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JayT
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Yes, even in rough form you have to protect the wood as dents hit In just the  right spot can go quite deep.  A dent to your top means either filling or sanding to get rid of the hole.  If you are lucky the   Steam Iron trick might work for a quick fix.  I’ve never used it myself so can’t comment on how effective it is.

sharp corners can be hard to rout and tear out is common.  Others Builders can chip in (forgive the pun) here but you are best doing your routs in many incremental passes.  Each one deeper than the next.  Also using your jigsaw to get as close to the outline as possible...although you need to take into account space for the blade to drift if that happens.

i often got bad tear out when routing out sharp edges on neck headstocks.  I find it’s much less riskier to sand it down to the line now.  Considering your guitar body shape, you could potentially rout down the long edges but stop short of the corners, then using course sand paper like 60grit sand the corners down to the correct shape.  Only a suggestion and certainly more labour intensive but manual tools remove wood in a more controlled fashion than power tools and you might end up with a better result.

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It's also worth bearing in mind where areas of short grain are and planning the routing in stages to protect them.

Wood putty is for DIY stuff around the house, generally painted. Two part car polyester filler is best if you really have to use it, and only under paint. I agree about a better method of repair. This is where your scrap comes in useful. 

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12 hours ago, JayT said:

Question, i have 2 types of router bits with bearings at top and some at bottom...is one sort better for guitar bodies? I used the one with it at the bottom, level with router table top.

It depends on the thickness of the wood and where you put your template. A top bearing works well on a router table if your piece is thinner than the length of the bit. A bottom bearing works for both hand and table routers and you can route thicker pieces by first running the bearing against the template and then remove it and roll along the freshly routed side. Obviously the no-template way requires lifting the piece off the table in order not to route through your workbenck! But that's a good way to route cavities deeper than the bottom bearing bit. - A top bearing bit is a good choice for table routing the insides of holes going through the workpiece, the template being on top. It also works if you have routed halfway with a short bottom bearing bit. Again you'll be using the freshly routed side for running the top bearing on.

Extending the reach of a bit by pulling the shaft out of the collet can be very dangerous! It can be done to some extent but the majority of the depth of the collet should be used.

As others have already stated, routing directions and several light passes are crucial in corners. You might want to practise with the sharpest wedge shaped offcuts to find the optimal ways. Doing it yourself is better than any reading or viewing!

Edited by Bizman62
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The bottom line is, if you're using a hand router then you really shouldn't be cutting large amounts of material from a workpiece. The tool pressure and lack of good stability is almost a guarantee that you're going to run into issues, both of damaging/destroying your workpiece and of safety. Those ubiquitous 1/2" diameter, 1" length cutters are a recipe for disaster unless you're using them purely for length and making small cuts at the extreme end. I agree about extending a bit out of the collet. It's dangerous for much the same reasons, as any runout or issues with stability will be exacerbated plus the obvious problems with keeping ahold of the bit.

Making cuts that are full length require a LOT of control over the workpiece and cutting motion, eg. a router table and preferably a shear cut of some kind. Straight cutters whang into the workpiece twice per revolution, which is a lot of tool pressure. Expecting wood to slice cleanly rather than fracturing open through weaker grain is a lot.

Changing the paradigm from user>tool>workpiece to user>workpiece>tool is a big difference in working method. Few people consider it in these terms, but put some thought into why this is so different and you'll work at a far higher (and more safe) level.

Hand routing the perimeter of a body is what most people start out doing purely on tool availability and simplicity. It is however very easy to get into a situation that is unpredictable, and you're left holding onto a spinning motor with a workpiece bucking around or throwing chunks. Never good. Big long bits taking excessively large cuts, often in spots of weaker short or turning grain get disastrous very very quickly.

Routers are shaping tools, not machines for removing large amounts of material. Unfortunately, jigsaws are so liable to wandering in the cut that you're easily left with excess material that a router might have to deal with. Short passes (a few mm depth of cut each time) aren't ideal since you'll be left with machining marks with each step, but that's the safe route. I recommend buying a guide bush set if your router accepts them (Porter Cable sets seem to be the standard for most, and fit my Makita RT0701 palm router). Using a cutter that's a close match to the ID of one bushing gives you opportunity to make several passes around the perimeter, removing excess material before switching to bearing guided template bits. For example, a 1/2" OD bushing with a 3/8" cutter will leave 1/8" material outside of the final cut line. Better than what a jigsaw can manage on a good day at 40mm depth of cut. Taking off that final 1/8" all round in several passes is a magnitude easier and safer than 1/4".

Sorry about the long post and a bit of brainpour. I hope this is usable and relevant information.

edit: also, unsure why I used Imperial.

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2 hours ago, Prostheta said:

Straight cutters whang into the workpiece twice per revolution, which is a lot of tool pressure.

