A guitar mold is a way to build acoustic guitars that ensures more accuracy when making the body. First, the outside mold is made to a particular style of guitar. Then, the body is built inside the mold. This keeps the plates and the sides square, and helps prevent lopsided bodies.
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The Outside Mold For Guitar Making
I describe the process of making the guitar mold in my book, Acoustic Guitar Making: How to make Tools, Templates, and Jigs. However, it can be made fairly easily just by looking at it.
The basic structure of the mold is made from 3/4″ thick MDF, which you can find in any hardware store. Four to five layers are stacked on top of each other to create a tall mold that holds the sides well. This extra height also allows the sides to be clamped to the mold better, which will help with their shape.
First, you will need a full size drawing of the guitar outline, or a half profile. Trace this onto a piece of MDF that is a couple inches longer and a couple inches wider than the profile. Line up the center of the guitar profile on one edge of the piece, and transfer the profile line. Cut along the line, being careful to stay on the inside (waste) portion just a little. Then, sand the rest of the way to the line by hand or with a spindle sander.
Duplicating the Master Piece
Now you have your master section of your new guitar mold. From here, duplicates can be made on the router table with a flush cutting bit or a template bit.
Simply trace your line on another piece that is the same size as the master. Then, cut the majority of the waste section away. After that, screw it to the master with the center line edges lined up well. Finally, use the router table and a flush trimming bit to copy the profile from the master to the new piece. Repeat this process over and over until you have enough pieces (8-10) to make your mold.
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A guitar mold makes it easier to build an acoustic guitar. All the parts are assembled inside the mold, and it helps keep everything square and even.
Putting it together is a matter is stacking up half of the pieces, squaring them, and gluing or screwing them together. Do the same for the other half of the profile. Just make sure to flip the boards so they make the complimentary profile.
Put a hinge on one end, and a draw clasp on the other. Now you have a mold that can be opened and closed when needed. If you have areas to touch up inside the mold after it’s made, use a spindle sander, or carefully sand by hand to square up the pieces.
Homemade jigs and tools are a great way to save money on guitar making. My number one jig is my Fret Slotting Jig, which allows you to create perfect fretboards without any measuring. You can make it with scraps, and it’s very easy to use.
If you have any questions on using a guitar mold, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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I give away the majority of my woodworking, wood finishing, and guitar making tips, but I also have several books if you want to take the next step.
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