigsaw, I like their router combo set as well, they suit my needs nicely. J

Edited by jmrentis
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I've cut out body blanks with a coping saw. It wasn't really that fun, although I had on arm like built like Popeye by the time I was done.

If you're using a jigsaw, I find relief cuts help a lot. (Although the drilling idea which is similar is a really cool approach to this as well.) Cutting away the extra offcuts as you go along helps too, as in many areas the jigsaw blade is binding in the back of the kerf against the offcut - remove this and you have a much easier time. I've actually used a circular saw (with caution) to remove a fair amount of the scrap wood before I went in with the jigsaw - made making relief cuts easier, and got stuff out of my way.

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I've cut out body blanks with a coping saw. It wasn't really that fun, although I had on arm like built like Popeye by the time I was done.

If you're using a jigsaw, I find relief cuts help a lot. (Although the drilling idea which is similar is a really cool approach to this as well.) Cutting away the extra offcuts as you go along helps too, as in many areas the jigsaw blade is binding in the back of the kerf against the offcut - remove this and you have a much easier time. I've actually used a circular saw (with caution) to remove a fair amount of the scrap wood before I went in with the jigsaw - made making relief cuts easier, and got stuff out of my way.

Some great tips in this thread. I'll be putting them into use this weekend !

Thanks...

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Just bought a Black n Decker Firestorm jigsaw. Laser guide out the front, sidegrip handle for stability, awesome. Never used a really good jigsaw before, and now I regret not buying this thing YEARS ago. It'll be easy as heck to do thick boards now!

When you're cutting, I'd suggest doing some fan cuts. Just slice in, perpendicular to your lines. That way, as you start cutting close to the line, the chunks will fall off and help to keep your blade from binding or trapping in there. And it'll lighten the wood as you go around.

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When you're cutting, I'd suggest doing some fan cuts. Just slice in, perpendicular to your lines. That way, as you start cutting close to the line, the chunks will fall off and help to keep your blade from binding or trapping in there. And it'll lighten the wood as you go around.

Another great idea. If I make the cuts at the points where the body shape is near the blank's edge, it'll be quick and easy to do as well.

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How much time do you think the router saves vs hand and/or DA sanding the edges?

I am thinking that the initial flush-cut of the basic shape will save only a little time, but further profiling of the edge, even just to produce the basic rounded edges using a shaping bit, will save quite a lot.

However I am new to this and still learning.

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