Four flute or spiral bits are more expensive but they whang  less violently as the contact with the wood is more consistent.

With spiral bits you'd have to pay attention to which way the spiral spins, though. You'd most likely want the bit to pull against the base or table, depending on the router type.

 

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I'd go as far as saying they are usually several times as expensive, especially compared to the very standard sizes. My favourites right now are a small ⌀12 x 15mm and a larger ⌀19 x 25mm. The smaller one makes nice shallow passes off 15mm plywood templates and the larger (when loaded with dual bearings) handles depth and smoothing nicely. Small bits are delicate though, so better for making establishing cuts and suchlike.

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I got a couple of these from another vendor, so far they've worked flawlessly. Oiling/rolling the bearing before first use seemed like a good idea, though, as the original lubricant had somewhat stuck. https://www.ebay.com/itm/1-X-8mm-Shank-4-Teeth-Flush-Trim-Pattern-Router-Cutter-Bit-Bearing-Woodworking-/193244192458?hash=item2cfe405eca

Edited by Bizman62
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On 1/19/2020 at 3:27 PM, Bizman62 said:

With spiral bits you'd have to pay attention to which way the spiral spins, though. You'd most likely want the bit to pull against the base or table, depending on the router type.

I just looked up spiral bits and found they come in upcut or downcut form.  Is this why you would choose a down cut over an up cut?  To ensure the work pulls against the table depending on spin direction?

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9 hours ago, willliam_q said:

To ensure the work pulls against the table depending on spin direction?

Exactly. But that's just something my logic would prefer. I've never used a spiral bit so I can't tell how strong the pull/push forces are. However I do know how much torque a a router has, no matter whether it's a handheld or a table one.

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Downshear pushes the work away which is good for preventing chipout on the outer surface, but may leave a less than perfect finish at the base. Upshear pulls the work into the motor, making work easier and cleaner, but might chip out the surface.

The biggest advantage to my mind is that the cutting edges maintain a more consistent tool pressure against the work, reducing vibration and chatter, plus to a degree, noise. 

Spiral cutters shear against the direction of movement, slicing against the grain instead of parting it perpendicularly.

In captured cuts like pickup routs, uncut clears the work area of chips at the expense of a less clean surface edge. 

.... then there's compression bits....

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Thanks for all the routing and router bit tips and info...it is a lot absorb I confess. 

As for the minor blow-outs I just couldn't bring myself to chop off/square off the corners and glue a scrap block in (against the advice of several here) for such small chip-offs. I know, I know...some of you are probably shaking your heads in disappointment but since this is being painted a solid color I used this 2-part wood epoxy I had on hand.

IMG_5436.thumb.JPG.e93917b2c5170107359340c14017cd9a.JPG

The color matches almost perfectly and it sanded down nice and is very hard (sorry I didn't get pics of it sanded smooth yet). 

IMG_5434.thumb.JPG.9db655718d3bd575eb3c39a88acf90ea.JPG

Not sure how I'm going to handle the one big blow-out yet. I'm avoiding eye contact with it for the time being.

I drilled holes with my drill press in the 2nd body I'm working on and made a bunch of relief cuts This resulted in much better/90° sides. Which will obviously make flush routing much easier...right?IMG_5437.thumb.jpg.c09ac364f6fbb0037887c8387bc31b8d.jpg

IMG_5438.thumb.jpg.56624efa85fd8e6c16dcce427e9ad5ad.jpg

...wishful thinking. 1/3 of the way through my first routing pass the router blew up. It even took out my surge protector...toasted it. but it was old/used and only cost me $40 (even bundled with 4 bits and a small, steel routing table) so no big loss.

So now I'm dead in the water and gotta get a router. I'm leaning towards the "WEN RT6033 15-Amp Variable Speed Plunge Woodworking Router" for mostly price-vs-feature reasons. Thoughts, suggestions? Preparing for an avalanche of info :)

For my hobbyist level needs do I need a full sized router? I plan to continue building guitars and other stuff...but am not ready to commit to a $300 router. Also, can I use a full-sized router for guitar binding? I think I want to add binding to this project. Why not, I'm already in over my head.

 

 

Edited by JayT
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I would suggest a smaller router like my Makita would be sufficient for most guitar building duties if you take it steady and invest in a decent range of bits. Being lighter it's a bit easier to control and less fatiguing to use. Making yourself a larger base from perspex would make it even more useful. It lacks a plunge function, but is easy enough to set the depth. Mine also came with a side bearing which is useful for cutting binding rebates 

20180115_203150.thumb.jpg.b7e173da2beb57ec25a017566da087cb.jpg

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The fixed base lacks a plunge function, however there is a plunge base. I use both interchangeably. You can also fit standard Porter Cable style bushings into the plunge base, and the fixed base fits the G&W radiusing sled, plus any manner of other jigs you happen to concoct. Whip off that black baseplate and fit it with an 8-10mm thick acrylic offset base and you're flying.

