Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Archtop Guitar Build - Smoothing the Plates

A carving jig was built to hold both plates while the surfaces are smoothed.  It doesn't have the cut away because it has to be able to hold the plates with either outside or inside profile showing.

I started with the maple back plate because if was going to mess up it was going to be on the back plate. I used 60 grit paper in a random orbit sander to connect the bases of each layer so that a smooth and fair profile was achieved.  The lower most layer (1/4 inch thick) was left untouched because this level has a rebate carved in it once the body is assembled. This rebate will decrease the thickness to 1/8 inch in an area just inside of the linings and will make the top more resonant.  Here is a photo of the rough finished back next to the unfinished top.
And here are a couple of more photos with a side light to show the profile carved into the back plate.

Here is the front plate, now also finished.
 I also built a bending station for the sides.  The maple test strip bent well with this set up and I now have a heat gun for a plexiglass bending project.

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