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Old January 3rd, 2013, 01:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Routerless Pinecaster Esquire (2nd Build)

I have lurked here for a couple of years and have used the great info on this site to help guide me through two pine body telecasters (one in 2011 and just finished the second in Dec. 2012).

I didn't take any pictures of the first process, but I tried to take pictures of the second process to be able to post on this site. Unfortunately, I used my cell phone cam for the process shots so I apologize for the poor pics, but hopefully the methods will be conveyed.

Everything is made from scratch and nothing is perfect, but it plays well and the point being that if I can do it with minimal tools, anyone can, so JUST DO IT! I have learned that there are only a few steps in the process that require precision (nut slots, fret leveling, bridge placement, eh, that's about it for me), most everything else can be fudged if you're doing it for fun like me.

Tools used:

Electric tools--Table saw (minimally), drill press, band saw, soldering iron

Hand tools--planes, chisels, egg beater drill, brace and bit, rasp, files, sand paper, clamps, homemade fret bender, hand saw, homemade fret cutting clamping jig, pliers, spokeshave

I try and make stuff as much as possible by hand, which means I tend to leave saw marks and such and I am not worried about imperfections. In other words, I'm lazy. I leave plenty of "maker's marks" because I am too busy with work and family to sweat the small stuff.

I made the jack plate, string holder plate, and the neck screw plate out of stuff laying around the shop. As you can see in the pic of the rear, I still need to make a plate for the rear control cover. The body is made of three pieces of construction pine so the thickness is a hair under 1.5", which is a little too thin for the controls to fit in a cavity alone.

The neck is a beefy, NO truss rod, 3/4" maple neck plus 1/4" maple fretboard, 1 3/4" wide at the nut, 2" wide at the 12th fret.

I recently saw our local honky tonker Dale Watson and was inspired to dress up my Black on Black pinecaster esquire with a Lone Star Beer can. Oh yeah, the finish is Pitch Black milk paint for the body, spray can black laquer for the 1/8" plywood pickguard, and about a 2:1 mixture of poly and tung oil for the neck (three coats).

I will try and update this post with pictures of the build process. Thanks again to all who have posted their builds because I have used so many different posts for ideas and inspiration.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 02:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There ya' go..............a sweet build and a happy builder. Not all things need be glossy . Sweet guitar you built , it's good to see you enjoying it
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 02:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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how hard was the neck pocket to make. I suppose I could do it if I took my time and got a 1/2 flat bottom bit. forget the name as always. I have some chisels... I should give it a try! Thats really quick good! chisels are great tools. It's funny, people argue about the best way to do stuff, but really you can do it so many ways, like without power tools! Love it!
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 09:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I used my drill press and a forstner bit, which is one those "flat bottom bits". Because the bit is round, you end up making a bunch of overlapping circular holes. I used a chisel to straighten out the edges of the pocket. The forstner bits hog out most of the wood and the final fit is a back and forth shave and fit to make sure the pocket is snug. The screws do pretty much all the work as far has holding the neck in place, so the pocket doesn't need to be super snug.

The local stores around here sell an individual forstner bit for about $5-8, but I ended up spending $20 to get a set of about seven of them. The wider ones are great for making the neck pocket, pick up, and control cavities and the 3/8" was perfect for the fretboard dot inlays. I made a truss rod for the first tele and the 1/2" forstner was perfect to route the trussrod cavity because I don't have a router. I still needed a chisel to flatten out the edges, but it wasn't that big of a deal.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 10:05 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I like it-- simple, fun, and rugged. Definitely my style
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 10:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Cool!
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 01:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Body

I started by printing out and taping together a tele template I downloaded from this site. The body is cut from some construction yellow pine purchased at Lowes. I think it was an 8' 2X10 that I have been able to make two bodies out of. I cut around some knots and came up with three pieces of straight grain that I cut on the table saw and then jointed each edge with a Stanley #7 hand plane. I rough cut the tele shape with band saw and since I do not have a router I used rasps, files and sand paper. I also used a spokeshave. Just make a chamfer around the front and back edges and round over by hand.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 01:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Can someone please instruct me on how to attach large pictures? When I click on "manage attachments" and "browse" my computer to attach them it compresses them to these small pictures. I've seen other posts where the pictures are large and crisp. Any instruction would be very appreciated!!
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 01:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jerry C. View Post
Can someone please instruct me on how to attach large pictures? When I click on "manage attachments" and "browse" my computer to attach them it compresses them to these small pictures. I've seen other posts where the pictures are large and crisp. Any instruction would be very appreciated!!
Get a photo hosting service such as photobucket or one of the many others , usually free up to a point , upload your photos to the service , copy and paste them to your post by clicking the picture icon in the dialog box when you post. Just make sure the pics are not so large as to take forever to load
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 04:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I dig it.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 04:47 PM   #11 (permalink)
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To expand on Herb's explanation, per TDPRI



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Old January 3rd, 2013, 06:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I like the guitar. I'm also working on one that will be flat black and have some grain visible through, I love that look.

I also dig the "routerless" approach. I have ideas on such build, trying to do all with limited tools (and in my home, instead of driving half an hour to the shop every time I want to get something done..)
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 07:52 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Nice, man! Chalk up another one for the non-router ethos!

