How to build a guitar body out of scrap wood. In this case Cherry. Follow these steps and you will have a beautiful, unique, environmentally sensible, guitar body blank for your next guitar build.
Scrap wood (in this case Cherry)
Glue (in this case Titebond II)
Measuring Instruments (tape measure, caliper)
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Step 1: Build a Bed (or Something)
Build a bed or other piece of furniture for yourself, a friend, or a customer. In this case it was a bed for a customer who was also a friend.
Step 2: Collect the Left Over Scraps
Collect the left over scrap pieces, particularly those that have an odd size or shape that might not function well for other projects.... or that are particularly nice and would look good as a guitar body.
Step 3: Rip Those Pieces on a Table Saw
Cut the pieces so that at least one of the dimensions is as thick as you want your guitar body to be. I cut them to just over 1-3/4" (the typical width of a strat style guitar body) - you can make them thicker or thinner, as you please.
Step 4: Test Fit Your Pieces
Make sure you have enough width and length to create the body style you want. This body is about 16" wide and 20" on the longest side. Plenty of room for many standard American guitar bodies.
Note: If there are gaps between your boards, you will want to run them through a jointer or true them up with a hand plane. There is plenty of instructional information on how to do this, but you can ask me how, if you want more info. You want the pieces to fit tightly together when you glue them, otherwise you will have cracks and gaps in your finished body. This is less of an issue if you plan to paint it, but you might as well make it the best you can to begin with.
Step 5: Glue Up
Apply glue to your pieces, spread the glue (with your finger, a putty knife, a brush, a scrap of wood, etc), then clamp the pieces together. As you clamp the pieces, a small amount of glue should ooze from the joints. you will need to make sure that the pieces stay fairly flat and line up well, otherwise you will have to do more sanding and will loose some of your thickness. Leave the clamps on for the time length recommended on the glue bottle (or longer... over night is always good).
Step 6: Clean Up and Sand
Remove the clamps. Scrape off as much of the squeeze-out (excess glue). Sand. You can use belt sanders, hand sander, planes, scrapers, etc... to smooth out the surfaces of the body. I borrowed a friends drum sander. Just a few passes and I had a smooth, flat, body blank. My final width after sanding is 1-3/4".
Enjoy your finished project and start working on making your dream guitar!