First build: Picklecaster, a poplar Telecaster

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by brandonh, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I routinely use a stewmac hot rod in a neck with a 7/8 thick nut total measurement. Hot rods require a 7/16" deep slot. So assuming that the neck blank is 10/16" at the nut (and the fretboard is 4/16"), that leaves about 3/16" of wood under. I doubt another 1/16" of wood removal would be a problem. You can always have a graceful transition to the nut instead of an abrupt one and that should put more meat under the brass anchor


    See how the first neck shaft to nut transition on the left is more gradual than the middle two.


    FourNecks72.JPG


    That pic is from this thread.

    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/jimmy-vaughan-strat.629083/
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  2. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    If it's last name is Pickle Caster, does that mean it's first name is Dill (wink,wink)?


    Looking great.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  3. brandonh

    brandonh TDPRI Member

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    Based on this, I double-checked my measurements with calipers.
    0.075: neck blank starting thickness
    0.665: neck taper thickness at 1st fret
    0.467: truss slot rod depth
    0.198 (proud 3/16): neck thickness past the truss rod slot

    It's good to know I have some thickness to play around with when I get to final shaping. I was conservative taking down the thickness taper. Maybe I'll bring my "good" neck down a little bit more based on how the tester comes out.

    I like the look of that neck transition. Thanks for the picture, the link, and your excellent tutorials.
     
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  4. 2blue2

    2blue2 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Soon your going to have to start thinking about pickle-ups!


    I'm kidding I know you got

    I just couldn't help myself.

    Its a nice build for a Lucky Little Buddy. Hope she loves it.
     
  5. brandonh

    brandonh TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! I showed her the two necks and asked what it was. She said "a guitar popsicle stick!" She also said I needed to "put some brown" (a fretboard) on my tester. Smart kid!

    4-8.jpg
    We've got a shredder in the making! Her uncle thinks she's channeling Hendrix biting strings.

    4-4.jpg
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    There wasn't much time for guitar work today, but I got a little more neck shaping done. I brought the thickness taper closer to the nut and rough shaped the peghead and heel transitions a little better. Then I marked the secondary facets and brought them down to the lines. Those tidy curls off the spokeshave were satisfying (a little thick, perhaps—need to close the throat up some).
     
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  6. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Question, what is the kerf/cut on the saw you cut the fret slots with?

    Only going by the pictures, I know of no frets/barbs that are going to bite in the slots I think I am seeing??? Unless they are actually .023" and the pic is making the slots look bigger??
     
  7. boop

    boop Tele-Meister

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    Holy heck, so adorable. Also, nice looking build :)
     
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  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I would get that fretboard on there. You may have to re-level the surface now that you removed all that wood.
     
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  9. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

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    Great work - it's really coming along. I'm taking all the neck work on board as I gear up to start on my first couple of neck builds.
     
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  10. brandonh

    brandonh TDPRI Member

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    I went on another side-quest today: build a drill press table! It's mostly built, anyway. I've got to glue up the MDF blanks tonight and cut some sacrificial inserts. Then I'll make a jig for doing the bridge through holes and ferrules. (Like the router table, I'll probably finish this with poly and throw on some nice trim after the guitar build is done.)

    I spent most of my shop time today building the table. I did hog out 3/4 of the cavities. I need to double-check my bridge spacing before I commit to it. I hope to get the body in good shape by the weekend, then back to the neck.

    05-01.jpg
     
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  11. brandonh

    brandonh TDPRI Member

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    I’m going to scrap my neck and start over. I think this was a long time coming. Every time I look at it, I only see the mistakes (bad fret slots, divot in the peghead transition, one inlay hole slightly akimbo, neck thickness a little too thin at the head end, misaligned truss rod slot). I wouldn’t let it out of the house with my name on it, so why in the world would I keep it here for one of the people I like best in this world?

    IMG_6295.jpg
    Work had me out by the lumberyard this morning, so I picked up a purdy hunk of Bolivian Rosewood (does that make this Pau Ferro?) and some hard maple. The plan is to use some maple to make test fretboards and use the rest for necks. I’ll look into making some jigs and miter boxes and so on, get it down pat on the maple before I touch the nice stuff. I may noodle around with a home-brew peghead design that’s not a copyright infringement, too. That’s something I was debating early on. I’ll probably still carve out the tester and the now-bad necks to get some more practice on that step (and then extract the truss rod). This decision sets me back, but I know it’s the right call.

