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Old December 1st, 2011, 12:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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First Time Tele Build - Hilarity Ensues?

Hey everyone,

I figured I would first say thanks to all of my instructors at the TDPRI that have educated me for free over the past few years!

I decided to embark on making my own tele or teles depending on whether I have any blunders or not.

I made a set of 3/4 mdf templates and had a helluva time as it was my first time using a router. I've been a little apprehensive to use it, I have alot of respect for the tool, and I have really grown attached to all my extremities. Thus, I wanted to be super careful! My templates are for a telecaster custom and deluxe routed with p90s. They're my bag, I suppose... I printed off and glued up the TDowns blueprint onto my third mdf panel, but something was off.. The dude at Kinkos must've printed it to scale of the paper, not actual scale... BOOH! I'll get around to making an original tele template sometime in the future, but I obviously have to find a way to get the huge scale drawing off of the mdf... Damn strong glue!

Anyways, I've shown a few shots of my two hopeful projects, one poplar I scored from a badass local hardwood store for 15 bucks and some oak I scored from Rockler's bargain bin for 8.

Suggestions, yes, but spare my feelings with any harsh criticism, I'm only a student after all. Thanks again for everyone's posts thus far!
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Old December 1st, 2011, 12:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So I have been pretty lucky over the past few months and scored some really great tools. I've received a scroll saw from a buddy's dad for free, a RIGID ROSS(yay team orange!), and just acquired on Monday, I scored a Craftsman 4 inch jointer for 60 bucks off Craigslist and it was brand new in the box!

So over the past few nights, I've joined and glued up to make my oak and poplar blanks and I have to say its going pretty well. Just tonight I actually rough cut the poplar body to shape, but my poor scroll saw had a rough time cutting the oak, which was no surprise...

I've got a router table, but it's kind of small to route a body, I'm thinking of making a plywood attachment for it this weekend, that would help, anyone agree?
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Old December 1st, 2011, 12:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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A good router table is compulsory as well as all the other stuff you mentioned and a drill press also pays it's keep.
If you give up after having "blunders". may as well stop now, because everyone that has looked in, or contributed to this great forum has, and still does, make "blunders"
The secret is to de-blunder masterfully.

Project looking good so far!
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Old December 1st, 2011, 01:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for looking in! I've got a sweet drill press, too. I hope to learn alot on this one, I've put together kits and parts guitars, but not yet made anything with my hands... Or tools...
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Old December 1st, 2011, 01:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by collectiveoasis View Post
So I have been pretty lucky over the past few months and scored some really great tools. I've received a scroll saw from a buddy's dad for free, a RIGID ROSS(yay team orange!), and just acquired on Monday, I scored a Craftsman 4 inch jointer for 60 bucks off Craigslist and it was brand new in the box!

So over the past few nights, I've joined and glued up to make my oak and poplar blanks and I have to say its going pretty well. Just tonight I actually rough cut the poplar body to shape, but my poor scroll saw had a rough time cutting the oak, which was no surprise...

I've got a router table, but it's kind of small to route a body, I'm thinking of making a plywood attachment for it this weekend, that would help, anyone agree?
You're off to a great start! What a great score on the jointer. Sure wish I had one. As you say, oak can be challenging to cut, and it's really hard on router bits too, so make sure you start out with a good sharpened one before flush trimming. I did an amp cabinet awhile back for someone in oak (not my choice) and it was not too fun. A brand new roundover bit left burn marks that were pretty hard to sand out!

Looking forward to seeing your projects unfold here, good stuff.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 04:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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good stuff

great first build (two at once, that is awesome) and nice fark.com reference, too!

thanks for documenting it; i will gladly be watching!


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Old December 1st, 2011, 08:11 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Lowe's has a nice starter set of Forstner bits (by Porter-Cable) that are invaluable for drilling relief holes around your blanks to help cut them out. They are only 20$ and money well spent
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Old December 1st, 2011, 08:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Good start there squire , and you have all the tools you need to get well on your way.
If that block workbench is not a cherished heirloom it would be my first choice for a router table. If your small table has an insert for the router pull that and mount it in the table. Mount it off center somewhat , that way you can have bigish items fully supported.
Remember that when the router is dropped from the cutting position the table is then flat and therefore useable for normal activities.

