First time Tele build!

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Pistonhead, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. Pistonhead

    Pistonhead TDPRI Member

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    Hi guys,

    I have been lurking here for a while and some have you may have noticed me recently asking some questions here and there.

    Well I have been quietly starting to make a telecaster using the T Downs blueprints and thought it was about time I put up the obligatory build thread!

    First up I visited a local, family run timber yard to find some nice hardwood. I got there and explained to the guy the kind of wood I was after and he took to me through to a massive pile of American White ash! I got them to plane and thickness some up for me ready to glue up and picked it up the next day, after handing over £27 all inc. which I thought was pretty reasonable!

    On the way home I popped by a local modelling shop to buy some titebond and then set to work. I started by first sawing the ash I half so that I could joint it up to get sufficient width, man that stuff is hard! It took 20 mins with the hand saw and a lot of sweating to get through it!

    I then lined the pieces up for the best grain match over the joint and drew an indexing squiggle on the top to save time when clamping.

    Next I cut up some scraps of MDF left from making the 9mm template to use on the surface where the clamps would be to avoid denting the wood and got the sash and g clamps ready. I spread titebond onto the 2 surfaces and then rubbed the two edges together and sat them in the sash clamps. I then placed the g clamps over the joint at each end to avoid the joint moving under pressure and tightened them all up.

    I then cleaned of the excess glue with a damp rag, and admired my work over a coffee.
     

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  2. davmac

    davmac Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice start. Looking forward to this one. Break a leg!
     
  3. Pistonhead

    Pistonhead TDPRI Member

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    The next day I removed it from the clamps and knocked of the MDF scraps which had adhered slightly to the joint, this left a little bit of glue and MDF on each side, but this can be cleaned up later during sanding.

    I then popped to the local hardware shop to pick up some 18mm MDF to make my working template from, I didn't take any pics of this stage, but have some below of the master.

    I then drew around the template and set about cutting it out with a jigsaw, this went very slowly and very badly. My jigsaw blade was as unhappy about this as i was!

    I sought advice on here and someone suggested drilling holes around the perimeter every inch or so to make things easier, so a few days later I did this and got it done in half an hour or so.

    Pics of these various stages below!
     

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  4. Pistonhead

    Pistonhead TDPRI Member

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    I then set about routing the outline using the template to get it all squared up. The jigsaw blade had wandered a bit wide at the bottom so in some places I had around 7-8mm of wood to remove.

    Having read loads of build threads on here, I proceeded slowly using the downhill method and only making shallow passes, this took a good hour and half to do, but meant I had no tear out around the edge. I did however have a small mishap on the lower horn where the router tilted slighty on it's base and took a little bite about 2mm deep. I should be able to fix this with some ash dust I have made by sanding scrap wood and a bit of epoxy. I found keeping the router square around that area particularly difficult due to the small area the router has to sit on. Does anyone have any suggestions here for future use?

    That was my progress for that day, so I hoovered up what seemed like a ton of wood shavings and made some dinner.

    Today, I set about routing out the cavities on the body.

    I hogged out as much wood as I could with a 10mm drill bit ( didn't have a small enough Forstner ) then gradually worked down to the final depth on each cavity. I set the depth of the final pass using a digital vernier that I inherited from my engineer dad to ensure accuracy.

    Each cavity is within 5 thou of it's proper depth, which I don't think is too bad considering my eBay router bit! I have attached pics below of the finished article and the mess on the floor afterwards! Also a pic of the back, i think both sides have really nice grain and I'm very happy with the joint!
     

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  5. motor_city_tele

    motor_city_tele Tele-Afflicted

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    cutting close to the line

    ***I sought advice on here and someone suggested drilling holes around the perimeter every inch or so to make things easier, so a few days later I did this and got it done in half an hour or so. ***

    I like to cut out the perimeter of my bodies as close to the line as possible trying to avoid wasting any of the precious Ash as possible. I like to use the waste where I can, and the bigger the piece, the better.

    here is what I like to do with the scraps from cutting out the bodies
    [​IMG]
     
  6. davmac

    davmac Tele-Afflicted

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    I struggled with this the first couple of times. My solution was to cut some MDF to go round the horn leaving a 1-2" gap and then raise that up off the bench with body blank offcuts. That way it is exactly the same height as your body blank and template, and supports both sides of the router all the way round. I hope that makes sense but if not, shout and I'll draw a picture of what I mean.
     