    I got my pockets routed to final depth. And, true to form, I had a routing goof: I got my neck pocket too far past final depth to be acceptable (over 1/16 but not quite 1/8 too deep). The idea is to use my neck template to rout a plug, glue it in, and re-rout when dry. Is that about right?

    IMG_6282.jpg

    Hey! Who left a guitar here! Despite the setbacks, this looks encouraging! More a guitar than not. There’s still much left to do: roundover, drill wiring holes, drill bridge string and mounting holes, drill strap buttons, drill socket hole. But pretty soon I’ll need to think about finishing, which is fun.

    IMG_6290.jpg
    IMG_6292.jpg
    The poplar is pretty consistent in coloration, but the glue joint isn’t as seamless as I’d like. I may clear coat it, but I will likely paint. I’m thinking one of the Dupli-Color greens, maybe the Metal Specks green if I can source it locally. I suppose I need to put “make a pick guard template” on my to-do list, too.

    Any advice on home-brew fret slotting jigs, neck pocket fix, and finishing is welcome! And thanks again to all who have chimed in here—and especially to those who have contributed such great tutorials and write-ups. I couldn’t be doing this build without all the great information here.
     
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  12. CraigB

    CraigB Tele-Afflicted

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    Looking good Brandon, a very worthwhile project for sure!

    If you're going to use duplicolor metalspecks, I have a couple of suggestions.

    First, I really like the stuff, and if you can't get it local, try amazon. Of course, you'll want to sand as smooth as possible, you already know that. But also, duplicolor makes a high solids primer, I think they call it High-Fill or Primer'n'Fill, something like that. It works great. You won't even know it's a piece of wood once it's sealed/sanded, which is the base you want for a color coat.

    I shoot the first coat of primer with cavities exposed. Let that sit overnight. Mask off any areas you don't want paint-build and shoot several more coats and allow to dry at least as long as they recommend X 2. (I believe I used the whole can last time I used it for a body, so it required the extra drying time). Scuff sand with 320 or 400.

    Then when you're ready to start shooting the metalspecks, be sure to warm the can. This will prevent the spray nozzle from sputtering drops onto your otherwise nice, light, even coats. On a typical high 60's/low 70's sunny day, I'll just set the can on the concrete patio for an hour or so. Make sure you shake it really good and then spray really minimal dry coats, making sure to keep your "trigger" finger out of the way of the spray nozzle. The tendency is to get the can close up to the surface and get immediate coverage, but if you pull back and only lay small amounts down per coat, multiple, multiple dry coats, you eventually will wind up with a super-sparkly, super even-looking paint job.

    I'd consider getting two cans of each so you're sure you have enough. Also, when you're done spraying, turn the can upside down and spray it until the color stops and all that's coming out is propellant. That'll clean the nozzle and it should not clog when you go to spray the next coat.

    For clearcoat, I use nitro, like Behlens or SM ColorTone aerosol. They work fine over duplicolor acrylic lacquers. I prefer those over duplicolor clear, which is hard to buff out to a glass-like shine. You will want to start the same way with the clear with dry mist coats, at least a few. If you shoot it wet right off the bat, all of those wonderful flakes that are standing up will lay down and you'll lose some of the desired sparkle effect. For the finish coats you can give it some wetter coats without worrying about laying the flecks down.

    Can't wait to see it!
     
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  13. Greg M

    Greg M Tele-Holic

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    “You can’t make anything now with the tools you wish you had, so best get at it with what you’ve got.”

    I like your Granddad's take there. :lol:

    Nice looking Tele!
     
  14. GeorgeG

    GeorgeG TDPRI Member

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    Fantastic thread. Another day of learning how much I don't, but would like to know.

    George
     
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  15. brandonh

    brandonh TDPRI Member

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    Awesome write-up, Craig! That's a big help. I appreciate you taking the time to share that. I stopped in at Pep Boys and picked up some of that sealer/primer. They had one can of green, with another truck coming in after the weekend. I'll have to order in the clear coat. The plan is to follow the finishing schedule through on some of my off-cut poplar to see how the wood (and me) will behave before I do the real deal.

