Well the last couple of days have been something of an education! Lesson number 1 is that I should have done a lot more practice on pieces of scrap wood. Lesson number 2 is that if there’s something you don’t want a router to do, that’s what is going to happen. It is a sort of woodworking Murphy’s law in action. But looking on the bright side, I’ve still got all of my fingers.
The project is still on track but I’ve got a lot of remedial sanding to do. At this stage my biggest worry is that my first cut (on the lowest step) was too deep. I’d planned to take the maple cap down to 5mm, which I did. On reflection, I wish I’d cut it to 8 or 9mm. Flaws in my router technique mean that I’ve got a lot of sanding to do and there is a real chance that I’m going to break through the maple to the mahogany underneath. If that happens then all that is left to me will be to plane off the maple cap, and do another one. If so, then it is not the end of the world, and I’ll have learned some very valuable lessons. Although I suppose I could cover up with a solid colour.
I am going to do the majority of sanding by hand, rather than my original plan to use power tools. This should give me more control and minimise the chance of sanding through the maple. It’ll be a great opportunity to work on my biceps and triceps too.
Next time I try a carved top I’m going to take a very different approach. This differs from every other approach I’ve seen. I’m going to carve the top before cutting out the body shape from the blank. What I’d do is to mark up the body shape on the blank, draft out the carves and make up the templates in the same way I have done. Then, by adding an “outer template” on to the section of waste body wood, it’ll give me support on both sides of the router and get rid of the need for building extra guides and jigs. Once the top is carved I can then cut out the body shape.