Friday, 20 June 2014

Scratch Pine Body: Making a Cheap Blank

With a few kits under my belt, I am really feeling the call of the scratch build. While making my own neck still seems like a very tall ask, shaping and routing a body from scratch isn't beyond the borders of possibility. How hard could it be? Well, I aim to find out!

Now tone wood is generally expensive, and a pre-made body bank can set you back anywhere from $100 and up. Even the local lumber yard wants nearly $100 for the timber required to create a really nice 3-piece blank in mahogany, ash or Tasmanian blackwood. While Maple was the cheapest I was quoted, coming in at around $60 for the equivalent of a body blank, thats still a lot of money to go throwing away on a failed attempt.

And so, enter the pine body - a cheap way to earn my luthier chops without breaking the bank. Bunnings stock a 1.2m length of finished pine 45mm x 90mm that's just perfect for making 4-piece 45mm deep bodies. Just two of these 1.2m lengths, at $9 a pop, is all you need for a standard body blank - that less than $20 people! Much more within my comfort zone for learning this black art.

And so off to Bunnings I tromped and got me some pine - enough for two bodies. In no time each piece was halved into 600mm lengths and ready to be glued together with Titebond - the king of wood glues.

I slathered each side of each piece with Titebond - enough to drown a rather large horse - and then got the pieces all clamped together with 46mm clamps.

After I was engulfed (yet not consumed!) by the ensuing wave of escaping Titebond, I did a little cleanup and now must wait a couple of days for the glue to dry. Unfortunately I only have 4 clamps, so the second body will have to wait.

Once the glue dries, the next step will be squaring off the ends with my new (el-cheapo) bandsaw, and flattening off the top and bottom with 40 then 80 grit sandpaper. I'm really excited to see how this turns out, although I'm well aware that this is the *easy* part of the process. after this I'm going to have to think seriously about where this thing is headed!

A big thanks to Warren Gaull from 4D Guitars for suggesting the pine scratchy to me. You've stared me on the long road to luthier awesomeness Wokka!