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Oh, and you may well see your filler repair under the finish. A wooden repair is usually better e.g. from an offcut. Mixing materials can cause movement over time, witnessing the join. It wouldn't take long to chisel it out, glue in a piece of wood and then knock it back to shape with a rasp or file :)

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There is some good advice in all above posts and I have the same router that Norris pictured (actually a "Trimmer") I can assure you it is very well worth buying a quality machine like that. What I notice the most with new machines is how smooth they start. They have (I think they're called Primary windings) while my father's 1960's Black & Decker power saw had no such thing and when you start it, it kicks like a double barrel shot gun

Also I just posted photos of the tear-out I had in my ES-137. I hope it is helpful. Its good to find an offcut with grain running the same way, and as Norris said it is still a better way even if you're painting. When you're sanding you go in the direction of the grain to get a smoother finish. So if your patch has grain going the opposite way - or you have different material, you can run into trouble

Its really worth putting in the extra time

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  • 2 weeks later...

I got new router so decided to finally do the neck pocket. I’ve been putting this off for a while...

87605564-933C-4E61-8466-CE4E2EB52951.thumb.jpeg.e389398bd40b5ebac39811513ffa5029.jpegall was going ok...

ABD387BC-C0A0-49B6-B243-2D1ADBD9C603.thumb.jpeg.0a5dfcd824f406e108466808c785f465.jpegDid 4 passes with router, getting closer to desired depth each time...being careful...then 1/2 way  through final pass something happened...the bit dropped loose or I hit the plunge thumb lock...not sure

0C004DDF-DA54-49A0-A3BF-3C09B222434F.thumb.jpeg.4ee2fe48bbaa912c79ee44880e0a5c92.jpeg

disaster...I knew it. Figured might as well level it all to that new depth. Once I calmed down and left the room with all the sharp stuff I collected myself and tried this fix (no idea if right move but it is what it is)

0FE9FC2E-C5B0-4E89-A3AB-561F202B2789.thumb.jpeg.158285492bc87bd425ded2413f9390e7.jpegCF59DFDB-70F6-491D-8204-7F12BEE761CD.thumb.jpeg.bee4be45f4512bededdfadd2e27aebcb.jpeg

i made a shim...like 6mm, glued & clamped....looks ok, nice tight fit. 819BD9C5-B04C-4333-8490-F403ADA4BB38.thumb.jpeg.320319c5e61df7324c7d1cd225c5d72a.jpeg

there are more clamps but I didn’t get too many pictures due to barely subdued rage :)

at least I a 2nd build on deck either way I guess. Live and learn 

1F3D3EE3-164A-4A6A-9434-8F33DAD74988.jpeg

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20 minutes ago, JayT said:

I got new router so decided to finally do the neck pocket. I’ve been putting this off for a while...

87605564-933C-4E61-8466-CE4E2EB52951.thumb.jpeg.e389398bd40b5ebac39811513ffa5029.jpegall was going ok...

ABD387BC-C0A0-49B6-B243-2D1ADBD9C603.thumb.jpeg.0a5dfcd824f406e108466808c785f465.jpegDid 4 passes with router, getting closer to desired depth each time...being careful...then 1/2 way  through final pass something happened...the bit dropped loose or I hit the plunge thumb lock...not sure

0C004DDF-DA54-49A0-A3BF-3C09B222434F.thumb.jpeg.4ee2fe48bbaa912c79ee44880e0a5c92.jpeg

disaster...I knew it. Figured might as well level it all to that new depth. Once I calmed down and left the room with all the sharp stuff I collected myself and tried this fix (no idea if right move but it is what it is)

0FE9FC2E-C5B0-4E89-A3AB-561F202B2789.thumb.jpeg.158285492bc87bd425ded2413f9390e7.jpegCF59DFDB-70F6-491D-8204-7F12BEE761CD.thumb.jpeg.bee4be45f4512bededdfadd2e27aebcb.jpeg

i made a shim...like 6mm, glued & clamped....looks ok, nice tight fit. 819BD9C5-B04C-4333-8490-F403ADA4BB38.thumb.jpeg.320319c5e61df7324c7d1cd225c5d72a.jpeg

there are more clamps but I didn’t get too many pictures due to barely subdued rage :)

at least I a 2nd build on deck either way I guess. Live and learn 

1F3D3EE3-164A-4A6A-9434-8F33DAD74988.jpeg

I find that when I make a mistake... it's best if I fight my urge to correct it right away.  That's when I make it worse.  I force myself to sit with it overnight... and freq I have found that I'll think of a solution that was simple and right in front of me.  Either way it's the mistakes we make where we do the real learning... and it looks like you recovered ok so... nice work.

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