Good luck
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Old December 1st, 2011, 08:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazydave911
Lowe's has a nice starter set of Forstner bits (by Porter-Cable) that are invaluable for drilling relief holes around your blanks to help cut them out. They are only 20$ and money well spent
I actually did score a cheap set of forstners from Menards for like 13 bucks. They worked out pretty good when making pilot holes on one of my templates.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 09:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by macaroonie
Good start there squire , and you have all the tools you need to get well on your way.
If that block workbench is not a cherished heirloom it would be my first choice for a router table. If your small table has an insert for the router pull that and mount it in the table. Mount it off center somewhat , that way you can have bigish items fully supported.
Remember that when the router is dropped from the cutting position the table is then flat and therefore useable for normal activities.

Good luck
Good call, I might have to try this. We actually scored these tables from one of my father's acquaintances, an old tool and dye shop was closing down and got rid of a bunch of benches. My current router table is a craftsman one from probably the early 90s and has a ton of grooves. I don't much care for it, but hey. It was free!
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Old December 1st, 2011, 09:14 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Is that oak getting chambered?

Go to HD and pickup the Oscilating spindle/ belt sander. $200ish but every aspiring luthier will use it pretty much daily.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 09:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by collectiveoasis View Post
Good call, I might have to try this. We actually scored these tables from one of my father's acquaintances, an old tool and dye shop was closing down and got rid of a bunch of benches. My current router table is a craftsman one from probably the early 90s and has a ton of grooves. I don't much care for it, but hey. It was free!
Well now is your chance for a bit of router practice. The easy way to do this is to make a radius cutter jig. Basically a piece of 1/4 ply about 12" x 6". mount your router on one end. You can then pop holes through at whatever radius you need and using a nail or whatever as a pivot you can then cut a perfect circle. If you are rebating your mounting plate you will need to cut the rebate first and then reduce the diameter to make the cutout. Err on the big side for this as you will need access to the router from below once it is mounted.
You can make a router mount plate from 1/4" Lexan or similar material. The other place you might have a rummage is the worksop where the tables came from. Look for 1/4" Tufnol or Phenolic sheet.
You can buy ready made universal router bases for this job but thats no fun.

http://www.jeffgreefwoodworking.com/...out/index.html

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The pic above is another way to cut a radius. If your router has through holes in the base you can mount a bar as shown and then you need to rig up a pivot point of some sort. I use the one above and find it really convenient as all i have to do is drill a small center hole then adjust the bar to the required radius. Easy.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 09:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by CptRyg
Is that oak getting chambered?

