right tool for body cutout


Junior Member
I'm just working on my first DIY project.It is gonna be an ash Tele. Have already ordered at Warmoth neck and hardware but the body will be my own task. I suffer of lack of power tolls and before I buy them need to know whether for cutting out body shape a jig saw is a good idea or should think about a band saw. I bought a nice ash plank which is about 2" thick, 20" wide and very nice although totally raw for the moment.
I've already cut it into 3 pieces which will be planed to right thickness.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Wow, heck of a starting place! I can't answer your question, but offer a couple of quick suggestions if this is indeed your first DIY.
1. Not sure why you cut it into three pieces?
2. Warmoth sells pre-routed body blanks, if perhaps you haven't found that page. I imagine that the pickup and especially neck pocket routing are by far the hardest parts of the job. I'm sure that you'll need some type of bench-mounted precision router to get those done properly, in addition to the saw question. Apologies if you already knew all of that.
3. Good luck, keep us posted, and send pictures!
while not an absolute requirement, a bandsaw (even a cheapie $99 Home Depot special) will significantly increase your pleasure when cutting out a body from a blank.

the big problem with using a jigsaw is that the blade has a tendency to angle off perpendicular when you cut thick woods. because of this, you'll end up having a TON of rasp and sanding work to make things ready for rounding over the top/rear edges. even with a bandsaw you're going to have a load of sanding to do prior to rounding over the edges, but at least you'll have a perpendicular edge to work with.

absolute required tools for making a body:

* router with template and round over bits
* drill motor (drill press is really, really nice to have in addition to a hand drill)
* routing templates for neck pocket, pickup cavity, control cavity, and battery box cavity
* soldering iron

of course there are several other tools that will make your life significantly easier like

* orbital sander
* spokeshave
* drum thickness sander
* oscilating drum sander
* jointer
* hand plane
* router table with micro adjustment
* bandsaw

all the best,

Thanks guys for your tips.
It is actually my first job on a body. I am not a totally newbe in that matter. I have already made a neck through guitar with great help of local luthier ( i'm from Poland). I also tuned couple of axes,changing frets, installing new pickups,shielding etc.I have some power tools and great hope i will manage to do this new body exactly the way i planned.The answer to why i cut the plank into three pieces it was about 80" long - couldn't buy a smaller piece. That way if first job goes wrong i have 2 spare pieces to go on . I tried to attach a picture of that plank but sth failed. Should i have serius problems to cut the body i will turn to my local carpenter . I have a router hope routing neck pocket and pickups will not be a nightmare. Coming back to to my previous neck through please see the pic - if you're interested of details i can write a lot about it.


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That plank of wood is so amazingly sexy. Roar.

I'd say it depends on how precise / exact / etc you feel you need to be. I've done one with a jigsaw, and it's not PERFECT but no one but me knows that. It would take some serious looking over for anyone else to tell that my job was imprecise. A decent / nice jigsaw is cheaper than a lousy bandsaw.
I don't find that plank so sexy. Actually in Poland we call "a plank" girls with small tits. But it's your preferences i don't mind ;)
You're right bandsaws are expensive. I that case i think good idea to avoid jigsaw problem-losing 90 degree when cutting i could predrill tens or hundreds of holes which will help the blade not to run away of the as the jigsaw comes to action. It means more shaping and sanding but think might work weel. What do you think?

welcome to the board! Ive done this myself on the guitar im working on.


I have to agree that you should use a bandsaw for the body cutout. draw the shape you want then cut around it outside of the lines. You will need a fairly thin bandsaw blade to make the tight turns inside the upper horns of your guitar. took me about 45 min to cut out the body. I used a $100 craftsman bandsaw from Sears...woorked well.

I ordered the body blank with the neck pocket, pickups and control cavity and bridge already routed...Warmoth even drills the wire holes from the pickup routs and bridge to the control cavity!

I've used a jigsaw, scroll saw, 9" bandsaw and my now favorite 14"  bandsaw to cut bodies. The jigsaw is alot of work and you end up with alot of sanding to do afterwards. Same goes for the scroll saw. I was able to to ok with the cheap 9" bandsaw but it took at least 45 mins for each body and I couldn't run my vacuum while sawing cause I had to listen to the blade. I was covered in sawdust and the blade would stall quite a bit so I had to feed really slow. Now I use a medium quality 14" bandsaw and with a new blade I can cut a body in 15 minutes and the sanding afterwards is relatively easy. I mostly cut cherry, ash and maple. So if you're gonna do it once go cheap and use alot of elbow grease or if you get addicted like I am you're better off getting the best bandsaw you can afford. Just my 2 cents.
bpmorton777 said:
I ordered the body blank with the neck pocket, pickups and control cavity and bridge already routed...Warmoth even drills the wire holes from the pickup routs and bridge to the control cavity!


That's right but:1. My idea is not only assebling but making by myself as much as possible. 2. I come from Poland and shipping a body would cost me a fortune, i've already ordered neck and hardware at Warmoth and really worried about customs and taxes i will have to pay when it arrives, this is appr 4% customs on goods+shipping and 22% VAT.
As for tools i was searching ebay like bidding site in my country and can buy a cheap bandsaw for appr. $150-200. I will consider that as your experieces go to bansaw and not a jigsaw direction. I will certailny find hundreds of other things to cut with this tool as woodwork is my best hobby.  Thanks again for your replies.
sounds awesome.
i'll be doing some custom work on the next project. my friend is a big joe bonomassa fan and likes his gigliotti telecaster. we plan to buy a cheap tele body and route out some chambers in it and i'll make the brass top.
stubhead said:
woodwork is my best hobby

Girls with small tits is not so bad hobby too...  :help:

An eye for the less endowed is an eye towards the future. Years from now she'll be blissfully ignorant of the effects of gravity.
The only other thing I'd suggest is investing in a good router and some template material (MDF or solid plywood) to make a body . You can cut the body template out with the jigsaw, finish sand it to final shape, then use the router to cut the outline from the top down as far as you want. Then use the jigsaw to rough-cut the body free of the blank, and use a flush-trim router bit from the BACK of the body to clean up the rest of it. That way, you can spend your $ on a good router, since you will need it for a lot more of the project. Get a drill press, since it drills nice straight holes and you can attach sanding drums to it. Just my $.02. Trust me, if I had the space, I'd buy a bandsaw in a heartbeat! I live in Hong Kong and I 'borrow' shop space, so I am constantly figuring out alternatives to things I would normally have the 'right' tools for. Nice neck-thru, too!
Thnaks guys for your replies. I finally decided to give up (this time) DIY body. I have some other expences right now. What i decided is my local guitar tech who would do it on a CNC machine he built by himself. Tomorrow my body is going to be finished. Once i get it i will post some pics. Thanks whitebison66 for your advice. I will use it in my future porject and the tele i'm doing is not my last word. Also thanks for paying attention to my neck-thru. The thing about it was to have a neck-thru construction made of honduran mahogany and i suceeded and i love her.I have enough space to place all my machines required so i'm gonna fit my workshop with it in close future.Don't have to tell you guys how much much fun is to build an musical instrument by myself.
So, my ash plank got it's shape. Still need to sand, stain, varnish etc but looks coll to me. What do you think about the figure? It's in fact hard ash, heavy stuff but hope it will benefit in crystall sound and sustain.


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