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Old October 11th, 2012, 09:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Grizzly H8068 Tele Kit Build - Progress and help requests...

Hi all,

Thought I'd start a general thread for my kit build as a place to pose questions and hopefully post some pics as I go along. As an intro, my main hobby up to now has been building my own tube guitar amps. My current project that has been stalled for some time now is based on the Blackface Princeton Reverb 1164 circuit (Got to get that project rolling again...). I've built an AX84 High Octane amp and rebuilt a Kalamazzoo Model II that now has a footswitchable tremolo and a fat switch, as well as a revised preamp based on Fender tweed era circuits. I've also rebuilt a Fender Musicmaster Bass amp into a guitar amp, putting it into a new finger jointed pine cabinet covered with Line-X with a nice Weber speaker. That circuit also was revised to add a tweed era preamp and a line out. I've got another amp that was my first amp I built that is sort of like a Fender bassman head, but has a tube buffered effects loop. That amp is going to be cannibalized at some point to make something else.

I've wanted to build my own Tele for some time and have actually planned the project for quite a while, selecting parts, and stuff but to build the tele of my dreams was going to be kinda expensive so never felt I could get it started. So for affordability and to allow for learning and making mistakes have settled on a kit project as my first guitar build. After looking at all the possibilities and reading opinions and posts, I settled on the Grizzly H8068 Tele kit. According to Grizzly that kit is now made in Japan, so I hoped for a higher quality than other inexpensive kits which I think are generally from China. The kit showed up on my doorstep yesterday. I was relieved to open the box and find a neck and body that while not perfect, seemed OK to proceed. Unlike other Grizzly kit bodies that I've seen posts on, mine does not have dings filled in with wood filler. This is important since I plan on a natural finish, not painted. So I'm proceeding with the build.

My plan is to use the kit parts, with the following "upgrades"
  • Bone nut instead of the plastic one
  • Stewmac Golden Age pickups
  • Gotoh bridge
  • Tortoise shell pickguard

Initially I planned to finish with Tung oil, but am now leaning towards staining the wood and using MinWax Wipe On Poly. If I don't botch the project and the guitar comes out OK I'll probably upgrade the controls and tuners as well later.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice on this project. I'm sure I'll need it!

Steve Jones (Jonesamp)

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Old October 11th, 2012, 10:01 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So off the starting block have a few issues.

1. The first is replacing the plastic nut. I posted a question on this separately (Link) and the responses I got so far indicate that I need to make my own nut, that there isn't a suitable pre-slotted nut out there that I can purchase. If anyone has experience with replacing the nut that comes with this kit and know of a different approach, please let me know. Otherwise I'll attempt to make my own.

2. The neck that came with the kit does not fit into the neck pocket of the body (it's a bit too big). Would it be better to enlarge the pocket to fit the neck, or sand down the neck to fit the pocket?

3. The dot inlays on the neck are not smooth and you can feel them. Is there a special tool and technique to sand these down?

Thanks for any help or advice.

Steve
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Old October 11th, 2012, 10:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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1.) I think you're going to have to make your own nut. There are some good tutorials on here for how to do that.

2.) My preference would be to sand the heel of the neck, especially as this is your first guitar. That's slower and more controlled than routing some more of the neck pocket. Alternatively, you could sand the neck pocket, but that's awkward. It's also probably worth checking to see if either the heel of the neck or the neck pocket in the body are standard. If one is and the other is not, then maybe you could work on the part that isn't standard. Hope that makes sense. (You can check to see which is standard from some of the many pdf's in the home depot here).

3.) It looks like the neck is already fretted. In that case, sanding the dot inlays smooth is a pain and there is no special tool for it. That's really something you want to do well before you fret. I guess alternatively you could scallop the board (which can be done after fretting, and would smooth the inlays), but why would you want to do that?

Good luck.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 10:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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For the fret markers, I'd get a scraper to bring them down. I think you'll get much better results than trying to sand them down.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 01:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So to make my own nut, for nut files, would Item 3062 from Stewmac do for my purposes (Link), or do I need a set of 6 files specific to string gauge which would be fairly expensive? Also guess I'd need a caliper since I don't have one. The price of my inexpensive kit project is going up... Course I could always use the plastic nut...

