Father/Son Tele Build thread

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by pmacaula, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    45
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2019
    Location:
    Toronto
    Just joined TDPRI after lurking for a number of months. First and second posts are in the Welcome Wagon forum at this link.

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/father-son-journey.953936/

    At the risk of repeating what is in that thread, here is the background:

    My middle son (a guitar player) and I (a guy who likes to build stuff) have decided to build a Tele together. For him, it will be a chance to learn more about his instrument, how to make stuff & a little bit of engineering/physics, which is what he thinks he wants to take in university in the fall of 2020.

    Our youngest is a drummer. The family room 'studio' looks like this:
    [​IMG]

    A better shot of J's guitar collection (the bass is actually mine, though I haven't played for 20+ years). The Seagull S6 was his first guitar and a Christmas gift. He worked and saved for The Strat & LP - 100% his money.
    [​IMG]


    What have we built together that qualifies us to take on a guitar build ?
    A few years ago, we built a plywood pedal board.
    [​IMG]

    We then stepped up to a 2x12 cab to go with the Marshall DSL20 head he was jonesing for.
    [​IMG]

    This past year, he (and others) helped me build a mancave/workshop/storage shed (12'x16'), which is just missing electrical at this point.
    [​IMG]

    Almost forgot ! This past winter's HS physics project - a ping-pong ball catapult (hmmm - will have to find a photo).

    Not sure how any of this qualifies us to do the fine carpentry work needed for a guitar, but there you are.

    He decided he wants a pretty straight ahead Tele & is sorting out the details on hardware, etc.

    A few weeks ago, we took a trip to the specialty lumber yard & now have two body blanks (one alder, one ash), some neck (maple) blanks and fingerboard (maple, ebony) blanks.

    The body blanks are 1.75" thick & pretty square/flat, though have a small amount of cup/bow, so will need to plane flat. Still trying to decide how to do that. Invest in a long hand plane (15"+) ? Maybe a planer bit for a drill press or a router jig ? Find someone with a big jointer and planer to just run them through ? Dunno yet - thinking on it.
    Most of the neck/fingerboard blanks are materially thicker than what we need. so will sort that using the same process/tools.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Last week, we printed out (full size) the Tele body and neck plans posted/linked to by this site.

    Yesterday, we went to the local guitar store (Long & McQuade on Bloor) and measured the profile of the neck he liked best (see avatar photo) - a Modern 'C'. Web sources we checked say it is 0.82" deep at the 1st fret, 0.87" at the 12th fret, 1.6875" wide at the nut, with a 9.5" radius fingerboard and jumbo frets.
    Our measurements with calipers were pretty close to those numbers.
    We also took profiles of the shape at the 1st and 12th frets.

    If anyone has any better or additional measurements we need for making/shaping a neck, would appreciate the pointers.

    We do have a few full-size 2-piece Tele neck drawings (using a Hot Rod dual spoke-wheel truss rod).

    First actual build job is going to be making MDF or hardboard router templates from the paper drawings.

    Cheers. Patrick.
     
    Blue Bill, slypig, joealso and 8 others like this.
  2. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,308
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Location:
    Bargersville/Indianapolis, Indiana
    Welcome and looking forward to seeing the build. A great father son adventure! The memories being made will be worth more that the best of custom builds!

    Eric
     
    Ian T likes this.
  3. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,008
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2014
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    The only things I made out of wood with my sons were Pinewood Derby cars for Cub Scouts many years ago. Lots of fun, but I'm no woodworker and stick with what I know, electronics. Younger son plays guitar, bass, drums, keys, so I made him some pedals, and modded his Jaguar. I might be able to build him a pedalboard, but a guitar from scratch, I'd probably lose a finger lol.
    Good luck, spending time with your son is the best!
     
  4. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    719
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    When my daughter was 4, I made a BYOC Phaser kit and we painted it together. That pedal is very special to me.

    No matter how imperfect it comes out, that guitar is going to be a lifetime keepsake of your son. You are a great Dad and he is a lucky kid. Can't wait to see how it turns out.
     
  5. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    19,969
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Location:
    Ontario County
    My shed is my main work area too.

    shed0042.jpg



    This thread has helped a few people out on their first necks:




    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/lets-make-a-neck.755300/





    A router planing jig will get you there, but a 13" planer will be a better option if you can swing it. I bought a Delta 13" last year for an indoor planer, as my Dewalt 13 doesn't like the cold. The Delta will do the job, but leaves a little more snipe than the Dewalt.