  7. Pistonhead

    Pistonhead TDPRI Member

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    Thanks, its been really fun so far. I have a bit of an engineering background as my dad was an aerospace engineer, and I have built a few engines and tuned cars. But I have never really done anything with wood, so it's fresh and a good learning exercise!

    Good idea!! Looks ace!
     
  8. Pistonhead

    Pistonhead TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, thanks for your Input. That actually came to me just after I had posted lol, typical!! Will make a mental note for the next one, I can feel this becoming a bit of an obsession!
     
  9. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

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    The ash looks great! I've got enough here for 3-4 bodies myself. The wood was really cheap and IMHO really beautiful!
    I've not gotten around to using a saw on it yet, but I really love the way it sands. I'm going to enjoy building with it.
    Again, really nice work!
     
  10. flatfive

    flatfive Friend of Leo's

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    Looking real good, Pistonhead. Building that first body sure is
    magic fun, isn't it?

    At the beginning of my first build, Buckocaster wrote 'always take your
    time, and think things through'. It was great advice, and it looks like
    your doing so.
     
  11. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    A really fine job your doing. I love the grain in that ash :). BTW, something that makes body shaping much easier, is making a router table from an old counter top or some such. It needn't be an elaborate thing, but it makes a world or difference to have the router stationary and be moving the body only ;)


    BTW, my router table is simply a scrap counter top bolted to a couple of cinderblocks :lol:
     
  12. junk mutt

    junk mutt Tele-Meister

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    Nice work Pistonhead, you can hardly see the join.
    Are you going for a natural finish? Please don't tell me youre going to paint that beautiful piece of ash. ;-)
    Any thoughts on a neck yet?
     
  13. Pistonhead

    Pistonhead TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! I'm totally blown away by how good this ash looks!

    Yeah, it's sound advise. When your building an engine, most of your time is spent checking and re checking things!

    Good shout, I have an old piece of countertop so will have to knock one up. Do you need a special base for the router? I'm guessing it would need a fixed base?

    Thanks junk mutt! Yeah, the join turned out much better than I thought it would! I was quite lucky with the way the grain matched up across it!

    It's definitely Going to be a Clear finish, maybe ambered slightly. There's no way I would cover up that grain!

    Have ordered an Allparts TMO-C neck from kokotele, so that should hopefully be here in 2-3 weeks all things going well.

    I went for that neck as it most closely matches the profile of the neck on my ebony les Paul standard which I love.
     
  14. Pistonhead

    Pistonhead TDPRI Member

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    Hi guys.

    I'm having trouble trying to find an 1/8 inch roundover bit in the U.K for sensible money (i.e not £20-30)!

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Cheers!
     
  15. Olav

    Olav Tele-Afflicted

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    There was somewhat of a tutorial on that very subject on here lately...
    Lemme scrounge around a lil'

    [edit;
    got it, it's a thread by member Flatfive, not so much a tutorial but there's a good deal of info in there to get you a long ways into building a router table ]
     
  16. davmac

    davmac Tele-Afflicted

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    The cheapest anywhere near that size I've seen is this one at http://wealdentool.com/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Small_Ovolo_186.html part number T1327 at £18.70. I've bought a few cutters from Wealden and they are top notch gear.
     
  17. Pistonhead

    Pistonhead TDPRI Member

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    Thanks, Dave!

    It's still a bit pricy for my liking but I will keep the link in case I don't find anything else.

    Someone from America on here could make a fortune selling cheap 1/8 roundover bits to the uk folk!
     
  18. davmac

    davmac Tele-Afflicted

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    Yep, it was for me too. I decided to become a fan of the later 1/4" roundover, which coincidentally was included in a set of router bits I was given. :)
     
  19. Pistonhead

    Pistonhead TDPRI Member

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    I was thinking about using a 1/4" but I can't really find any decent pictures or comparisons on here, and I heard there may be issues with pickguards on the bigger roundover?
     
  20. davmac

    davmac Tele-Afflicted

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    I've not had any pickguard problems but I may just have been lucky.
     
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