Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reiland Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reilander Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com Reilander Pickups
Join TDPRI Today

Getting started

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by EricIndecisive, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Tele-Meister

    221
    Apr 14, 2009
    Western MA
    Hey everyone, I am just starting to get into building after a long time of wanting to try it. A friend and I did make our own bodies at one point, routing by hand without templates, and using a dremel tool. Needless to say they were not very pretty. He still kept his and is a functioning albeit not too well playing guitar.

    I think for now I am going to stick to bodies. I would love to make a traditional tele body, and two Cabronita style teles which I will post mockups of.

    This is where I am so far - the table. I built it based off of one I saw online somewhere, it's about 24"x35". I will most likely transform this into a router table this weekend by drilling a hole in the center, then counter-sinking 3 bolts that can thread right into the router base.

    As you can see I have a very simple rail setup, and I need to just make the sled for the router for planing. Thinking about it now, I probably should have turned the spare pool motor I have into a direct drive drum sander.. I guess that will be a project for another day.

    Anyways, here is the result of my new found addiction to amazon.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The first step is to start making fatter templates, using Ron Kirn's as a master copy.

    Here are the concept guitars that I would like to make (besides a traditional blackguard, blonde tele)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Can't wait to get started! If anyone knows any good sources to get some good guitar wood in Western Mass please let me know :D
     
  2. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2011
    Tucson
    Brother, I'm thinking if you can just toss off an observation like this without a second thought, this whole Tele-building thing is going to go just fine!

    Looking forward to seeing your work.

    Rex
     
  3. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Tele-Meister

    221
    Apr 14, 2009
    Western MA
    Haha well I definitely did not mean to come across as knowing what I'm doing. Most of my woodworking projects have not been so pretty so far, but I'm starting to get better at figuring out how to do things.

    Still no progress yet on an actual guitar, but I'm hoping to get the router sled built this week, then all I will need to do is get some wood to get started!

    Today I cleaned the shop a bit (although it's still a huge freakin' mess) and I am very excited that I was able to finish my router table.

    I kept thinking that I should do a plate like I see everyone else do... but I really felt like I would mess it up and then have to redo the whole top piece. After mocking things up I figured it would be easier to just attach it right to the top. The cool part is the maximum level brings the collet right to the top of the MDF, so I'll never have a bit too low.

    First drill a big old hole in the middle using this scrap and my hand drill...

    [​IMG]

    Then I used another scrap piece to guide the drill bit for the bolts, and this photo is to counter-sink the bolts with washer on the bottom.

    [​IMG]

    The bolts thread through the top of the table right through the bottom of the router.

    [​IMG]

    And the finished top.

    [​IMG]

    I was happy with how efficient the design turned out to be. It is a bit of a pain changing the bits with the router still under the table, but is doable.

    I was thinking of adding a sort of tie down that goes across those 2 bottom beams and across the bottom of the router to relieve a couple pounds of pressure from the top. Do you guys think I have to worry about warping right now with how it's built? I tested it out, and it is rock solid, so I am definitely happy!
     
  4. Forum Sponsor Sponsored posting

  5. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 30, 2011
    Oklamerica
    Wish I'd have gotten here sooner. You should've placed your router more to the back. That give you a lot more table space to work with. Nonetheless, it looks like a great table.
     
  6. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Tele-Meister

    221
    Apr 14, 2009
    Western MA
    Damn I wish I had thought of that! Everything that I kept looking at online for inspiration had them smack dab in the middle. The table is quite large though so hopefully it will still be adequate for guitar building. Thanks though!

    By the way, any advice on how / if I should seal the holes I drilled in the MDF? I don't want to have the table warping on me
     
  7. thecableguy

    thecableguy Friend of Leo's

    Hey sarNz, that looks like a nice router table you built! Looks pretty solid to me man. What kind of wood are you going to use for the bodies?

    I've seen some threads where guys have used angle aluminum attached to the router and having that ride on the rails for thicknessing. Seems like a simple method that would work quite well.
     
  8. davis1676

    davis1676 TDPRI Member

    65
    Sep 11, 2010
    Hooks, Texas
    just have fun and post pics along the way i like this stuff.
     
  9. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Tele-Meister

    221
    Apr 14, 2009
    Western MA
    Thanks guys! Cableguy, there are a few saw mills within 25 miles of here that seem to have some pretty good prices for wood that is 2" rough sawn which leaves me plenty of room for error on the planing aspect lol. I am thinking I might try 2-3 standard telecaster bodies first before starting the other concepts that I drew up. The first woods I plan on buying are Ash, Pine, and probably a reclaimed Barn wood body.

    I hope to finish my planer setup soon, it's easy but I have just been kind of lazy about doing it.

    BUT I did go and pick up this bad boy today:

    [​IMG]

    And I started the fat template (master template is still taped on top), as per Ron Kirn's book I don't want to be stupid by not making more than one.

