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Old October 7th, 2013, 06:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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From Redwood Rafter to Body

Hi all-

I recently got a beautiful 70 year old redwood rafter out of my families old house in Santa Cruz (sadly now demolished by the new owners) that I want to make a tele body out of. I believe it's a 4x6 so I'm probably looking at a 3 piece blank (I haven't done any research on measurements yet).

I'd like to find someone in the SF Bay Area who has the experience and tooling to take my hunk o' wood from it's current form and turn it into a beautiful unfinished body complete with all routes, etc. ready for a standard partscaster assembly.

Does anyone have any good resources for this type of person/shop/service?

Thanks in advance!!

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Old October 7th, 2013, 11:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Love the sound of Redwood top on acoustics. Should be fairly light. Any luthier should be able to accomplish this task. Depending on how it's cut it maybe big enough to book match and extend for width. Redwood is gorgeous with a French Polish finish IMO. Post some pix of this "New goods from old woods" tele when you git'er done.
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Old October 8th, 2013, 12:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Will do with the pics! I'm excited to get started on it. I'm thinking very similar look to the Fender OGR tele, but with a bigsby, seth lover neck/overwound broadcaster bridge and maybe a painted accent (headstock?) in the same cool faded yellow the house was.

A broadcast facebook appeal turned up a high school friend apprenticing at a wood working shop with a cnc router. Apparently his boss is into guitars so I should be able to work something out. Does anyone have any knowledge about CNC routing redwood and possible problems?

I'd still love some other Bay Area rec's in case this falls thru.
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Old October 13th, 2013, 04:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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looking forward to the pics !
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Old October 14th, 2013, 10:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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God i hate redwood so much. Be careful, dont sneeze around it, or you will ruin your work! Lol
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Old October 25th, 2013, 03:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Day One

So I decided to ditch the CNC plans and do it by hand. Another friend has a sweet little woodshop in back of his place with a band saw, drill press, lathe and plunge router and some other tools. Last weekend I made a 4 piece body blank out of the redwood rafter.

While we were waiting for that to glue up, we made a body out of a scrap piece of 1 3/4" pine he had laying around to test some ideas for when we get started on the redwood.

We are making our own mdf templates based of the great drawings that I believe Ed Hawley put up (please correct me if I got the props wrong). For now I am tracing in pencil the outlines for the pickup and control cavity routes, then routing the templates with a dremel attachment. Its not the most precise, but I think it'll do for the cavities that are getting covered up.

The neck is a whole 'nother deal. right now I'm thinking about going the neck-clamped-to-2x4's route, but I may break down and buy a template. Any other suggestions for doing this right on the cheap?

With some creative band saw work we were able to cut out a pretty nice body which we sanded by turning the drill press into a drum sander with some custom wood bits turned on the lathe.

I won't be able to get started on the redwood body for a couple weeks, but here are some pics of day one of work. More to come.
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Old October 25th, 2013, 04:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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A couple more... Sorry about the rotation, I'll have to keep that in mind next time. Also they are DL'ing strangely from my phone, so the order is whacky.
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Old October 25th, 2013, 04:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Couple more...
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Old October 25th, 2013, 04:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I hate to burst your bubble but you are cutting out the bodies with the wrong grain orientation. This can lead to warpage.
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Old October 25th, 2013, 06:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Looks like great work otherwise, though! Seems like there's been a few people doing the wrong grain orientation thing lately...
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Old October 25th, 2013, 10:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I hate to burst your bubble but you are cutting out the bodies with the wrong grain orientation. This can lead to warpage.
Not to worry Glen, it's only some scrap to practice the routing and band saw/improv drill press-drum sander method. The blank wasn't big enough to fit the body with the grain going longitudinally.

The redwood body will be correct (I hope)
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Old October 25th, 2013, 10:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Alright, I will sleep better tonight.
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Old October 29th, 2013, 12:27 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Lookup a guy on eBay who goes by mattswoodworking. He's in Antelope, CA. (Near Roseville).