    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Delta-15-Amp-13-in-Portable-Thickness-Planer-22-555/205404458


    This sander is popular here and can do a nice job on the curved parts.

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-Oscillating-Edge-Belt-Spindle-Sander-EB4424/100061671?cm_mmc=Shopping|G|Base|D25T|25-9_PORTABLE+POWER|NA|LIA|71700000044155732|58700004615424082|92700043016175525&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIq4OXp8LP4gIVELXACh1PFwl_EAQYASABEgKNf_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds[/QUOTE]
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
    24 track likes this.
  6. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    45
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2019
    Location:
    Toronto
    Eric - Thanks. Excited about it.
    Zippo - Pinewood derby cars - those were fun ! Good to know there is electronics skill here - may need some help.
    Ian - hoping it will actually be a usable instrument as well as a keepsake :)
    Marty/builder - nice shed ! Thanks for the links. Unfortunately, the blanks are a bit too wide (15.5" & 16.5") for most benchtop planers. I am wary of cutting to rough size before flattening/jointing, though guess I could cut them to width before planing. Will think on that...
    Want to keep the tool acquisition program down to a reasonable level, as it could get really expensive really fast for tools that I may only use a few times...

    Cheers. Patrick.
     
    zippofan likes this.
  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,259
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    Around here, Harbor Freight has hand planes for $12 that watching a couple of Paul Sellers youtube videos to set them up "fettle" and sharpen they work well -- equivalent to a Stanley #4 or maybe a #5 . I've leveled quite a few Tele bodies that way -- because my Dewalt is just a little too narrow. Canadian Tire might carry the same or similar. The setup, on a plane or a guitar, is critical.

    Paper templates: look on TDPRI for the Terry Downs 'Rev E'. Make a working set of templates from your carefully hand cut master templates, because things happen. I find to minimize tear-out when routing the outside to bandsaw close to the line and then remember to move the router in the directions of the wood like you pet a dog, don't try petting the wood against the grain or it will lift out. That edge sander is a useful tool. Some drill presses with a spindle in them can work too, others the chuck falls out (mine does this).

    The 4-way switch is a great plan for a Tele, it's my auto mod.

    Since you are making your own neck: Width and Thickness measurements are only a small part of the tale. How much wood is chewed off the rear shoulders of the neck is more important. Easiest example is compare a Squier Strat neck to a MIA/MIM Tele neck and you'll see 1mm difference in width/depth but you'll see how they carve the Squier from the leading edge of the fretboard (leaving a knife edge) and cut to the back at an acute angle. The MIA/MIM Tele neck leaves more of a flat on the fretboard sides with the carve starting behind the fretboard glue line.

    GuitarBuilder's neck cutting thread(s) linked previously is very good.

    The Ron Kirn 'leveling yer Tele' is useful when you get to that stage. Also has suggestions for a lower cost kit of tools to do the work. I'll add that a strip of simulated marble door threshold works for a leveling beam or a scrap off-cut from a granite kitchen counter, welding tip cleaner file set to do nut slots (only buy nut files if you are building a lot of guitars), a flat rat tailed file with the narrow edges and the tip ground smooth and polished is super cheap and effective at crowning and blending the ends of the frets. Only get the crowning files if you are building a lot of guitars.

    Order up Jescar stainless steel frets, don't mess with regular fret materials. I moved from 'jumbo' regular frets (thinking of longer life) to 'medium' stainless steel and it takes me less time to level and crown stainless than the regular frets.

    Choose a simple to apply finish that won't take months to complete. Wipe-on poly over a couple of days applications so you can assemble and play. That will make for a more enjoyable build for a kid.
    If you want to do a fabric top ... look up the Texas Toast youtube channel, or if a burst then look up BigDguitars channel. There are a couple of threads on here (maybe Strat-Talk) on using Varathane water-based floor finish as a clear coat, and using Duplo rattle cans to paint a body with good success.

    Go through all the old TDPRI Challenge Build threads for build tricks, jigs, and solutions to problems you may encounter.

    I'd suggest even building a first guitar out of pine lumber for the body and poplar for the neck with a poplar fretboard as a first build to test out your jigs and build process before going into the fancy wood.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
    Treadplatedual likes this.
  8. mo62987

    mo62987 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    Posts:
    71
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2019
    Location:
    B'ham, AL
    Alright! Excited to see what you and your son end up with!
    I also try to include my boys in most projects... problem is they're far too young for most of this, and everything takes a bit longer. But, hey, priorities right?