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to try and figure out the best way to drill the holes for it tomorrow. The drill press will do the neck pocket just fine but it won't reach the bridge holes. It would be ideal if I could find a chunk of aluminum somewhere as I have metal drilling bits.
     
  10. thecableguy

    thecableguy Friend of Leo's

    Nice ROSS! I stopped at Home Depot today and was eyeing one. They're not too expensive.

    I have the same problem with my drill press. I carefully drilled the 2 outside holes all the way through and the rest of the holes about 1/2 way through. I then used the outer holes to register a drilling jig on the back of the body and complete the center 4 holes. Does your hand drill have a bubble level built in?

    Nice job on the template too. Looks like the router table is working well!
     
  11. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Tele-Meister

    221
    Apr 14, 2009
    Western MA
    Thanks cableguy, I know I haven't updated in quite a while haha. Been busy enjoying the summer and being lazy. Oh, and working too.

    Anyways, I finally got around to chopping out the body. You can obviously see some of the mistakes where I think I didn't get close enough to let the router do its job. I'll probably just finish those spots up on the ROSS.

    The tear out I knew would happen... route downhill.. route downhill.. but I decided to go uphill on the last section of routing for the body and it took out that chunk. I think that's what they call stupidity! I also had a small hiccup when starting the router the slightly gouged the bridge pickup template, but it should sand out fairly easily and is not a problem. I'll try to find the tear out piece, but I am going to have a 1/4" radius on this guitar anyways.

    Right now the cavities are not proper depth, but I wanted to get as far as I could with the template on. I'll be referring to the RK book for depth. Right now the body width is right where I want it, in between 1.5-1.75 inches. I'll take a little more off when I get an orbital sander to sand the top nice and flat.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And there is an idea for the final... what do you guys like for colors?

    The next step is finding out where the neck pocket will go. I was comparing ron kirn's template to my MIM strat neck and it did seem a little wider.

    Would you guys suggest jumping into neck building? I have wanted to learn to do fretwork for a long time, and it seems even the bare bones fully equipped neck from warmoth would be about $250, in which case I could get the wood and most tools I would need to build one from scratch.
     
  12. thecableguy

    thecableguy Friend of Leo's

    Looks good!

    I say jump into the neck building. Get some cheap hardware store maple to practice on. It's not as difficult as it seems.
     
  13. metecem

    metecem Tele-Afflicted

    Try building it yourself! After the first one you are a lot smarter and no longer afraid! The loveliest moment of building is when you have finished the rough shaping of the neck and you know you've made yourself an axe :)
     
  14. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2008
    Northern Va.
    Great work so far! I'm already flush with power tool envy.
    +1 to all those recommending a neck build. They aren't difficult, and you can find everything you need to know to build necks right here on this forum.
     
  15. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Tele-Meister

    221
    Apr 14, 2009
    Western MA
    Thanks everyone, you've definitely given me the confidence to do it myself! I really like simple, bolt on neck guitars, so if I learn how to make sets I'll be set for the rest of my life haha.

    gitlvr, I do love me some power tools, but at the same time I'm pretty terrified of them. A blade spinning at 25,000 rpm? And I'm putting my hands near this thing?!

    As you can see it's not the prettiest thing in the world since it's a 3 piece body, but the ash was something under $4 a b/f so I figured it would be good to learn with.

    I've printed out one of the full size tele neck templates and will transfer that to some MDF to make a working template. Hopefully things come out straight! The nice thing is that there is still some room for error when putting together a basic guitar like these.

    Time to go make a stew mac shopping list. And happy 4th everyone!
     
  16. jstream

    jstream Tele-Holic

    568
    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI
    + 1000. It is an awesome feeling
     
  17. gitlvr

    gitlvr Friend of Leo's

    Aug 18, 2008
    Northern Va.
    I build with white ash because it's reasonably priced and looks great. But it is on the heavy side. The last tele I built was 8lbs. In looking at a lot of "How heavy is your tele/strat?" threads, 8lbs seems to be medium weight, leaning towards heavy, depending on the player's level of tolerance. It's heavy for me, but no heavier than mahogany, and I've played LPs that were heavier. The next build I do I intend to chamber and then cap it, but I'm not convinced the chamber will make much difference after I slap a 1/4" piece of maple, walnut, or what have you on top. We shall see. Either way, I think ash is a perfect beginner wood to learn with. It looks good, works well, and if you want a nice glassy finish you'll have to learn to fill the grain, which I see as a plus for the learning curve.
     
  18. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Tele-Meister

    221
    Apr 14, 2009
    Western MA
    Hello again, I haven't posted in quite a while on this.. what happened is I ended up screwing up that body pretty bad. I was idiotically routing the guitar body upside down, which was fine to start the cavities. But when I set the router to the proper depth to finish them off, I didn't realize that the bearing was under the surface of the table, so I routed a nice path that isn't worth fixing... it is now my practice body. Needless to say, I will not be doing the cavities like that ever again.

