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Confused Sg Body Shaping / Contouring


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I have several questions here so please forgive me. Thank you for your help.

What is the best way to cut an SG-style body and have hard edges and contour? I’ve been using a cheap scroll saw to cut the body using a paper template that I’ve glued to the wood. It works well but requires considerable sanding to remove the toothmarks from the scroll saw blade thereby defeating the purpose of using the scroll saw in the first place (again, cheap scroll saw, 18 tpi blades, and I’m a novice). When I sand the edges, I inevitably have some roundover of the edges. I’d like to minimize roundover and yet make the edges less hard.

Also, how do you contour a body (let’s say around the SG horns) and make the contour well-defined? Please forgive my improper use of terminlogy – to clarify, if I’m looking at the top face of the body, there is shaping of the horns just inside the edge of the body. Is this done with a router? Or alternatively, would you first make your edges softer with a rasp/file and then plane the top surface of the body to give you a hard edge? Is any of this done in combination with a spindle sander and if so, what is the order of events?

While we’re at it, does anyone have any tricks for perfecting the circular shape of the horn (the inner circle between the tip of the horn and the neck)? I’ve been using a sanding pad for smoothing out imperfections. It looks really good, but I can still see the imperfection and it kills me. Is the answer simply patience and continued fine sanding or is there a better way?

Finally, does a well-aligned bandsaw have an advantage over the scroll saw in that the blade is unidirectional?

Again, thanks in advance for your responses. Anything you can do to shed the light on this here newb would be greatly appreciated.

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I would have used your scrollsaw to make a template out of a thin material (MDF or plywood) and then cut your body as you did, but a hair oversized. Then use the template with a bearing guided router bit to remove all the imperfections. Works great.

For sanding the round bits inside the horns, I used spray glue to adhere some sandpaper to the side of a can tha was about the right size, and used that. An oscillating drum sander would work even better.

Anytime you want crisp edges, a firm backing for your sandpaper is a must. Those firm rubber blocks work well, I smoothed the backside of one, so I can use the rounded back (where you normally hold) to sand concave edges. Hardwood scraps work too. I've gotten pretty good with cardscrapers, and use those almost all the time, however. But they aren't ideal in some situations.

I did all my shaping on my SG with rasps/surforms, files and spokeshaves, and used cardscrapers and firm sanding blocks to touch everything up. Leaves a nice crisp edge. I actually soften the edge just a bit, makes it easier to keep from sanding through the finish when your wrapping things up. (My finishes are bit on the thin side.)

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Thanks for the advice. I went and bought some mdf this morning. Wezv, I'm a fan. I've been on here for a few years but never post. You've got some rock solid guitars and I always tune into your posts and I've learned quite a bit. Thanks again, jpierce! Here's a few family photos, time to wind some tiny pickups. My son enjoys painting them; it's something fun we can do together and it gives mama a break!

guitar2014.jpgLet there be rock




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Having just finished an SG I would also recommend using a band saw for the rough body work, then using a router template. You have two types of alternatives for shaping the body. If you want to invest in the right tools you can use rasps, files and spokeshaves/planes to shape the contours. Or, if you're strapped for cash, you can just get a cheap drum sander that fits into your power drill, if you get a big enough one shaping the inside horns is really easy. the outside contours are a bit harder, you have to apply steady pressure, taking little bits off at a time and moving over the whole curve at once. If you sit in one spot for too long you'll find that you have a depression and you'll have to sand the rest of the curve to match it. I recommend getting the propper tools to do the outside, but I have done it with a drum sander on the outside, and it's actually what I prefer on the inside because I get a smooth, even contour.

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