One thing I think I'm going to try is one of the Stewmac slotted unbleached bone nuts intended for a Gibson seems to have the right length and string spread (the 6013-VS). However it is too high. My thought is to start with this and file down the height. Thought I'd start with this approach first and see how it turns out.

Steve
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Old October 11th, 2012, 01:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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A common solution for nut files is to file "teeth" onto a set of feeler gauges.

I've used a welding torch tip cleaner with good results. Its slow going though.



If it were me, I'd make a template off of the neck and cut the pocket bigger with a router. But if you don't want to route the body, one forum member recently used a piece of sandpaper taped to a piece of angle iron as a sanding jig to thin the sides of the heel slightly.

But you might measure your parts first, and contact Grizzly with the measurements and see if they can help you as far as refund/replacement.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 02:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonesamp View Post
So to make my own nut, for nut files, would Item 3062 from Stewmac do for my purposes (Link),
No those won't work. And you can get a set of them from Harbor Freight for $3 if you find them on sale. I have 2 sets of them, they do have their uses. I just ponied up and bought some proper files. Whether you use a preslotted nut or not, you will need to do some filing.

(I posted the following in threads before, YMMV, hope this helps):
I've used plastic, micarta, tusq, bone, and graphtec. I can't tell a difference between any of them. I don't know why so many people worry about the nut. If you screw it up, just cut another one. The nut is no big deal if you have the files/tools to do them. String spacing always gets me though. A tiny bit of error at the nut makes a noticeable difference down where you pick.

I have 3 stew mac files, a 0.010, a 0.020, and a 0.035. I also have their slotted saws (.010. .015 .020 .025 and .030). As it is, I get the slots I need using the files, the saws and a 3.99 needle file set from Harbor Freight. I'd like .050 and a .013 file, someday I'll get around to ordering them. For now, for a set of EB Regular Slinky, I'll do something like this:

e (.010)- Rock the .010 slot back and forth, or use the .015 saw. Or both.
B- (.013) - .015 fret saw. Wiggle the .010 file around in the slot to round out the bottom.
G (.017) - .020 File. It's the perfect size.
D (.026) - .030 Fret Saw. Wiggle the .020 file around in the slot to round the bottom.The edge of one of the triangular needle files can work too to round out the bottom.
A (0.36) - .035 file. Wiggle it around a little for some extra clearance.
E (.046) - .035 file to start, and whichever edge on one of the needle files seems a tad wider than the string.

I get the strings close to the line (which I drew by laying a sanded-flat half a pencil on the frets and drawing a line on the nut). Then I just play around until I get a feel I like. For me, I fret an Am chord with moderate pressure. If one of the strings doesn't ring out, I file the groove a tad. I like to set the e B G strings a hair lower than the EAD. It's personal preference, but I think you can go a little lower on e B G without rattle than you can on EAD. I set the action with a nickel, so by the time you get down to where you are picking, you don't even notice the height difference. I don't at least. But then I'm a lousy player.

As for the E, A, D strings, I just go till there's .010 clearance at fret 1 when I press the strings at fret 3 and call it good enough. A 1.99 Harbor Freight feeler gauge set gets the job done, here.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 03:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I tried the wipe on poly. Didn't like it. Stripped it. Refinished with Nitrocellulose lacquer.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 03:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Corian is what I used for a nut material on a recent project. Cut it out into blanks on the bandsaw, a 2" square sample will do plenty of nuts. You could probably go to a countertop place or a "home improvement" store and they'd give you a sample piece or an offcut. Or you can order samples directly from DuPont for something like 2 bucks.

Comes in any color you want as well.

I file the slot until it just holds a Fender Thin pick in place between the string and the first fret, when you hold the string at the third fret.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 09:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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For the Strat kit my son and I built from Grizzly, the neck fit the pocket, but later we decided the finish could be better on it. Sanded it off and wiped on several coats of Tru Oil then killed the gloss on the backside of the neck with some 0000 steel wool. Amazing difference in looks and feel.