    Anyways, I decided that I needed a lesson in patience after that. So I used the T Downs tele drawing both for the body and neck and made my own templates (instead of using the RK ones). This is actually the guitar that I wanted to build when I got the idea to build anyways, so it's not so bad that I messed up the other one. I also am leaving a little more around the neck pocket area to make sure things will line up correctly, and will sand them correct on the final.

    The neck template is nearly perfect, good enough to route and then fix by sanding. I will probably throw a layer or two of painter's tape around it to make it a little bigger that I can sand down on the real neck. The neck pocket template I made is also a near perfect fit, painters tape will snug that right up as well for the real thing.

    Anyways, I've had this awesome gotoh bridge for a while. I recently bought these Wolfetone P90's Mean / Meaner combo to help motivate me to keep working.

    The body will have a 1/4" roundover, heavy contours, rear routed with the control plate moved back a bit, and the pickup selector towards the back. I always hit those things when playing, especially on my strat. I also hope to make the body about 1.5" thick, since I will be using a short 3 way pickup selector switch.

    Plans for this weekend are hopefully to get the body all routed and a practice neck made out of pine. Ambitious goals would be to make a neck radius jig as well, but we'll see about that one.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If you REALLY feel like reading, here is my parts list of things to buy!

    Hardware:
    Control Plate (Black)
    Flush Fit Ferrules (Black)
    Electrosocket Jack (Black)
    2 Dome Knobs (Chrome)
    Neck Ferrules (Black)
    Pickguard Screws (Chrome)
    Schaller Locking Tuners (Satin Chrome)
    Am Std. String Trees (Chrome)

    Electronics:
    2 500k CTS pots
    .022uF & .047uF caps
    Switchcraft Output Jack
    Single Coil Hookup Wire (50 ft)
    Copper Shielding Tape
    Switchcraft Short 3 Way Toggle Switch
    Cream Switch Tip

    Neck Specific:
    Plastic Black Fret Dots
    Plastic Side Dot Material
    Fret Wire
    Ebay Truss Rod 5 Pack
    Micarta Blank Practice Nuts
    TUSQ Nut Blank

    Tools:
    Adjustable Fret Slotting Saw
    Double-Edge Fret File
    Fret End Dressing File
    Deadblow Fret Hammer
    Feeler gauge nut files

    Paint:
    ReRanch 3TSB
    Black, Brown, Amber
    Clear (3 cans)

    Jigs:
    Fret Slot Cutting Jig
    Fret Bender

    (I'll build the jigs)

    For anyone who is bored out of their mind, feel free to read and make any suggestions about things I may be forgetting :D
     
  19. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Tele-Meister

    221
    Apr 14, 2009
    Western MA
    Spent most of the day working on this... what took the longest was planing the thing down. I only have a very small bowl & tray bit for that and only take about 1/8" off at a time. The body is now a hair larger than 1.5" thick, which is what I wanted. I will be using the switchcraft short 3-way toggle switch.. it says the required depth is only 7/8" so I should be fine with this body thickness.

    My ghetto planer sled:

    [​IMG]

    The neck pocket is about 1mm wider than my neck template, but I'll throw some tape on the template when I route the neck shape. Even still, I'm pretty happy with the fit. Add in the finish buildup that will be on the neck and it should be pretty solid.

    [​IMG]

    The P90 routes aren't perfectly aligned.. I think they may be about 1 or 2mm off. But they are extremely tight and I wanted to shield them anyways. So I will try to hand sand a little bit to bring them a little closer.

    The stupid body is still six pounds!! I will definitely be doing a heavy tummy cut & forearm contour. There is a 1/4" roundover all around, except I did 3/8" on the back where it rests on your leg and will blend the transitions.

    [​IMG]

    And lastly a little photoshop mockup.. I kind of like the grain, but I wish the middle piece wasn't so much darker than the other two. I am hoping to fill the grain with something dark so that the grain will pop and the seam / color change will be less noticeable.

    [​IMG]

    Neck up is line up and drill for the bridge, drill the control cavity on the back, and do the contours. Where can I get one of those really long drill bits?
     
  20. EricIndecisive

    EricIndecisive Tele-Meister

    221
    Apr 14, 2009
    Western MA
    Here's how it looks with the contours so far. Just put in a $334 order at StewMac... ouch. I didn't even buy the truss rods or cutters yet, which I'll get from ebay.. the cutters I'll probably get Knipex

    [​IMG]
     
  21. thecableguy

    thecableguy Friend of Leo's

    Hey sarNz, the body's looking great! I definitely recommend building a radius jig. I built one for my challenge build and it's worth spending the time. I radiused the fretboard in like 2 minutes.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


Share This Page