Go to HD and pickup the Oscilating spindle/ belt sander. $200ish but every aspiring luthier will use it pretty much daily.
The oak as it stands weighs something like 25 pounds, and thats crazy heavy. I was definitely thinking about chambering the body and doing a thinline, but i wouldn't know where to start. I think I'm going to hold off on the oak for now because my scroll saw can't handle the cut. Ill have to hold off on a band saw deal on CL. As for the spindle sander, already got one! I referenced in my first post I got a rigid spindle sander as a birthday gift.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 09:00 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I thought I would show a bit more of my progress and some photos of my tools. There's another shot of the rough cut body. Is my router table too tiny to shape a body? My last photo is of my telecaster custom template. I can post some more photos later of some close ups of my mistakes, but hey it was my first time using a router and I didn't want to lose any limbs.... Either way, some decent progress has been made. My main question right now is, is it okay to plane the body after its been routed to shape?
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Old December 1st, 2011, 09:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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You should be OK planing the body after routing its outside perimeter to shape. However, since pickup cavities, control plate cavity, and neck routes are all spec'd to depth from the top surface, you can't plane the top surface after routing these cavities. (Unless you do some careful planning, drill/route deeper than called for, then carefully plane until you reach the specified depth. I would not recommend this, though.) Your router table looks marginal to me, for routing as large an object as a guitar body. It may be adequately supported across the waist, but when routing on the ends, it looks like you'd be hanging a lot off the edge of the table and trying to deal with that. The main benefit to a larger router table is that you can concentrate completely on the point of operation--where the bit meets the wood. Since its so easy to build a big router table surface from a piece of melamine and a bit of plywood and a router table insert, strongly suggest going this way, instead of trying to "make do." Or visit Colt W. Knight's "New Toys" post and check out the inexpensive, but big and nice router table he scored from Grizzly for a bit over $100. Money well spent. If you try to add a bigger surface of plywood to your existing router table, it will take plywood so thick (3/4 at least), that you almost certainly won't have enough bit protruding up through the table.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 11:03 PM   #16 (permalink)
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You should be OK planing the body after routing its outside perimeter to shape. However, since pickup cavities, control plate cavity, and neck routes are all spec'd to depth from the top surface, you can't plane the top surface after routing these cavities. (Unless you do some careful planning, drill/route deeper than called for, then carefully plane until you reach the specified depth. I would not recommend this, though.) Your router table looks marginal to me, for routing as large an object as a guitar body. It may be adequately supported across the waist, but when routing on the ends, it looks like you'd be hanging a lot off the edge of the table and trying to deal with that. The main benefit to a larger router table is that you can concentrate completely on the point of operation--where the bit meets the wood. Since its so easy to build a big router table surface from a piece of melamine and a bit of plywood and a router table insert, strongly suggest going this way, instead of trying to "make do." Or visit Colt W. Knight's "New Toys" post and check out the inexpensive, but big and nice router table he scored from Grizzly for a bit over $100. Money well spent. If you try to add a bigger surface of plywood to your existing router table, it will take plywood so thick (3/4 at least), that you almost certainly won't have enough bit protruding up through the table.
I hadn't planned on doing any cavity routing until after planing, but good call! I was just referring to routing the outside of the body and at least get it to shape before I planed the body. I guess I'll look into the router table, I saw it on that thread and it's pretty badass! I'll also look into making one out of plywood, I have plenty of that laying around.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 11:10 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I wanted to also post my templates, I didn't make them on 1/4 MDF before going straight to 3/4. I decided to skip the step. It might not have been the best idea. The pictures are of the templates themselves, I've only routed the cavities of the Custom and only shaped the sides of the deluxe. I had included my main mistakes with routing, just a nick here and there. My question on the glued paper on the surface peels up and/or frays pretty bad when working with it, how does everyone deal with it? I use an xacto knife to take care of the paper in the cavities before I drill with my forstner bit. Any suggestions?
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Old December 4th, 2011, 01:57 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I went to home depot before I started working in the shop yesterday, I wanted to have some "test material.." so I picked up a premium pine 2x6 for three bucks. When I got home, I glued it up after joining the edges. I didn't really do anything with that except outlined my template with it.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 02:05 PM   #19 (permalink)
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So I finally screwed my template to my poplar body and actually did some routing. As you can see, being my first build, I left a little too much material so it was kind of a pain. As you can see I got about 7/8 of the body routed, but I was getting tired of being bent over to route and my bit just wouldn't go any further down so I decided to call it a day. Aside from standard burns, I had some "whoopsie" areas that I'll probably just chalk up to learning experiences. I know everyone preaches about how your templates are supposed to be perfect but MAN, did I learn that! I have some areas that I dinged with the router on my template that so clearly show up in the final body... Another learning experience! I the last two shots, I wanted to see what the body would look like as I'm going for a tele custom look on this one.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 02:33 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Hey, that looks good to me. Nothing that you can't sort out with some finish sanding. Where you really have issues and make kindling for the BBQ pit is routing out your neck blank. The templates got to be perfect!

The Whiteside spiral bit that many people here use is what you should have.
I hope to be getting one before I start the next project...it's definitely money well-spent.

http://www.amazon.com/RFT5200-CARBIDE-UP-CUT-SPIRAL-ROUTER/dp/B0012JI870/ref=sr_1_9?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1323023363&sr=1-9


+1 on being bent over the work table. It's a killer on the old back!
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