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Cavities

 Now that I have the outer limit routed, and while the glue on the maple cap on the tele is drying, I turn to routing out the cavities on the strat using a the top bearing pattern router bit set from StewMac,  It's hard to find a better set than these, though I'm sure they exist - most have a longer cutting length, which can actually be a bit long in starting a cut  - and the smaller bit is handy for getting in those narrow channels and is even harder to find elsewhere.  I do have one, a 1/2" Freud bit with a 1" cutting length that was handy to have when the cavities started getting deep. 

I started out using a trim router as pictured (because they are just so very handy) but the cavities quickly filled with sawdust, so the full size unit (a Porter Cable 690) came out. 

 I did add the control cavity to the template - you might notice it wasn't there in previous photos.  My thoughts at the time were that it might be better to do it separately because it is so much deeper then the adjacent pickup cavity, and that if someday I wanted to to a rear-routed control cavity I could re-use the template. 

 I decided however that this particular template is nothing special, and that I'd likely be remaking it with lessons learned if I go forward with any more guitar builds.  So I fabricated a temporary "plug" to fill the pickup slot while the control cavity was being routed, just as I did on the back where the springs for the tremolo are mounted.

The tremolo is essentially a stepped through body hole, so to continue deeper the "plug" allows something for the bearing of the router bit to ride on. 

 The maple cap on the tele was dry, so I took it out of its clamps.  Remembering the tear out on the walnut, I spent some extra time at the oscillating sander getting the cap as close to the outline of the walnut as I dared - even though there will be binding on the outer edge, I want to avoid tear out as much as possible (duh!!).  I worked every edge until there was nothing sticking out past the walnut more than 1/32" or so. 

 Once I was satisfied I'd gotten it reasonably well, I fired up the trim router and went to work.   When finished, I checked around the entire perimeter of the body to look for both tear out and for any gaps left where the cap was glue onto the body. 

It went well, not a hint of tear out anywhere - I can only hope it goes that well when I route for the bindings.  The glue line was tight all the way around.   Woohoo!

 After I was done,  I took some mineral spirits and wiped the face of the cap down to see how it looked.  As I suspected, some white wood shows on the outside of the lower bouts...  I'm hoping the finish will even out the differences somewhat, we'll just have to see.

The flame looks pronounced enough... I'm excited to see what this B grade stuff will come out like.

 Here's the two bodies to date after routing the cavities into the tele body as well.  I didn't want to route the neck pockets until I have the necks made so I can use the actual necks for reference, so this is where they will stay for a bit while I get those made. 

Besides the neck pocket, the tele (as I mentioned) will get some binding.  The strat will get the standard contours and a 1/2" round over, but that is for a later post.

 Next post will be about the neck build.  The Tele will get a one-piece neck with a traditional truss rod from Warmoth that adjusts at the heel, the strat will get a homemade bullet-style truss rod.

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