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A Few Questions On Router Bits And Neck Shaping Tools.

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Ok so I'm ramping up my tool collection to start my first build and I have a few questions.

I've researched some template router bits and purchased a 1/2 inch x 1' long bit with a bearing at the tip.

Here is the link:

Diablo 1/2" x 1' flush trim bit.

I'm also considering purchasing one of these top bearing bits. One from Stew mac or the one from Home depot.


Diablo top bearing 1" bit

or the #0693

The stew mac #o693

I'm thinking the correct one to buy is the stew mac bit because its going to allow me to take multiple shallow passes as opposed to the 1" which will force me to take an inch of material at a time. This is correct is it not?

My other question is about buying a spoke shave for shaping my neck. I've been carving Tiki's for a few years and have a very good quality and very sharp 8" draw knife that I use for that purpose. I've seen some videos of people on youtube using this method and would rather not spend the money if I dont have to. I've done some test on a spare piece of maple and it seems to work nicely. You guys think I should just stick with this for the time being or would I be better off using a spoke shave. Would I have more control?

Edited by sdshirtman
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I'll chuck in my feelings here:

Firstly what are you planning to do with the top bearing bit ? I mainly use mine for the final finishing of cavities so this makes the shorter bit the sensible choice for me as some of the cavities are barely an inch deep if that. If you are thinking of using the bit for the final shaping bodies against a template then the deeper bit is the obvious choice. To be honest i've got a 1/2" and an 1" one and if you can afford it i'd say get both - both have their uses and merits.

As for the drawknife. I have no experience with one as stuff like that scares the **** out of me but, if you're confident in it's use then why not. You probably won't be able to be so precise with it as oppossed to a spokeshave but you could get pretty damn near to your target and then change to rasp's and abrasives which is what i do using a spokeshave anyway.

Oh, just for info i only have a flat soled spokeshave, with a round sole i may negate some of the final shaping i do with rasp and paper but chances are you'll still have to break the stuff out at some point.

Remember, there's no 'one' way to do things when it comes to stuff like this and different methods work for different people.

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Don't buy any tool that you do not feel that you already have a need for. If you envision shaping your neck using a drawknife, give it, or a practice piece, a go. While you're doing it if you think to yourself 'I bet this would be easier/better with a spokeshave', there's your answer.

At the end of the day, a spokeshave is not an expensive tool if you want to buy one to play with.

FWIW, I've built 20 guitars now and have yet to use a spokeshave.

No idea what you're asking re the router bits. My builds spend more time on the router table than anywhere else so I personally can't imagine building a guitar without, as a minimum, flush trimming bits with the follower bearings on top and bits with the follower bearings on the bottom. My main bit has a top and bottom bearing - when used on a router table this bit will save you a considerable amount of time and grief (however, as Chris said on another thread, this bit is not for a beginner or the faint of heart).

Best of luck



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