Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Most Unsmoothest Cut

I took advantage of the beautiful Chicago weather today and roughed out the body for the baritone. First I made a template from poster board which I had around the house for some long ago abandoned art project:

I did this by tracing the cutaway half of my ASAT and carefully scoring a center line w/ a pen and my carpenter's square, folding it in half and cutting it out. I've been doing this stuff since preschool and never was really good at it but I took my time and used the square so it came out pretty true. I then used my square again to get aligned on the mahogany [impossible to spell!] and I traced it w/ a Bic engineering pencil.

The line doesn't come out too well in the picture but it's easy enough to see in person. In the next week I'm going to use the poster board stencil to trace a proper template to use w/ my router. It would probably have made sense to make the template before anything else but, what can I say, I'm a rebel. I took the blank outside and clamped it to my Workmate:

The cheaper alligator-clip style clamps actually worked better than the other ones. I ended up using five of those and only using the other ones where I had too. I was worried the Workmate wouldn't be sturdy enough but it held up great though some moments I did have to put my foot on it to keep it from toppling. I need to be more careful about placement and I think I will be fine.

The cutting went surprisingly easily. The Bosch blades were really great and cut quite smoothly. If this had been less thick wood and had I only needed to cut straight lines, there would be very little work to me done to get the wood ready for finish. I only had two problems.

Exhibit 1: Trying to cut too close to the line and not making enough relief cuts.

This is along the bottom of the guitar. I think I will just proceed as planned and maybe plane off a little of the bottom (and I doubt I will even have to do that once it's sanded).

Exhibit 2: Trying to turn the blade like a retard.

It's bent as if it were malleable and ductile material placed under high stress due to misuse. I'm just glad I had three of them. The next one I was more careful w/, which not only worked better but was safer.

It came out pretty well in the end:

Obviously a rough cut but I got rid of most of the excess wood. (I kept the scraps to test out finishes.) The horns were tough so I was cautious and left some extra wood there. Overall, I call the day a success and think I really earned this:

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