    Thanks, Greg! Hard not to think of him when I'm noodling around in the garage.

    Ha! Thanks George. That's about how I feel most days, too, usually after screwing something up...

    Got some more quick steps done at lunch:

    I spent about 15 minutes thinking about how to set up the body relative to the drill press. Then I pulled out the bit and brace and had it done in 45 seconds. Also put on 1/8-inch roundover. I used a crappy, brand new Craftsman bit that burned out on me all the way around. First the bad job routing out the body, and now this. I'm not spending any more money on their router bits.

    IMG_6304.jpg

    IMG_6307.jpg

    I also drilled out the wiring cavities. They terminate in the control cavity just under the switch and just above the top knob.
    IMG_6308.jpg
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    And finally I got the neck cavity patch routed, glued, and set up to dry in clamps.
    IMG_6312.jpg
     
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  16. brandonh

    brandonh TDPRI Member

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    I got cracking on the new neck.

    6-01.jpg
    First I jointed the fretboard and neck blank. No. 6 finds the truth every time. I love this plane.

    6-03.jpg
    Then I split the fretboard in half. The board was under a lot of tension! I’m going to let it sit before I do anything else with it, see if it moves again. Each blank is now ~0.4-in thick, so I’m hoping that’s enough thickness to get the board jointed again. The maple hasn’t moved at all since I planed it down to thickness.

    6-04.jpg
    I also moved forward on the body. I started with through-holes, which I managed to get nice and straight.

    6-05.jpg
    Then I finished my drill press table so I could use Mr. Wells’s technique for sending the holes all the way through the body.

    6-06.jpg
    I’d buy that for a dollar!

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    Bridge mounting screw pilot holes next.

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    Not as good as a robot, but good enough for me.

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    Next I fixed the neck pocket. The plug held well, and it was a snap to rout it down to a perfect 5/8-inch depth. Kinda sketchy on that bit depth, but no catastrophes this time.

    6-11.jpg
    And then I marked the neck holes and drilled. I also chopped an access hole between the neck pocket and pickup rout for adjusting the truss rod.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
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  17. brandonh

    brandonh TDPRI Member

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    That leaves me pretty close to done with the body. I could use some advice on pick guard placement. I’m going to roll my own, but I picked up a Fender OEM guard just to see what I’m up against.

    6-12.jpg
    I don’t have any history with Telecasters, so I don’t know if this looks good. From what I gather, I want a tight neck line and a tight control cavity. I don’t have any opinion about gap between bridge and guard (I can be fussy, but I’m not THAT fussy). Is there any truism about space between guard and edge of guitar? How am I looking on the horns and bouts?

    6-13.jpg

    Also: I haven’t drilled my strap button holes yet. Do I want to do that before or after I paint? I can see it going both ways. Is that a six of one, half dozen of another kind of call?

    6-14.jpg
    And finally, I sourced my finishing supplies. I can get into some good trouble with this!
     
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  18. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    I drill all the holes except the pickguard before paint. Less risk of cracking the finish.
     
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  19. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    On mine, I drilled all holes including the pickguard for the same reason as @RickyRicardo above. The only problem with drilling the pickguard holes is that they will be semi filled with paint and clear coat by the time you’re done.
     
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  20. CraigB

    CraigB Tele-Afflicted

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    When you go to wet sand, assuming you'll be using water/dish soap, stay away as much as possible from any that aren't completely filled with finish. If enough water breaches the finish into the wood, it will swell up and then the finish will most likely crack, as mentioned. You still want to get those areas sanded flat, though, just keep the water from pooling around the holes and keep wiping them dry as you go. Watch out especially around the string ferrules, string holes under the bridge, and tuner holes. I like to ream those out just slightly larger before applying finish and seal with CA or dewaxed shellac to prevent this from happening. Even then, if you see any hint of swelling under the finish, stop and let it dry out before going forward.

    I tried using naptha to wet sand once and didn't like it. Water is better because you can do the sanding in the house without worrying about any fumes or mess.
     
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