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Weight Reduction


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Hey team,

Just after a little bit of advice please. I'm currently finalising the design for my next solid-body guitar, planning on using tasmanian blackwood and a nice, 0.6mm thick, veneer. The blackwood is pretty heavy, so I'd like to try and take a bit of weight out of it. 

If I was using a 5mm top cap, I'd just hog out a bunch of material from the body blank and then seal it up, but given I'm wanting to use a veneer, I'm not sure what my options are, if any? The best I've managed to think up is maybe using a 30mm forstner bit to drill weight reduction holes, plus also put a ledge a couple of mm down with a bigger bit, and put in a disc fill piece to level the top surface back off? Seems heaps complicated.  

Does anyone know the best way to tackle this?

Thanks in advance.

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5 hours ago, Nicco said:

weight reduction holes, plus also put a ledge a couple of mm down with a bigger bit, and put in a disc fill piece to level the top surface back off? Seems heaps complicated.

Definitely doable and definitely complicated!

There's a lot you can do on the bottom side without sacrificing the stage looks. A belly chamfer, a forearm contour, reduced thickness, thinner edges or a wedge shape like in https://www.projectguitar.com/forums/topic/54406-guitar-of-the-month-april-2022/?do=findComment&comment=609469...

I've seen guitars cupped like a spoon with the bottom side edges thinned to wedges. Dual cutaways instead of one, radiused top instead of flat... As long as you have space enough for the pickups and controllers you're golden!

kuva.png.2a7b66a85891c6c64f29926d5a0f9c8e.png

 

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15 hours ago, Nicco said:

If I was using a 5mm top cap, I'd just hog out a bunch of material from the body blank and then seal it up, but given I'm wanting to use a veneer, I'm not sure what my options are, if any?

How about laminating your veneer to a plate of 5mm-ish  blackwood, and using that to cap off the hollowed out blackwood body as if you were using an equivalent thickness top cap? If you have access to a decent bandsaw you could even slice off the blackwood cap from the same piece used for the body blank, and the join where the two pieces are married together again would be pretty unobtrusive. A similar technique is used to make bandsaw boxes, albeit on a much smaller scale.

 

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Yeah, that would definitely work as well, Curtis. I have a bandsaw that is technically big enough, not sure if I trust it/myself enough yet though to try that on. Ha ha

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I was going to to suggest the same thing as @curtisa I did something similar with some epically heavy korina, I didn't use a veneer but I just sliced 1/4" off to top of each piece (2 piece blank) and treated it as a it's own top and I hid the join with binding. You could do that with the addition of the veneer, no one will ever know. In addition to chambers, you can always oversize your control cavity and make your pickup routes extra deep, they won't make much of a difference on their own but every little helps. 

6B8E093B-ACDF-4614-9A30-FCFEB003B4B8.thumb.jpg.149306a012c06e8e92903b397ee8018a.jpg

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weight is really important to me... so a while back I was weighing my guitars b4 and aft I did various cuts.  at the time had a tele that was solid body with a smugglers route being built along side an aggressively hollowed thinline.  I believe it may have been @curtisa or perhaps @Andyjr1515 who first told me that removing even a thin layer from the entire body would make a bigger difference than doing a deeper cut in a smugglers route or other.  Of course it's all about volume of wood removed but point is it's deceiving how much volume is removed making the whole body 1/4 thinner.

I found this info to be pretty spot on as when I did my radius cuts on the thinline that actually removed the most weight.  Long story long... just making your body really thin might be one option.  another thought is to use a radius jig (of course I would suggest that) would allow you to remove a lot of material but have a top that remains suitable for a veneer.  

another creative idea might be to resaw the body wood (similar to what curtisa is suggesting), hollow out the one part, then glue back together.

some other things that may help - make your control cavity really large.  

hope something there is usefull.

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8 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

I didn't use a veneer but I just sliced 1/4" off to top of each piece (2 piece blank) and treated it as a it's own top and I hid the join with binding.

If you go that route the slice that you laminate the veneer to doesn't even need to come from the same piece of wood as the body. If the join is hidden with binding you could get away with using just about anything as the 'top', and save the worry of trying to accurately remove the top face of the body on the bandsaw.

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1 hour ago, curtisa said:

If you go that route the slice that you laminate the veneer to doesn't even need to come from the same piece of wood as the body. If the join is hidden with binding you could get away with using just about anything as the 'top', and save the worry of trying to accurately remove the top face of the body on the bandsaw.

Absolutely agree, but my rationale for taking a slice off and reusing it is that (even with a veneer) I've got a bandsaw capable and that slither I take off without other wise end up in the dust collector. Or could otherwise be used for control covers, headstock veneer etc. 

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2 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

I've got a bandsaw capable and that slither I take off without other wise end up in the dust collector

But @Nicco is unsure whether he could do so, hence my suggestion to take on your idea and modify it slightly in such a way that he could avoid any uncertainty he might have regarding executing such a cut.

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Thanks guys, all really awesome suggestions. 

I like the approach of resawing a sliver of the body and using that as a cap again later; I definitely feel like when I'm more confident in my saw set up abilities that'll be an approach I would be keen to try out. 

For this next project I'll be able to use binding (unless I change my mind yet again, lol), so the idea of using another material as the under-cap and hiding it also works really well. 

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6 hours ago, Nicco said:

And @mistermikev, there are a couple of terms there I don't know, sorry. Smugglers route? And radius cut on the thinline? As in putting a radius over the body like Bizman suggested? 

sugglers route is just a term that has been used to describe what they did on some early fender teles.  basically they routed the area under the pickguard down to within 1/4" of the back.  

DSCN3327.JPG.8a461a8236af66333bf5eb867e0

afa radius top... this is what I meant:

DSCN3383.JPG.8d950be82ab57f8726b6abc6938

kind of like a fender aerodyne but semi hollow.

 

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4 hours ago, mistermikev said:

afa radius top... this is what I meant:

This is also the same I meant.

The jig is fancy and for a hollowed body it's almost essential. The two first radiused tops I made just by drawing the radius at the ends and the edge on the sides and used various tools like hand planes and a belt sander.

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3 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

This is also the same I meant.

The jig is fancy and for a hollowed body it's almost essential. The two first radiused tops I made just by drawing the radius at the ends and the edge on the sides and used various tools like hand planes and a belt sander.

right-o.  lot of dif ways to get to the church.

 

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