Although you'll want at least a table-mounted one if you're planning on installing truss rods down the road.

I like the look of the jackplate, too; very cool.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 08:18 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Nice, man! Chalk up another one for the non-router ethos!

Although you'll want at least a table-mounted one if you're planning on installing truss rods down the road.

I like the look of the jackplate, too; very cool.
acutally you could do a truss rod with a chisel. You'd just have to set up a jig. Or use your drill press as a router type deal.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 08:57 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Better Pics

Ok, thanks to the quick advice I created a photobucket account. Here are a little bit better quality pics of the finished guitar.





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Old January 3rd, 2013, 09:19 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Body and fretboard

After tracing the outline of the template I cut out the body on the bandsaw and as mentioned before, used hand tools to clean up the sides and round over the edges. Since construction pine is already a good 1/4" thinner than a standard tele I only lightly planed the face and back. As you can see in the final pics, some tearout and glue lines remained.



Next, I tackled the fretboard. I think I started with about a 1" think piece of maple about 3" wide. I resawed it to about three pieces of 3/8" thick fretboards. I don't have a planer, so I used my #7 plane to flatten them to a little thicker than 1/4". One side I tried to get as flat as possible because it is the side that would be glued to the 3/4" neck to make a total of 1" thick. The fretted side did not need to be super flat because it would eventually be radiused anyways.





I then laid out the frets with pencil lines. I used Stew Mac's fret calculator to give me the spacings for a 25.5" scale length. I have a small ruler that has each 8ths, 16ths, 32nd, and 64ths to the third decimal. Therefore, I matched each fret space to about the closest 64th of an inch. It doesn't need to be more accurate than that because a pencil line can't get any thinner. That was the biggest surprise of the whole project, was how easy it was to layout and cut the frets. THE NUT WAS A DIFFERENT STORY!

Used my homemade fretboard clamp jig to cut the frets with the Harbor Freight saw that has the .023" blade.

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Old January 3rd, 2013, 10:31 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Nothin' wrong with that......looks good.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 10:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Fretboard and neck continued

After I cut the fret slots I then proceeded to layout the neck. I printed off a tele headstock and traced it to a centerline. I wanted to make a very beefy neck for two reasons. First and foremost, this is a trussless neck. Second, I like the beefier neck and the "baseball bat" feel because I have big hands. I went with a 1 3/4 width at the nut slot. I proceeded down to the twelfth fret distance, which is exactly 12 3/4", and centered a 2" line. I then drew a line from the edge of each side of the nut line through the edge of the 12th fret line and carried it to eternity. I laid out 21 frets so I just measured 1/2" beyond the 21st fret to give me the end of my fret board. Make sense?

Next, as you can see in the picture, to prepare for gluing the fret board to the neck I hammered in three finish nails and nipped them so about an 1/8" was protruding. I also took a file and filed them to points. This way, when I lined up the centerlines of the neck and the fret board for gluing and clamping the fret board didn't slide.





Now the fretboard is glued and lined up with centerlines, nut lines, and 12th fret lines. Then it is pushed onto the pins so it won't slide during glue up. Clamps were then applied and set aside to dry.

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Old January 3rd, 2013, 11:08 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Headstock prep

Next up, headstock work and preparing to cut out the neck. I don't know if it matters, but I wanted to drill for the tuners first so that when I cut the headstock relief the holes are already drilled for a cleaner cut. This process proved to be difficult for me. The tuners require two different thickness holes to be drilled from opposite sides, but not at equal depth, either. I started by laying out the center point of each tuner and drilling a tiny hole straight through. I then used the tiny hole as a reference for the larger bits to be drilled into their respective sides.

The first pic is showing the use of a marking gauge to establish the waste line. The neck board is 3/4" and the headstock needs to be 1/2" so I am marking the 1/2" line. I needed this line at this point to be able to determine how deep to drill for the tuner holes.



Drilling the small holes



Drilled the face tuner holes



Drilling the backside of the head, you can see the tiny hole in the middle. Unfortunately, with a drill press and using this technique, two of my holes still managed to be slightly off. I had to use a round file and a dowel wrapped in sand paper to eventually get them aligned and it was very frustrating!



Next, I started to cut out the head by first cutting the curves and down the high e side. I left the low E side flat and straight so that when I cut the headstock relief I would be able to feed the neck into the saw under control.



Roughed out



Cleaned up and waste side marked out.



Cutting out the headstock relief



See how leaving the low E side flat and straight allowed the board to be pushed in flat?......99% of these techniques are things I've read on this awesome forum. I am definitely not clever enough to come up with this stuff on my own. Thanks to everyone whose ideas I have stolen!
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 11:24 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Fret dots

Here I'm using a block plane to smooth out the band saw marks on the face of the headstock.



Fret dots are next because they need to be in the fretboard before it is radiused. I used a 3/8" forstner bit to about 3/8" deep. Had a dark colored dowel hanging around and used it for contrast with the maple.



Dots glued in



Shot showing the semi-roughed out neck right before the dot dowels were cut flush

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