Sunday, 22 June 2014

Scratch Pine Body: MDF Templates

Today I roughed out some MDF templates that will be used to shape the Toronado body and route out the pickup and control cavities. I started by printing the pdf template over multiple A4 pages using Adobe PDF Reader and sticking them together with tape. This was then cut out and pasted on to 12mm MDF using spray on adhesive. This allowed me to roughly cut around the guitar shape using my el-cheapo bandsaw.

After the bandsaw, I used the bench sander to finish off the convex curves on the sides of the body template. I'm very happy with the resulting edges of the template - nice clean lines with which to route the final pine body shape.

For the tight concave curves, the banch sander was not an option. Instead, I used two sizes of Josco Brumby flap wheels which, when attached to the chuck of my even more el-cheapo drill press, allowed me to make quick work of them. This completed the smoothing of the template sides.

Lastly, the pickup and switch cavities were added to the template. This was achieved using the drill press to create the rounded corners, the jigsaw to join them up, and the flap wheels to clean and smooth the sides. I opted for creating a "swimming pool" type cavity for the pickups this time around. I'll be relying on the pickguard to cover the cavity similar to a strat.  As my experience with the router is very limited (ie none at all), the easier I make the routing on myself the better.

With the body template created, the next template required (and to be honest the most important), was the neck pocket. To rough this out, I first consulted the (printed) PDF template to get a feel for the overall neck cavity required. The neck was then placed on top of this PDF template to determine how the neck heel compared with the template, and how the neck would be oriented on top of the neck base.

This was traced to get the rough shape of the very heel of the neck, and the resulting cavity was roughed out using the drill press and jig saw. Once shaped, the neck was fitted into the cavity and refined using successive applications of the bastard file until a tight fit was obtained.

I'm still not sure if what I am doing is correct, or whether it will end in utter disaster; especially where the neck pocket is concerned. I guess I just need to keep on going and see how it turns out. I'm a bit skeptical that in my hands the bastard file has produced a neck pocket template with sides that are sufficiently straight, clean and even. It's a tight fit and all, but now I'm worried that the neck isn't going to be straight with respect to the rest of the guitar. I don't know how to alleviate this worry other than to forge ahead and see what happens...