    Truth.

    Yeah, we'll see... this is kind of an addiction once you get started ;)

    There's also some good info over in the DIY toolshed section of the forum to get you started without quite the $$$ investment
     
    Treadplatedual likes this.
  9. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

    Posts:
    12,211
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    Location:
    44°55'09.9"N 79°25'39.1"W
    Admin Post
    When my son was about 15 we built an electric 12 string together. He was the student and I was the teacher. It was a great experience for both of us.

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/father-son-project-12-string-airline.308555/

    He later went to Spain to take a course in building Classical and Flamenco guitars. He now lives there, doing an apprenticeship and building very high end instruments.

    You never know what path your son will follow after the two of you complete this short journey.

    (the photo in my signature is the fretboard of his 12 string)
     
    crazydave911 and KingKara like this.
  10. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    45
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2019
    Location:
    Toronto
    Jvin - thanks for the pointers. Have been going through build threads for tool and jig ideas.
    Jking - very cool what your son is doing. My boys (3 of them) generally seem happy with dad as IT support, mr fixit, guitar and drum tech, ...
    Given J initiated this project, I am excited about a more ‘balanced’ project. We shall see !
     
  11. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    45
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2019
    Location:
    Toronto
    Mo - I had a close brush with 'Lee Valley itis' last night. After a long day at work and being a bit wound up by the basketball game, I was on their website placing an order for a very nice #5 plane, some high grade straightedges, feeler gauges, setup blocks, etc. As they have three stores here in Toronto, I just had to push the button and drive to the nearest one this morning.
    Fortunately, sanity prevailed & J and instead I went to HD for some 1/4" hardboard, 3/4" MDF, spray glue, various bits and bobs and a Ridgid ROSS. Ok, so maybe I did spend a few bones, but it was directly related to our task today - getting a start on body and neck templates.
    We did not have a lot of time, as J has exams starting Monday, but we did spend a few hours at it & made good progress...

    Paper plans from the great Terry Downs printed at full size and 1/4" hardboard ready to go.

    [​IMG]

    The new ROSS....
    [​IMG]


    So we got to cutting paper & spraying glue. J learned a bit about how to hold a very sharp knife while cutting smooth curves.

    [​IMG]

    Next step, careful work with the jigsaw to cut the templates (body, neck and body/neck pocket) to rough dimensions. It definitely would have been easier/smoother with a band saw, but we got the job done.
    Step 3, unboxing the ROSS and getting to it. We moved outside for this really dusty task, shaving the body and neck templates as close to the line as we dared. Always fun to try out a new power tool. It was a pleasant surprise that the ROSS table and belt/spindles we square and straight right out of the box. Paper templates, even when glued on, fray a lot at the edge, obscuring the cut line. So, we sanded as close as we dared, then clean the edge off with a bit of sandpaper so we could see how close to the actual line we were before going back at it.
    For the neck, as others have observed, sanding a dead straight line is near impossible, so we shaved it pretty close, leaving just enough for us to cut the final line on another day, using a metal straightedge with a bearing-guided router bit on the router table.

    Then to hand-sanding the edges to smooth out the curves, especially the tight corners.

    A very satisfactory first real build day, with a near-complete outline done on the master body template and a 'ready to router the straights' neck template.
    [​IMG]
    The neck pocket template is the one one laying on the work table. As I understand it, the only shape that really matters on it is the neck pocket itself, so think I will just line it up on top of the body template (with centrelines carefully aligned), drill holes through both to fix them in position & then router it to the main body shape with a straight line bridging the horns, saving the neck cut-out for when we have the neck template cut exactly to shape. Have not really decided which of the two to use for the various cut-outs (control pocket, pickups, etc).

    As J is in exams until a week from Wednesday, likely going to be quiet for a bit, but things should pick up after that.

    In the meantime, I will scour Kijiji for a good used 14"+ drill press (and possibly a 14"+ bandsaw).
    Have also been looking through some of the router sled threads, thinking we may need to build one of those for flattening the neck and body. Also wondering if it is better to make a fingerboard radius router jig or buy or make a sanding beam for the same purpose.

