Planing the top

Text-only update tonight:

I wanted to plane down my flamed maple top, because both the body and top came in thicker than I’d ordered or than I counted on. The body is 37 mm instead of 35 mm and the top is 8.5 mm instead of 7 mm. This gave me, together with the wenge veneer, a total thickness of 46.1 mm, which I do not like. Too thick.

So, I made a router jig with the router on top (handheld mode), but since the pressure varies when operating the router, the result came out to be very inconsistent, a.k.a. awkward. Really. So, today, I’ve made a large sled like the one from the cavity cover and used that to plane the maple. Had to take of a bit more, but now the result is much better. Since I do not press down the sled (only move it around holding the sides) and the router is fixed, this is obvious a better way. Although, it still needs some sanding and I’ve got a deviation of about 0.20 to 0.25 mm.. top thickness right now is about 5.75 mm and the total thickness will be 43.2 mm.

There was another difficulty: one half was slightly bowed and I needed to press it down while routing / planing. This is where the sled worked better too: I clamped the top tightly against the sled and countersunk some screws in there to keep it flat.

Now, I still need to sand the halves some more, get the joint right (and planed correctly), glue the two halves together, cut out the body shape and sand the top flat.. this was certainly not a very good idea and I’m very curious if I get a good looking top with an almost perfect glue joint like on my first bass…

Conclusion: I will never try to ‘plane’ large surfaces again with my router and self made jigs… I really need to start looking for an affordable jointer and thickness planer. Or I’ll visit a local cabinet maker for the remaining parts of this bass.

When I proceed with the top, I’ll post some more pictures.