I bought a SWEET reclaimed sugar pine body from him and would buy more from him if I were to do more builds. He does outstanding work and is great to work with. You should see the Western Red Cedar body he has listed now. It's beautiful!

http://www.ebay.com/usr/mattswoodworking-2008

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Old December 27th, 2013, 02:20 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Well its been a while since I've had a chance to work on this project, but things are rolling again. I've got the body blank cut and ready to route, and took last night to practice routing the cavities using MDF templates I made with a dremel router attachment.

The neck pocket template was made using this method (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home...ck-pocket.html), and came out great, fits like a glove.

I just ordered all the hardware and will place the order for the neck soon (warmoth-std maple in vintage tint satin nitro). I'm going to do a SD Seth Lover in the neck and a Rumplestiltskin overwound Black Rope in the bridge. The other interesting hardware will include a Bigsby B5 and Callaham bridge (recessed and grooved for the bigsby). Can't wait to throw it together!!

Here are some pics of the progress. I should be able to get to the routing/finishing the first week or two of January. Stay tuned...
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Old December 27th, 2013, 02:22 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Photos

Here are the pics, sorry again for the orientation. I can't seem to figure that out.

The blank was hand planed and made a ton of beautiful shavings. The chrome bar on the last pic is a cabinet scraper. It keeps the grain really clear and works great.
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Old December 27th, 2013, 02:27 AM   #16 (permalink)
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More pics

Here are some different views of the finished blank. The grain on the sides came out beautifully.
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Old December 27th, 2013, 03:07 AM   #17 (permalink)
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looking fantastic!
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Old December 27th, 2013, 03:22 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Cool... great project... I like the darker colour...:)

as someone who knows the value of a good roof rafter from a recycle yard.... they make great guitars...

I've made a few bodies out of Oregon pine rafters lately....

they are usually light weight, strong beams for roof purposes... straight grained without too many flaws.. well dried in the ceiling space and braced to stop any warping....

by the time they get demolished... the wood ain't going nowhere with a change of weather..... and it rings like a bell..;)

I use a 2" sanding thingo in my drill press too to the edges as well...... ;)
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Old December 28th, 2013, 12:01 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Cool... great project... I like the darker colour...:)

they are usually light weight....

I use a 2" sanding thingo in my drill press too to the edges as well...... ;)
Well this thing feels heavy as hell right now. Granted I still have to do all the routing, but it feels twice as heavy as the scrap pine blank i've been practicing on. With the bigsby it'll be a lunker, but I'm ok with that. I'm still pretty young and don';t mind the shoulder strain, plus I like the vibe of a heavy guitar like a 12lb LP or something. I also like my MDF Danelectro though so...

The drill press is proving to be the Swiss Army knife of the shop.

Does anyone have any experience with General Finishes Oil Based Gel wood stains?
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Old December 28th, 2013, 12:19 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kgertri1 View Post
Well this thing feels heavy as hell right now. Granted I still have to do all the routing, but it feels twice as heavy as the scrap pine blank i've been practicing on. With the bigsby it'll be a lunker, but I'm ok with that. I'm still pretty young and don';t mind the shoulder strain, plus I like the vibe of a heavy guitar like a 12lb LP or something. I also like my MDF Danelectro though so...

The drill press is proving to be the Swiss Army knife of the shop.

Does anyone have any experience with General Finishes Oil Based Gel wood stains?
amazing it weighs so much...

Redwood isn't typically the most dense stuff!

Would you mind posting a weight on the blank?

Now you have my curiosity highly piqued, and I am wondering what this thing is going to sound like acoustically.

I have used some of General's water based Enduro line, which was nice stuff.

Are you thinking of staining the wood?

If you want to tone your finish or burst the finish, I think you will be hapier with an aniline dye like TransTint, or Behelen Solar-Lux.

That wood should look awfully pretty once it is whetted out with finish, and you can get an excellent idea of that look by wiping the body with Naptha.

Whatever you do, keep Bob from sneezing on it

Bob's point is poignant though and given the soft character of redwood, you might consider putting a binding around that body.

Binding has a nice way of defining the freeform shape of a guitar body, and absorbs bumps very well.

Ivoroid would contrast beautifully, and tortise would be nicely subdued.
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