Chambered and Capped
With the maple cap glued up and drying, it's time to jump onto the main walnut body for the tele style.
I grabbed the ever hated router with the most hated bit - a rather nasty 2" cutting depth Freud flush trimming bit. It's 3/4" in diameter, has a 1/2" shank, and is a serious bit - I love Freud tools, I've always been impressed with their quality. This bit really belongs in a router table, but my router table is too pitiful to handle such a manly thing. I'm not afraid to tell you, using this bit freehand scares the bejeezus outta me... but then again, I am more of a hand tool guy.
So, I screwed the template to my cutout, and clamped the whole affair to my bench and went to work. I would be remiss if I didn't also point out the mistakes along the way... There will be many, I'm sure, but hopefully readers can learn from them as much as I...
It went pretty well except for the one spot - a usual trouble spot when using such a testosterone-laden chunk of carbide and steel. It's not too bad - I can sand some of it out, and fill what's left, more on that later.
So - the walnut I have is OK, but it's rather heavy. I decided I would chamber the body - remove wood where it's not important to the function of the guitar.
There is a precedent - Fender produces a line of guitars known as "Thinline" that are essentially hollowed out in the same manner, with an F-hole carved through the top on one side.
I'm not going to do the f-hole, but I will be chambering the body. I first mark out the body, and drill out the majority of the waste with a forstner bit.
A router with a pattern bit finished up the job, and the body is ready for the top to be glued to it. For that. I use Franklin's hide glue - I would use hot glue, but the extended time the bottled stuff allows is nice once in while. That - and lots of clamps:
Once the glue dries I'll trim the maple cap flush with the walnut. It's at this point that I realized I'd forgotten to route the wiring channels (to run wires between the pickups and control cavity) before gluing on the cap. No big deal, it just would have been an easy thing to do, but now I'll just have to drill holes in the same manner as one would normally on a solid body with no cap.
It went better this time - I took a little more care and prepped it a little better, using the oscillating sander to sand the body as close to the template line as I dared. In hindsight, I wonder if using the behemoth pattern bit is really that wise - it might have been better to make several rounds by taking a little bit at a time with a smaller, less aggressive bit. Or to use a decent router table instead of freehanding it.
Anyway, in the next post I'll route the control and pickup cavities for both bodies.