    No doubt we have already made some mistakes that will need re-work and recovery, but we are having fun.
    J is definitely more motivated to get his hands dirty than with any other project and I have to make sure I back off enough and not jump in just to make it 'right' all the time.
    What is great so far is that it feels like a real project with achievable intermediate goals and milestones, even if the final product is a long way off...
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  12. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    13,156
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2014
    Location:
    kamloops bc
    Nice , Have fun with this , he'll remember it always! too cool

    OH yeah welcome to the asylum! :lol::lol::lol::lol:
     
  13. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,069
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Location:
    North of Boston
    Awesome project.
    I started building when I found out I was going to have a child. My son is 6 now and I have 3/4 Tele I built a few years ago during one of the challenges here on the site. I have another one in the works made from stair treads from my parents house and floor boards from his Nana's/Great Grandparents house. I'm hoping down the road, he and I can build one together.
     
    GPlo likes this.
  14. GPlo

    GPlo Tele-Meister

    Age:
    32
    Posts:
    125
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2018
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I too started building stuff when i found out I was gonna be a dad. A guitar was next after familiarizing myself with a router and a plane.

    On topic: very cool you’re doing this with your son. Congrats on the ROSS, that will be a big help.

    Building a router sled is very easy (and cheap) You’ll use it atleast a couple of times during your build.

    A lot of tools you can make yourself or improvise. I would however invest in a good quality straight edge if you don’t have one already.

    Good luck!
     
  15. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    45
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2019
    Location:
    Toronto
    DrASA - Six - great age ! Be sure not to discourage him from 'helping out' now, even if it is only watch from a safe distance ;-)

    GPlo - Looking at linear bearings for a router sled, though am trying to pace tool acquisition based on project progress. Good call on the straightedge. I have a few, though not of machinist's quality. Not sure that level is needed for woodworking.

    So, progress this weekend was pretty limited given J's exams (last three on Mon/Tues/Wed this coming week) and lots of office work for me.

    Did squeeze in a few hours today. We finished the 1/4" hardboard master neck pocket template to go along with the master neck and body templates. We then made working template copies of all three from 3/4" thick MDF.

    Working body template - screw holes from connecting it to the 1/4" hardboard master ( I couldn't find my double-sided tape :( ). Centreline marked on the ends and other side - just need to do this side.
    [​IMG]


    Neck pocket and neck templates when fit together. Super tight, though the corners on the neck are not really proper quarter circles (see the gap on the left side corner).
    The 1/4" master body template is on the left.
    [​IMG]


    All three templates.
    [​IMG]


    I think the next logical step is for J to order all of the hardware (pickups, bridge, truss rod, control wiring, cover & knobs, fret wire, etc). We can then lay them out on the templates and mark and rout out the various holes and check for square/straight before starting to cut the expensive wood !

    As for cutting the alder/ash body blanks, I found two pricey 1/2" shank spiral upcut template bits (2" cutting length) on Amazon:
    1. CMT bit - C$121 - https://www.amazon.ca/CMT-191-507-1...ocphy=9061009&hvtargid=pla-434160309812&psc=1

    2. Whiteside bit - C$178 - https://www.amazon.ca/Whiteside-Router-Bits-RFT5200-Diameter/dp/B0012JI870

    All else equal, I would prefer to spend less. Anyone have any experience with either bit - good or bad ?

    Cheers. Patrick.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
    Jim_in_PA likes this.
  16. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    162
    Joined:
    May 31, 2019
    Location:
    SE PA near New Hope PA
    Unfortunately, when you get to .5" spirals with the longer cutting lengths for tooling, the cost goes up considerably. As a compromise, I'm considering this .375" cutter with 1.75" cutting height...but it requires a .375" collet. For a hand-held router with a .5" collet, you can use a bushing adapter to accommodate that. (I have native .375" collets for my CNC)

    https://www.toolstoday.com/v-14231-46597.html
     
  17. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    45
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2019
    Location:
    Toronto
    Jim - thanks for the pointer. Assume you don't need a template-following bit (ball bearing on top or bottom) when using your CNC.
     
  18. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    19,969
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Location:
    Ontario County
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  19. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,069
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Location:
    North of Boston
    I'm going to suggest you save your money on router bits and sand to the line. The number 1 thing that happens when folks route the body perimeter for the first time is tear out.
    Looking awesome so far!
     
  20. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    45
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2019
    Location:
    Toronto
    Guitarbuilder - Thanks !
    The Whiteside RFTD RFT5200 seems to be the bit of preference, though CMT's equivalent is less expensive (at least it is on Amazon.ca). I am wondering whether there is a meaningful performance difference between the two.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.