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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there. That's my first post here and accept my apologies if that has been answered before, but I couldn't find the answers to my questions.
First thing first I have zero experience in any sort of woodworking. But I' pretty advanced in watching almost every Youtube video on the topic :)
Now, I'm planning as a hobby to make a couple of electric bass guitars for my personal use and for fun. I can imagine I will need the router for 4 tasks only. It will hardly be used for anything else.
1. Cutting the body contours with a template (firstly roughly cutting it with a jigsaw)
2. Create the bevelled edges
3. Cut the pickups and neck cavities (I reckon a plunge router is a must here?)
4. Use it on a router sled to flatten the slabs of wood I'm gonna use for the body.

The first type of wood I have in mind is Swamp Kauri (~30 000 years old). According to the guy that sold the wood, it is not a very hardwood and is easy to work with. As that's a bit rarer and expensive wood I may first try with something cheaper to master my skills a bit :)

So my questions are. Should I go after a 1/2" model or 1/4" will suffice? Is it a good idea to use a plunge router on a router sled?
Again, that's just a hobby and I'm trying to minimise the costs as much as possible, so I'm looking at the lower price end. I have a couple of models in mind, but I can't post links here still. They are the cheapest Ryoby 1/2" model (Ryobi 1600W Plunge Router) and the cheapest B&D and Bosh 1/4" models (Black+Decker Router 1200 Watt and Bosch 1200 Watt Router 1200 Watt Green).

Any other recommendations? Am I missing anything I should ask/concider?
 

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Hey, Nick; welcome! Just a suggestion, but you might want to do some skill building projects before doing the guitars. Maybe make some small boxes or/and a breadboard or three?
Lots of YouTube vids on those items.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, guys!
The combo router looks great, but it's above the budget. Moreover, I'm limited in my choice to what's available here in New Zealand, which is usually not much :)
And yes, I'm definitely starting practising on something else, rather than the actual guitar.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
How thick is the guitar body? A 1/4" router wont cut much more than an inch thick.
A 1/2" router can cut almost 2"
Just measured my guitar. 43 mm (~1.7"). That's the total thickness and the router will be used to trim the body around a template. I will first cut the body 1-3 mm bigger than the template with a jigsaw, so there's not gonna be a lot of material to be removed. The cavities are about half that deep: ~20 mm (0.8"), but probably less. The biggest cavity is the neck pocket: 2.5" x 3.875" x 0.625" deep. What I have seen on various forums and Youtubes is that majority of people use drill press + forstner bit for the cavities to remove the bulk of the material first.
 

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I would go with a used 1/2" from eBay or Craigslist (if you have Craigslist) and I would find a cabinet shop or someone that has a thickness planer or a good bandsaw to get the wood down to where you need it. It doesn't sound like the kind of wood that you want to be using something as crude as a router on. If you were doing a huge slab then the sled idea would be fine. It would be fine because there really isn't any practice way ( for a hobbyist) of flattening a huge board. I'm sure that you want the best job that you can do and to get it you really shouldn't depend on a router to do the complete job.
 

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For flattening, you can do something very simple. Below is a pix of a variation on an exact width dado jig. With the opening a bit larger than the flattening bit, and side rails that hold your router fairly snug, but still able to slide freely, it will work for flattening. Pix of half inch shank bit is the type to use for flattening.

Been a very long time since I had anything to do with guitars, but I know that whatever the body is made of, you will need to make the neck of something like hard maple. The forces when you tune the strings will warp most softer woods.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey Tom. Thank for the advice. It took me 1-2 Youtube videos to find out what the exact width dado jig does :) Does it have any advantages over a router sled for flattening?

Regarding the neck, I'm gonna cheat a bit here. I'm still not confident enough to make my own so for the first project, I'm using an ebay piece or probably one of the few I have laying around. But, yes, I reckon making the neck will be much more fun, so definitely I'm gonna try one with another project. And definitely maple (+ rosewood or mahogany for the fretboard).

Cheers!
 
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