Build­ing a semi-hol­low body

The Shed - - Guitar Making -

1. Dave makes up the body blank from lam­i­nated re­cy­cled tim­ber. “I find rimu is safe from a tone and weight point of view. I also use matai and ma­hogany, and other thin strips for colour,” he says. The thick­ness of the back ranges from 32mm to 40mm. 2. Next Dave pre­pares the top. Usu­ally two pieces of book-matched 19x150mm, some­times with a cen­tre strip for looks. “Maple is the tra­di­tional choice for a semi-hol­low gui­tar but you can use what­ever looks and sounds good,” he ex­plains. “I have used rimu, ma­hogany, elm, wal­nut, and to­tara so far.” 3. He places one on the other, draws the out­line, and iden­ti­fies the neck pocket and pickup holes. He then screws the two pieces to­gether through the planned pickup holes. 4. Dave cuts out the shape with a band­saw and sands the edges (both top and bot­tom at the same time). 5. The bind­ing chan­nel is cut us­ing a router with a guide wheel.

6. Next he draws the shape of the carve he wants and uses the router to cut the shelf at the bot­tom of the carve.

7. The top is then sanded/cut down to a three to four per cent an­gle. The neck pocket is routed out and the carv­ing be­gins. Dave starts with chis­els and planes, fin­ish­ing with a scraper and sand­pa­per.

8. At this point he un­screws the top and, if build­ing a semi-hol­low, will carve the un­der­side. A Cus­tom­wood tem­plate is used to trace the f-hole shape which is cut out us­ing a scroll saw.

9. The top side of the bot­tom now needs chan­nels cut for the wiring as well as a cav­ity for the wiring and vol­ume knobs. For a semi-hol­low, there will also be a size­able cav­ity un­der the f-hole.

10. The top can now be glued on us­ing clamps and the same pickup-hole screws for plac­ing and clamp­ing. Dave uses Tite­bond wood glue.

11. The pickup holes are cut us­ing a jig.

12. The bind­ing is glued around the body, trimmed, and scraped. While dec­o­ra­tive, it also hides the end-grain on top.

13. The neck is at­tached al­low­ing the bridge to be fit­ted cor­rectly. Dave builds the necks for some and buys oth­ers. The Korean-made neck comes as a pad­dle, which he cuts into his sig­na­ture shape.

14. The fi­nal scrap­ing, sand­ing, and stain­ing take place.

15. Some­times a pick guard is fit­ted. Made from three-ply styrene or a pearloid ma­te­rial, Dave cuts them out with a scroll saw. He some­times in­lays paua, cats-eye, and mother-of-pearl.

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The fin­ished prod­uct, a So­lace Marl­bar­ian semi-hol­low gui­tar

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