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14. November 2011 · Comments Off on The maple top · Categories: Guitar Builds

We didn’t use a book matched maple set for this top. I found two boards that look very similar and glued them together with Titebond wood glue. After joining we planed the top to a 5/8″ thickness. Trace the body outline from the template to the maple board. You will be using the center seam as your center line throughout this build so make sure it accurate. Rough cut the maple using a bandsaw and leave about 1/8″ at the outer edge. You will be trimming the extra with a router once the top is glued to the mahogany body.

Maple top rough cut from bandsawTrace the pickup routes onto the maple top using one of the templates. Drill two pilot holes in the pickup pocket to help you when gluing the maple top to the body. Carefully clamp the top to the body to dry fit without glue. Once everything is lined up, screw two drywall screws into predrilled holes.

Test fit of maple to mahogonyRemove the screws and separate the two pieces. Tape the edge of the mahogany body to protect it from glue squeeze out. I used hide glue but you can also use titebond to join the two pieces. When working with hide glue you need to work quickly. Make sure you plan out the steps ahead of time and have everything within easy reach. Spread on the glue to the top and body and leave about 1/4″ of space around the wire channel and controls cavities. Spread a nice even coat that isn’t to thick. Join the two pieces and line up the center lines. Screw the two drywall screws. These will help things from shifting during assembly. Start clamping and make sure to keep checking the center line. I end up using most of the clamps I own. Don’t forget to get clamps into the center area.

Maple top being glued to bodyAfter the glue has dried overnight you can remove the clamps. Flush trim the top to body with a router. Finish the sides by using an oscillating spindle sander for the inside curves and a block sand for the outer curve. Spend a lot of time to ensure a smooth surface. Use your hand and a good light source.

Maple top routed to backAnother picture of maple top routed to backNext I drill small pilot holes for the volume/tone controls, and toggle switch. One thing I should have done was drill the pilot holes for the tailpiece. Doing this now while the surface is flat is a lot easier than when you already have the carved top.

Body already for top carveOur next update we will take a break from the body and work on the fingerboard.

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