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Body Work

Now that I have the templates constructed, it's ime to get to work on the axes themselves.  The strat-style guitar will get an alder 2 piece body painted a solid color.  For the Tele-style guitar, I'm going to go another route and use up some stock I have on hand.  the main body will be walnut, from a 6/4 board I've had for about 20 years, with a flamed maple cap.  The flame maple is nothing spectacular in and of itself, but it should look nice enough with a sunburst finish applied to it.

Here you can see the maple cap after its sawn - there's a good deal of heartwood, but I've found that's not always such a bad thing.  Finished change the color of wood so much, and I've also found that I like the challenge of working with the natural appearance of woods.

Of course, I'd rather have the AAAAA rated stuff....  but what the hey, I had this on hand.

I use hot hide glue whenever I can - and when I can't, I'm just as likely to use the Franklin hide glue in a bottle.  I've had such good luck with them over the years that it's hard for me to imagine using anything else...

I still use titebond on occasion, but I've noticed the expiration date on the small bottle I have is long past.  So it's really not that often it gets pulled out.

Once I've planed the edges of the bookmatched maple true, I spread on some hide glue on them.  Because the plates are pretty thin, regular clamps don't work well so I use a quickly cobbled together home-made clamping affair.  

The two outer rails of the "clamp" are screwed to a particle board or plywood substrated just close enough so when the bookmatched pieces are dropped into place there is just a little force needed to push them flat.  Wax paper keeps the glue from making the maple stick to the caul, and some scrap pine hold the plates down.

While the glue is hot and ready, I also glue the alder and walnut blanks together.  When the glue has set, I run the body blanks through my drum sander so they are both level with each other.  I then draw the outlines off of the templates onto them and cut the bodies staying about a 1/16" or so outside of the line.

Once the glue has set on the maple cap, I also take it out of the clamp and run it through the drum sander and draw the outline to see how the grain works.

 Next up I'll add some chambering to the walnut to lighten it up a bit before I glue the maple cap on.