One piece Body blank weight relief

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
10,054
Altered States
I marked it out on the back and top side and with a handsaw cut to the back mark and top side mark every 1/2” or so, then chiselled out the timber between the cuts and tidied it up with razor rasps.

I was worrying about how to do it as I’ve not got a big bandsaw that I think some people use and I’ve done it before with a chainsaw (seriously) but it wasn’t easy or pleasant. I was going to get one of those planer/carving things for a 4” grinder but last night just tried how I mentioned and it was easy

Interesting approach. I was thinking a coping saw for hand cutting but I'm thinking it's going to be a long day sawing. Or the 40 grit on the orbital... messy but gentle in a way.
 

Tsjackson

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 15, 2016
1,455
UK
Interesting approach. I was thinking a coping saw for hand cutting but I'm thinking it's going to be a long day sawing. Or the 40 grit on the orbital... messy but gentle in a way.
Initially i did cut about an inch with my coping saw… but every pull the length of the cut got longer and progress got slower and harder… I would highly recommend cutting down into the belly cut with a saw and removing the vast majority of waste with a chisel. Then rasps or files or sandpaper or whatever are only removing minimal material.

I marked the shape of my carve out in sharpie and kept an eye on both lines when I was cutting, stopping when the saw was around 3-4mm away from my line. As the grain changes in the middle of the carve (I should’ve started removing from the other way but didn’t) I did get tearout but because I gave myself that tolerance with the saw cut I was able to clean up past it.

If I do it again I would chisel in from each end and meet in the middle to avoid that happening, but it wasn’t the end of the world
 

Tsjackson

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 15, 2016
1,455
UK
3kg! Gulp! My ash strat HT had a 2.5kg body and that finished up 8.8lbs. solid rosewood neck was a bit heavier than maple, but you're looking at about 9.5lbs of axe there dude.
Does look nice though.
Yeah I’m not excited about the finished weight… im making a neck out of the same timber that was going to be for this but given the weight I think that neck will be for something else and il put a maple neck on this.

I’ve double checked my cavity depths and I can loose another 10mm out of the control cavity and neck pickup. And I’m going to send the drill in as far as possible when I drill for the Jack socket.

Not that I think this will all equate to 1/2 a kg but it’ll help. I had considered trying to find an aluminium control plate and bridge plate but I’m going to finish it with standard gear initially and see what it’s like
 

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
10,054
Altered States
If you're using a pickguard, couldn't you do a variation on a swimming pool route all under where the pick guard will be and take out a bunch of weight?

I thought you were going for the no-guard look.
 

Archtops

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2021
610
SoCal
I’ve considered taking the 1 3/4” body and slicing 3/16” off the whole top, routing (chambering) the body then glue the thin slice back on over the whole top to reduce weight. IDK
 

jvin248

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 10, 2014
5,827
Michigan
.

I'd go next time with just a bubinga top and pine or alder back to keep weight manageable yet still get the look you're after. If you did a one piece body 'for tone', all that weight reduction tricks would reverse the myths.

Careful with router round over radius. A bigger radius than standard will make the guitar feel a lot thinner, surprising how much a little radius change does. Especially since you thinned the body. You will feel like you are playing a Squier-thin.

.
 

Tsjackson

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 15, 2016
1,455
UK
If you're using a pickguard, couldn't you do a variation on a swimming pool route all under where the pick guard will be and take out a bunch of weight?

I thought you were going for the no-guard look.
That is an option I’m not aposed to, I’m going to see what it’s like assembled as is and if it’s too much I will be doing a swimming pool route
 

Tsjackson

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 15, 2016
1,455
UK
I’ve considered taking the 1 3/4” body and slicing 3/16” off the whole top, routing (chambering) the body then glue the thin slice back on over the whole top to reduce weight. IDK
I’ve got no way to do that, unfortunately. Otherwise I agree that would’ve been the best way to reduce the weight. What I could’ve done is ripped the blank in half, chambered the half’s and then glued them back together but for some reason I was excited about the one piece body haha
 

Tsjackson

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 15, 2016
1,455
UK
.

I'd go next time with just a bubinga top and pine or alder back to keep weight manageable yet still get the look you're after. If you did a one piece body 'for tone', all that weight reduction tricks would reverse the myths.

Careful with router round over radius. A bigger radius than standard will make the guitar feel a lot thinner, surprising how much a little radius change does. Especially since you thinned the body. You will feel like you are playing a Squier-thin.

.
I actually did the roundover and some sanding, my only issue with telecasters is I find them uncomfortable to play so the thin body and roundover will just make it more comfy. No illusions that it won’t feel like a fender telecaster.

I wasn’t committed to the one piece body for any reason really, just rare that I get hold of anything big enough to do it with. Not worried about tone or anything with or without weight relief solutions, ultimately this was just a good excuse for me to make a body. Every time I do it I learn something, I feel like I’ve learned quite a lot doing this one. Most importantly to be pickier about the weight of the timber I use!
 

