Hand Tools Only?

I would like to build a sold body. But I do not own a router nor have ever used one. Does anyone notch the back with hand tools? Any tips or pointers?? TIA!

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  • Here is an example of my work. The top piece is my veneer which is a 1/8" thick of birch ply by Revel (yup, like the model kits). I get these at the art store.


  • Good info, thank you Gents!

    • The above mentioned tools are great along with a set of sharp chisels and hammer.

  • My first 3 solid bodies, I did with just a drill, jigsaw and a handsaw.

    As Pickedmoor Jon suggested,  a paper template will help to bring your design to reality.  Have one ready before cutting some wood.

    I have a router but I never used it to carve out bodies from wood.  My trusty Black & Decker drill and Craftman jigsaw does that job well for me.  My method is that I use layers of plywood.  I cut out the body shape from 1/4 inch ply. With the template, I can cut out 6 body shapes identical.  The first 3 shapes, I cut out the cavities for the  neck, electronics and humbuckers (good to have a template of that too). For the forth shape, I deepen those cavities a little bit further but not completely through the wood. The fifth and sixth, I leave alone.  Then glue all 6 shapes together, clamp it for an hour or two and viola, you have a body. Its way easy to stack the body like that than to route out a 2 inch thick piece of wood.

    Of course, at that point, the edges will be crooked, with an 80 grit sanding drum bit you can smooth it all down. Or, what I did, before I had that sanding bit, I smoothed the sides with a putty resin. Kind of like ceramic clay but this stuff turns to hard plastic. Then I spray paint it all.  But if you want to keep the wood grains showing, then use a sanding drum bit. They come in many sizes, small ones are cheap and thats the one I use on my drill.

    Happy building. :D

  • Hi T

    You could try with a paper template and forstner bits, it's what I used before I owned a router

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