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Pickup/neck routering


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Do you have the stewmac routing templates? They would be a great starting point.

ya, ive ordered some of thoses, but its nice to have tips from those whove done it before, just so im well prepared when i have to router them, thanks for the tip :D

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I'm not sure what your experience/skill level is but I can tell you a few things that may help:

1. When routing the neck pocket - it's important to know if you're planning on using an existing neck or if you're building a new one. If you don't have the neck built yet (and you are building one), you can just use the stewmac template without messing around with tape to reduce the pocket width. If you're using an existing neck, you'll need to make sure the template will work with it and see what adjustments will be needed.

2. I prefer to rout the neck pocket before cutting the body outline. It leaves more wood to support the template and router. It can be done after but you'll need to support the router with scrap wood and it can lead to a sloppier pocket if you're not careful.

3. If you're using double stick tape with the templates, put a decent amount of pressure on them to prevent slipping. I like to use a clamp to press it down (remove the clamp before routing). It makes it more difficult to remove the template but that's kinda the idea if you know what I mean. Nothing worse than a moving template - been there and done that - never want to again.

4. You'll probably need a router bit similar to the stewmac pattern bit. The cutter head is fairly short which makes it nice for pickup cavities and neck pockets since most other types have a much longer cutting head. If you use one with a longer cutting head, you'll need to raise your templates or use them to make taller templates out of scrap wood.

5. Take out as much as you safely can with a forstner bit / chisel before routing. There's no need to make your router bit do all of the work.

6. Use your depth stop(s) on your router and don't leave anything to chance. If you're not sure about the depth of the neck pocket, don't guess - look around or ask until you're sure.

7. This one isn't needed but I found it nice to have 4 bearings on the bit. It makes it easier to ensure the lowest one stays in place You can use the tubing they (stewmac) give you also if you don't want to spend the extra $$$.

Hope some of that helps. Sorry if you already knew most of it.

Dave

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and the golden rule...PRACTICE ON A SCRAP!!

I can only second and third that!!!!!!!!:D

Anytime I was in a hurry or thought I could do some routing without practicing first the result was not the best possible. You will always regret it if it is too late and you messed up your expensive wood. But what hurt does it do if it turns out perfectly on your practice piece already?

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Dave's right on but if you use a forstner and chisel, the unevenness of the canyon that you made can sometimes kick the router back as you go from a part that's cleaned out into a part that isn't. I like to use the router for all the wood removal except for control cavities, because they are massive, and they are deep, too. The added depth really puts a strain on the bits. I'm sure I go through more sharpenings that way, but it makes the actual routing experience smoother, to move against uniform thickness wood. So no problem cleaning out wood first, just be careful as you approach with the router. Those kickbacks can be enough to knock your template off its position, even if it's just a hair. It can mean a loose neck pocket or a pickup route that isn't covered by the mounting ring.

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Here's another tip I've used in the past. If you're neck isn't *Exactly* like the stew mac template (ie: made yourself, etc) - You can get an extremely tight neck pocket by doing the following.

With a C-Clamp, clamp the neck to the body and align it properly. Then put small wooden blocks (double sided tape and clamps) next to the neck in the pocket area. Now, when you remove the neck, you have a template remaining on your guitar. Works every time. Think this is discussed in Hitchcock's book - or perhaps it was another one...

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When practicing your routering, is it important to use the same kind of wood that you are using for your body, or will a different scrap hardwood do?

No, I don't think you'd have to use the same kind of wood for practicing routing(that could get kind of expensive). Just practice on 2x4's and 2x6's out of pine or douglas fir and you'll be fine. As for practicing your body routs I suppose you could glue together some cheap 2x12's and use that (kinda practice your jointing and glueing skills at the same time sorta thing).

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3. If you're using double stick tape with the templates, put a decent amount of pressure on them to prevent slipping. I like to use a clamp to press it down (remove the clamp before routing). It makes it more difficult to remove the template but that's kinda the idea if you know what I mean. Nothing worse than a moving template - been there and done that - never want to again.

Double stick tape with enough pressure will work wonders, and will go far beyond clamps. More wieght the merrier: your best option is to sit on it, or push down with your hands and put all your weight on top of the template.

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