RSL

Body Tutorial v2.3

Matt Wickham

In this next section the tutorial will go through installing the tremolo unit and veneering as well as applying the Binding around the edges of the body.

First we will start off with the installation of the tremolo, it is very important that its installed properly and I have been asked is it necessary to attach it to oak. Answer is yes but it can be any hard wood, Mahogany, Oak, Walnut, ect…

The main parts that need be installed in to the guitar before the veneer is glued on is knife edge and bolt retainer.

Knife edge counter sunk, into the top, Bolt retainer plate flush with the face of the oak

Before the body is glue together an opening for the Jack is made, This is also on the original.

Once this is done the body is glued and sanded level, with the veneer covering the knife edge sanded flush with the top of the body, all the surfaces are levelled and the 2 sections of the body is screwed and glued together, with the screws countersink is filled and sanded level.The surfaces are then cleaned of dust, this is the preparation for gluing veneer.

To glue the veneer, I suggest you use contact adhesive. This glue is applied to both surfaces in a thin layer, this is then left for around 10 – 15 min’s to go tacky. When the surfaces are together the stick instantly! I use 0.6 mm Veneer so it’s flexible for the sides but it’s also very fragile, I also use it for the top and back veneers. Veneer comes in big sheets, usually 2 / 3 sheets will do.

TIP - When applying veneer I use a warm iron, this heats the veneer and makes it easier to play with and also squeezes any air bubbles out so it sits flat on the body and doesn’t ripple.

Top Left: Jack Opening counter sunk back
Middle: With Veneer Over The Knife Edge
Right: Top and Back Veneer applied with Contact Adhesive

Side Veneer

This is the most delicate bit of veneering, although the very thin veneer is very flexible it is prone to crack and break. As the sides of the body and some corners are a bit shape this enhances the risk of the veneer breaking.

TIPS

  • Firstly Cut the veneer off in lengths maybe around 300 mm Long and 40 mm wide, this makes it easier to pickup and glue and stick on.
  • Before applying glue I soak the veneer in water, again this makes it more supple and easier to bend around the horns of the guitar.

These side veneers are again stuck down with contact adhesive and held in place with masking tape if its needed.

Left: The veneer cut into 38mm wide Strips
Right: A picture of when the side veneer has been applied

Binding

The binding I am using is 0.60, to make the channel I am using a router with a small ball bearing guide with a larger cutter.The depth I go is around 3 - 5mm deep as I believe this is what the original is.

0.60 Binding Cutter

TIP - This is a very important tip, when routing the binding go In a clock-wise direction, if you do not do this the cutter will rip the veneer and you may end up re-veneering the guitar.

When the upper and lower binding channels have been routed they should look like below:

Binding channels cut 5mm deep

Applying the binding

The binding is made of plastic, I pre bend my binding to make it easier to glue in to place. I hold the binding in place with masking tape while I pre bent the binding, the way I did this was I heated the binding with a hair drier.

The glue I use to glue the binding is super glue, I first damped the wood with a rag and apply the super glue, I hold the binding in place with yet more masking tape, If you have pre bent the binding hopefully you will not need too much to hold the binding in place.

Above left: Binding being pre bent ready for glue
Above middle: Binding being glued to the body with Super glue
Above Right: Binding drying over night

Once this done to all the binding, I make sure its flush with the side of the guitar, I do this by using a flush router bit. You can also do this with a Barrel sander which can be attached to hand drill or Pillar drill.

Left: The binding routed flush
Right: The side of the body, being sanded and levelled.

The binding was then scrapped with a knife and it was wet and dried and slightly radiused on the top edge, This is because the lacquer will not build up on sharp edges so they are slightly radiused on the edges.

Continue the body tutorial with Building a Body v3.3, where we will be applying the finishing touches like pickup holes and depths, and colour.

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