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
10,054
Altered States
I actually did the roundover and some sanding, my only issue with telecasters is I find them uncomfortable to play so the thin body and roundover will just make it more comfy. No illusions that it won’t feel like a fender telecaster.

I wasn’t committed to the one piece body for any reason really, just rare that I get hold of anything big enough to do it with. Not worried about tone or anything with or without weight relief solutions, ultimately this was just a good excuse for me to make a body. Every time I do it I learn something, I feel like I’ve learned quite a lot doing this one. Most importantly to be pickier about the weight of the timber I use!

It won't be that heavy. Might want a wider strap if you plan to do a show with it for 2.5 hours. But otherwise... meh.
 

Tsjackson

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 15, 2016
1,455
UK
It won't be that heavy. Might want a wider strap if you plan to do a show with it for 2.5 hours. But otherwise... meh.
Haha I’ve not played a set that long since covid, can’t see it happening again anytime soon
 

wooders

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 19, 2021
1,773
Kent
A forearm contour and an am ultra heel contour will love a bit of weight off. Also routing for humbucker/p90s/singles will do the same.
 

Tsjackson

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 15, 2016
1,455
UK
An update, I’ve assembled it with my strat neck just to see what it’s like and as usual I’ve gotten impatient.

E4732AD3-68AB-4E58-8898-A69201EAD51C.jpeg F4B49B73-FF46-4904-851B-6E2652B7C4F7.jpeg

I’ve had a right arse trying to finish it, was hoping to get a flat gloss finish using oil (osmo) but I think the timber itself is too oily and it’s not allowing the oil to dry as im used to. In the spring I will be clear glossing it, which is a shame but I want it to be shiny.

I am now making a neck for it, the shaft is of the same timber and the fretboard is Ebony.

Thoughts so far is I love it! So comfortable to sit and stand with, it is heavy (not weighed it yet but it’s definitely heavy) but I think because the body is skinny it’s a reassuring weight not cumbersome.

really annoyingly I’ve leant my Allen keys to my sister and none of the ones I’ve got for my other guitars fit the saddle screws so I can’t set it up.
 

EAllen

Strat-Talker
Jan 24, 2019
389
Bargersville, Indiana
Just an FYI for future reference. The most sure fire path to weight relief is chambering. I dominately do full thinline body routes to lighten heavy bodies. Of course that requires some sort of top after chambering. People commonly use a differt wood type but that isn't the only option.

By starting with an over thick body or adding an accent stripe on reglue you can resaw the top off, chamber it, and glue the top back on. The challenge is how do you saw the top off a 13" wide body. Where there is a will there's a way. My preference is to cheat & use my bandsaw with a 14" resaw capacity as shown in the pic.

Since many don't have that option a bandsaw with a 6.5" resaw will also work. Start with a body blank about 3/16" wider than needed. Cut the body lengthwise down the centerline on a table saw leaving two 6.5" hide halves. Now resaw the top off each half. Joint the lower body halves on the centerline & the top & glue them back together. Now your ready to do a full chamber route. Once routed joint all the top glue surfaces and glue the top onto the body. If you have a don't have a bandsaw you can also cut the top off using a table saw with the blade raised all the way. Cut the top off each side with a pass on each edge.
20220530_113108.jpg 20220530_113408.jpg
 
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Tsjackson

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 15, 2016
1,455
UK
Just an FYI for future reference. The most sure fire path to weight relief is chambering. I dominately do full thinline body routes to lighten heavy bodies. Of course that requires some sort of top after chambering. People commonly use a differt wood type but that isn't the only option.

By starting with an over thick body or adding an accent stripe on reglue you can resaw the top off, chamber it, and glue the top back on. The challenge is how do you saw the top off a 13" wide body. Wher3 there is a will there's a way. My preference is to cheat & use my bandsaw with a 14" resaw capacity as shown in the pic.

Since many don't have that option a bandsaw with a 6.5" resaw will also work. Start with a body blank about 3/16" wider than needed. Cut the body lengthwise down the centerline on a table saw leaving two 6.5" hide halves. Now resaw the top off each half. Joint the lower body halves on the centerline & the top & glue them back together. Now your ready to do a full chamber route. Once routed joint all the top glue surfaces and glue the top onto the body. If you have a don't have a bandsaw you can also cut the top off using a table saw with the blade raised all the way. Cut the top off each side with a pass on each edge.
View attachment 608098 View attachment 608099
i will be doing something like this in a few projects time, for no real reason I was interested in doing a one piece body.

After I’ve finished the neck for this tele I’m planning a through neck jazzmaster and then was contemplating a thinline of some sort. A good excuse for me to buy a bandsaw!
 

Geoff06

Strat-O-Master
Nov 15, 2021
557
Wisconsin
@Tsjackson, That looks gorgeous!

Regarding the belly cut, a spindle sander can work well too. With a little care, it's fairly easy to end up with a really smooth result, with no real "ripples," as long as you're careful with the pressure and movement of the body. Final sanding can still even out any inconsistencies though. I was really happy with the result on a strat body I made back in about 2013.
 


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