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Drop-top Strat build Christmas gift

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by eallen, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    With with my first build of reclaiming oak from an old pew to build my strat pew-caster turning out acceptable, www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/435245-pew-caster.html, I have found the weakness of tdpri for me. Everyone makes it look easy enough that even I can do it!

    After coming across Ron Kirn's gorgeous black-cherry on his site I was immediately struck with it. Between being out of my price range for a Christmas present for my16 year old son, & my new interest in enjoying building I asked my son what he thought about me building one for him for Christmas. For some reason he jumped at it. I figure I better get started to be done in time.

    I picked up a hunk of mahogany to put together with my menards tiger maple find.


    View attachment 202514

    Layout my template on the mahogany & give it a cut & route.

    View attachment 202515

    The unfortunate dreaded tear out! Fortunately I think it is shallow enough I can get by with taking all the material down to that level.

    View attachment 202516
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  2. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    Since I did the Resaw and plane of the maple down to .30" last week I ran the edges over the jointer & lined up the figure for a book match.

    ForumRunner_20131021_222120.jpg

    I put wax paper down to keep it from sticking, glued the edges, & clamped the edges.


    ForumRunner_20131021_222708.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  3. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    I am not sure why my pics didn't show the first time so here they are again.



    ForumRunner_20131021_223320.jpg



    ForumRunner_20131021_223349.jpg



    ForumRunner_20131021_223422.jpg



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  5. Glen Smith

    Glen Smith RIP

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    You have some nice lumber, I think this is going to be a good looking guitar.
     
  6. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    After removing the material for the forearm cut I decided it was time to give bending the top to match a shot. I lined the top up with the body and put a couple locator pins in place for alignment later.

    ForumRunner_20131022_083923.jpg

    I decided to give AZkoaman's bending method a try from his thread, http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-hom...han-1;-my-new-guitar-project.html#post3047596.
    My top is a bit thicker so I have some novice room to work with. To boil the top I pulled out the trusty gas fish fryer filled with water. The big pot & abundant heat ability let the water heat quick and keep boiling the entire time the wood was in the water. I knew the fishing hobby would come in handy. Makes me want to try bending mesquite before frying fish for a little flavor. :)


    ForumRunner_20131022_084913.jpg

    After about 20 minutes in the pot I clamped the top on the body and started applying pressure to the drop area. I didn't want to force the wood so After a couple hours I did it again to pull th gap out. The boiling did lossen my book match joint on that end so I did have to work at keeping it aligned & bent across the joint. In retrospect I think shortening my drop an inch or so may have been easier. I let it set clammped over night.

    ForumRunner_20131022_090018.jpg
     
  7. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    After letting the top set clamped overnight the moisture looks like it may have seperated the glue joint on the book match just enough to be visible. I am not a fan of polyurethane glue but I wonder if it would have been wise to use to stand up to the moisture better. Since I left a bit of extra when I ruff cut the top I have enough saw out the joint & reglue it with poly. Have to give it some thought.

    ForumRunner_20131022_162547.jpg



    ForumRunner_20131022_162607.jpg
     
  8. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    I ended up cutteing the bookend apart and regluing. Then set about rebending the drop overnight. Thinner would have definitely been better! In my usual hurry up mode I glued and clamped the cap on the body.

    While waiting on that to cure I got started on the neck. I am doing a dual action head adjust truss rod. On my last neck I found it easier for me to do my truss rod routes before I cut the neck shape.

    I cut my blank to 4" wide & marked 1 1/2" in for my neck centerline.

    Next I located my sons chosen headstocks pattern on the centerline & marked the nut location. He wants a 1 5/8 nut with so I marked that as well. I followed that by measuring 2.20" for my width on the other end & drew a straight line between the two points for my side layout.

    Next I set my fence on my router table to 1 1/2" to offset for the head shape & routed the truss rod channel.

    ForumRunner_20131023_233212.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  9. RevMike

    RevMike Friend of Leo's

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    Fascinating. I don't have the talent, the patience, or inclination to do these builds. But...... I LOVE to watch them happen. Good show. The last guitar was a beauty too.
     
  10. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, we share similar dilemmas. Not only do I not have the talent, or patience either which makes for redo at times, Your ID tells we may be similar in vocation as well.
     
  11. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

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    Talent is not as important as desire. If you really want to build, that right there is worth 100 times more than talent.
    Skill will come with doing, and patience is developed through perseverence. After you do something like screw up a finish on an otherwise well built guitar a couple of times, you will gladly embrace patience, lol.
    OP, good luck and stick with it.
     
  12. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    You hit it right on the mark. For me personally the finish process doesn't cause me as much concern for error because I know I can just remove it & start over. It is my measure once, cut twice, & glue it quick that tends to get me in trouble. Still haven't master board stretching. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  13. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

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    LOL, I can measure twice and still cut it wrong. Hate when that happens.
     
  14. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    Not much done today except cut the neck to shape. Spent the day installing seatbelts in my sons 64 F100. All in a week's vacation.



    ForumRunner_20131024_194933.jpg

    Not pleased with my drop top glue up as it didn't say down along an edge. What to do? Soak the top area and apply pressure for a.few days? Or, plain the top off, sand off the drop & start over on the top?
     
  15. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    I was unable to get the drop top to stay down satisfactorly in the back. I could apply enough clamp pressure to remove the gap but unable to get the glue to hold it.


    View attachment 203258

    After being able to cleanly pry the top up in the drop area with a small amount of effort I had doubts of getting the remaining glue residue adequately removed for a clean glue line & assurance it would not come loose years down the road. So I took vengeance on the uncooperating top & fed it to the planer. A painful moment for us both, but more so for the top! :)


    View attachment 203259

    To help cope with the loss I glued up a new book match, took a trip to the Indiana State BMV to be reminded of real frustration thru genuine customer disservice, & moved on to cutting fret slots the cheap way while glue dried.

    ForumRunner_20131025_201251.jpg
     
  16. Glen Smith

    Glen Smith RIP

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    I have to ask you: what are you holding in your avatar pic?
     
  17. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    I believe that one was a 5 1/2 lb bass, or bass if you put strings on it & play it.:)
     
  18. Glen Smith

    Glen Smith RIP

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    That is a nice size.
     
  19. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, we catch 4- 5 1/2 lb regularly in our subdivision.


    ForumRunner_20131025_221623.jpg


    Here is a pic of a fluke for a pond, 8 lb drum.


    ForumRunner_20131025_221701.jpg
     
  20. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    I decided to try planing this maple top down thinner to make it more workable. My fear was grain tear out from the planer. After reading over some tips I went with wiping over the side to be planed with a damp cloth, letting it set a minute & running it through. What an amazing difference it made. No tearout at all!!! I reset damped the surface frequently & worked great.

    At just over 3/16" thick I decided to give some relief curf cuts in the back with a v bit using the router table. I drew lines about 1/4" apart parallel to the bend. Then I put a centerline of the bit on the router table and lined up my miter gauge to match. I also drew a perpendicular centerline of the bit to know when to stop my cut before reaching the edge.


    View attachment 203781

    I then made light cuts along the line to help with the bend. My first couple cuts were not quite as neat as I would have liked but with it filled by glue it will serve its purpose.


    View attachment 203782

    After letting it set clamped for two days to make sure it would form correctly I glued it & put it in clamps overnight.
     
  21. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

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    Pics for above didn't show so here they are again.

    ForumRunner_20131029_064059.jpg



    ForumRunner_20131029_064119.jpg
     
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