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Want to start hand routing guitar bodies...

Discussion in 'DIY Strat Forum' started by bickleyt, Oct 20, 2017.

  1. bickleyt

    bickleyt Strat-Talk Member

    Jun 21, 2016
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi All!

    Completed a few partscasters in my time but I want to take it that one step further and start routing my own guitar body shapes and configurations.

    My carpentry skills are sufficient but I have never built / routed a guitar body from scratch before.

    Any threads with builds or resources that could get me on my way would be massively appreciated.

    Also any advice I should know before getting started?

    Cheers guys!

  2. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 4, 2013

  3. Smelf36

    Smelf36 Strat-Talker

    Jul 17, 2016
    YouTube is your friend, literally 1000's of videos on exactly this. Im like you, have completed a couple of partcasters, the second involved some routing adjustments, so I have an idea, but I'm about to start my 1st home built body so I'm trawling through all the vids I can for advice and tips.
    bickleyt likes this.

  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014

    Draw up your body, print at full size x2 (so you make one with and one without neck pocket and pickups), glue the paper to 1/2in plywood. Hand cut and shape to the lines. Use that template to make a 3/4inch MDF template. Put away the original plywood template to make others/repair your working template.

    Pencil trace the working template on your body blank, saw around close to the line (band saw or coping saw), clamp the template on and route to size.

    Make your preferred wood blank but also make a one or two other blanks (perhaps 3/4 pine with 1/4 poplar or maple glued on top). It is not much more difficult to make three bodies at a time than it is to make one. If you start all your cuts on the cheapest lumber you'll also make mistakes there before you get to the fancy wood. Of course, you can end up with three very nice bodies and there is no problem in that ;)


  5. Greg

    Greg Strat-Talker

    Apr 25, 2017
    Atlanta area

  6. vid1900

    vid1900 Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 25, 2016
    Using a pattern making router bit, make yourself some templates from other guitars you have.

    If you have a classic strat, take the pickguard & neck off, and rout yourself a template that includes the tremolo cavity. The distance between the neck pocket and tremolo is a good thing to have.

    If you have a bathtub routed guitar, make one of those templates too. They can really lighten up a heavy body.

    We use 1/4" clear acrylic for our templates, but you can use MDF or Baltic Birch plywood if you just want a cheap and quick.
    bickleyt likes this.

  7. bickleyt

    bickleyt Strat-Talk Member

    Jun 21, 2016
    Birmingham, UK
    Guys thanks for input... massivley helpful :)

    I feel like i am making a massive thing of it when really i just need to bite the bullet and give it a go.

    Got myself a nice little bandsaw on the way and I'm going to get practising on some test pieces of cheap MDF / birch ply.

    Thanks again. I will of course update you all with progress as I go! :)

  8. Jimgchord

    Jimgchord Strat-Talker

    Jan 29, 2016
    New york
    Don't use 1/2 material for your master templates, use 1/4 mdf it's a million times easier to sand to final shape. Then use that to make your 1/2 working templates. Bandsaw your body blanks to within 1/16 of final then use a 3/4 inch top-bearing bit in a big router to template rout to final shape.