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DIY Guitar Build, Part 3: At The Router Table

DIY Guitar Build, Part 3: At The Router Table

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Welcome back to part 3 of our DIY guitar build, where I'm building a Fender Telecaster-styled guitar from scratch! In Part 3, I'm covering routing the control cavity, pickup cavities, and f-hole, plus shaping the guitar on the router table.

In case you missed Part 2 of our DIY Guitar build, I covered cutting the guitar body to rough shape on the bandsaw, resawing the top of the guitar, routing out the chambered areas of the body, and gluing the body back together. Check it out before watching Part 3!

DIY Guitar Materials:

Tools used in Part 2 of the DIY Guitar Build:

"DIY Guitar Build Part 3: At The Router Table" Steps:

The first step that appears in the video is me routing the neck pocket. DO NOT DO THIS! The only reason I did this is that I mistakenly routed the neck pocket previously and I need to fix my mistakes. Routing the neck pocket is one of the last things you should do to the guitar body before final finishing.

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The first step you should be doing next is cutting away most of the waste from the guitar body. Ideally, you'd use a bandsaw blade that was thin enough to follow the curves of the body's shape. I was a bit on the lazy side and left the blade that was already on the bandsaw, a resaw blade, on there, but it worked out fine.

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Next, I attached the routing template and routed out the pickup and control cavities using a plunge router and the 3/4" template bit I've been using during the rest of this project.

router table

Next, I headed over to the router table and started to trim away the excess wood and really start to get this guitar body close to its final shape. I probably should have removed more of the waste at the bandsaw prior to doing this, but it worked out OK. I did get some tear out, which was probably caused by the excess strain on the router from the extra wood. On the router table, I used the template bit we've been using plus a flush trim bit to complete the routing.

router table

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After finishing the shaping on the router table, it was time to cut the f-hole. This was probably the most intimidating cut on this guitar so far, as one slip up would be really obvious to anyone looking at the front of the guitar. Luckily, the downcut spiral bit did a superb job and I ended up with an extremely clean f-hole.

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At this point, the Telecaster is really starting to look like, well, a Telecaster! Obviously, the neck pocket needs quite a bit of work but I think it is salvageable. Woodworking is always a learning experience and it's just as much about learning to work with your mistakes as it is achieving perfection. Stay tuned for Part 4, where we'll drill the holes from the string ferrules and neck mounting bolts, roundover the edges of the body, and fit the neck!

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