Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Archtop Guitar Build - Carving the Plates (making the plateaus)

The Safe-T Planer that was described in the last post was used in conjunction with the templates from an earlier post to make the initial carving of the top and back plates.  The plates were cut to within 3/16ths of an inch from their final profile.  I left the extra material because the sides have not yet been bent and I don't want to risk having the top and back plates end up being too small to covert the sides.  These can easily be trimmed up later.  The plates were also slightly over sized thickness wise because I wanted to be sure that during the glue up, I didn't end up with a plate that was too thin to have the final profile cut into it.

The templates were used to mark the locations of each of the "topo lines" for the top and back plates.  I started from the highest point and removed all of the material until everything ended up 1/8 inch low to the top plateau.  I continued using the Safe-T Planer until all of the profiles had been cut.  Because the plates were slightly over thick I then made sure that the lowest level was exactly at 1/4 inch and trimmed each successive level to 1/8 inch above the one below it so that the final profiles were exactly what they needed to be.  It took about 3-4 hours to do this and here is the end result, maple to the left and spruce to the right.

Next I will build a carving jig to hold the plates while I connect the perimeters of the levels to make a smooth arch.

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