I say all this to support sanding the neck to fit the pocket, then sand the rest of the neck, too, and re-finish with Tru-Oil. Easy to apply, and much, much faster feel with steel-wooled back. Regarding the fret markers, unless it's really really bad, I think I'd live with it. You could mask adjacent frets and sand with narrow stick, but to get an even result, you'd have to do all the spaces between frets, not just the ones with markers, then refinish. The one good thing about that awful, tedius job would be that the whole neck could then be Tru-Oiled.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 08:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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As an update, I contacted a friend of mine who is a luthier and has a very nice shop in his basement. I repaired his son's amplifier a while back. He's going to help me with my build issues to get me started. I'll let you know how it goes.

Steve
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Old October 12th, 2012, 09:10 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Old October 13th, 2012, 06:29 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'll say. Today I went over to Filippo's house and we spent a few hours in his shop. He fixed my inlay problem, fixed the neck for me to fit in the pocket, cut my headstock, and with the neck in the pocket determined the center of the neck with a tool he has and drew a line on the body that is centered with the neck. So next steps for me are to mount the neck and hardware, etc. with that center line as a guide so that I can be sure the bridge is centered with the neck. Then I'll remove the hardware, detach the neck, and sand and finish the neck and body. Then assemble the whole thing and take it back to his shop and he'll make me a nut and we'll finish the set up.

For the inlay issue, he took a razor blade and using a burnishing tool burred the edge of the blade. Then used the blade as a scraper to scrape the inlays. Worked very nice. Doing this revealed from the scrapings that the inlays on the Grizzly neck are plastic.

For the neck, after carefully evaluating how the neck should fit he planed down then sanded the sides of the neck and rounded the corners, finally achieving a fairly tight fit. In getting the neck to fit the pocket we discovered that the pocket is routed a bit skewed.

For the headstock, I had brought some templates of tele headstocks and selected one. As others have written, the tuner holes drilled in the Grizzly headstock don't match a regular tele headstock. So we had to work a while with the template and extrapolate a bit to figure out how to get a tele looking design on the Grizzly headstock. I'll post some pics of this because I think it came out pretty good.

So far so good...

Steve
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Old October 13th, 2012, 06:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Here's Filippo cutting the headstock with his gynormous band saw


Last edited by Jonesamp; October 13th, 2012 at 09:25 PM.
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Old October 13th, 2012, 06:40 PM   #15 (permalink)
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After the shape was cut out, it was sanded using an oscillating rotating sander thing...

By oscillating, I mean it went up and down in addition to round and round...

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Old October 13th, 2012, 06:44 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Here's the result

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Old October 13th, 2012, 06:47 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I did some test stains on a piece of maple. In a day or so I will get my order from Stewmac. I'm going to pick the stain that seems to look the best with the tortoise shell pickguard I'm using.

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Old October 16th, 2012, 07:37 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Received most of my shipments of parts yesterday. Everything looks good except the tortoise shell pickguard from Stewmac. Just don't care for the way it looks, not the look I'm after. So I'm returning that today. Ordered one from Warmoth last night. Hope it is more what I'm looking for. Need the pickguard for dry fit of parts, so will need to wait a while for that to ship. Meanwhile, maybe I can get my workbench cleaned off... Gotta bad habit of dumping stuff on my workbench and not putting things away...

Steve
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Old October 16th, 2012, 07:57 AM   #19 (permalink)
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After reading through a few threads, one of the things I'm concerned about is drilling the string-through holes straight. I bought a drill stand for drilling the holes but now wondering if that is going to be enough. I have a drill press of sorts that came from my father's house, but it's a "manual" antique where you turn a handle to crank down the bit and turn another handle to turn the bit. Previous use of this drill gave me holes that were at a bit of an angle... My dad mainly used it for drilling holes in metal.

Can someone point me towards a thread here regarding drilling these holes?

Thanks!

Steve
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Old October 16th, 2012, 08:54 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Never mind. Found the thread on this topic by Jack Wells.

Steve
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