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My first Tele partscaster build, from Warmoth body/neck

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by RLee77, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    After threatening to do this for several years, I'm finally putting together my first tele build, using a Warmoth chambered vintage style swamp ash body, and a roasted maple 22 fret neck with a rosewood fretboard. As you can see from the pics, I decided to get a full humbucker rout in the neck even though I'm going with a standard tele neck pickup for now... makes it so much easier to experiment later.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The neck is the Warmoth compound radius with 6105 frets, in roasted maple. We'll see how I like these frets, they are a bit smaller than I have on most of my guitars, but I like smaller fretwire. I have a small wood handle already screwed into the neck here for finishing.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    As for the rest of the parts:
    Babicz full contact tele bridge (which I'm a bit leery about, but we'll see)
    Fender Original Vintage '52 Tele set
    4 way switching
    Fender locking tuners
    Laser engraved neck plate
    Fender triple ply white pickguard

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I've always done all my own work on my guitars, but this is a bit beyond that... going to be exciting!
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016

  2. nopicknick

    nopicknick Tele-Meister

    140
    Mar 4, 2012
    Alabama
    Looks great.....keep us posted!
     
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  3. Misty Mountain

    Misty Mountain Tele-Meister

    318
    Sep 4, 2015
    Seattle
    Gonna be sweet!
     
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  4. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    Some of you may recognize me as the guy who's been asking so many questions about roasted maple neck finishing... and the best tele bridges to use... of course, I bought all my parts, THEN found Tdpri, lol. I've been getting so much invaluable help here, this site is such an amazing resource.

    After I ordered the warmoth parts, I started second-guessing my decision to go with an arm contour; I'm still not sure about it, rather wish I'd gone full stock tele body, but after checking out how it feels I think I may end up appreciating it. I also wish I'd gone with a rutters bridge instead of the babicz, but I'll give it a try, can always sell it and get the rutters later.

    So the first thing I did was shield the body cavities with copper tape; I like the wide 4" tape, if you do it right you end up with fewer pieces.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  5. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    Hit the first minor hitch; I discovered that my neck pickup wires (cloth covered vintage wire) would not go thru the neck hole into the control cavity... ack. I fiddled with it for a while, it just wouldn't slide thru. I tried a smaller gauge plastic coated wire, and that went thru ok, so I just needed to clear a bit more space.
    I was scratching my head trying to figure that out (really didn't want to drill it out, but was prepared to do that if needed), then Mudimba suggested using some Mitchells abrasive cord to clear out the channel (I didn't even know such a thing existed), and I got the Mitchells cord in a 3/8" wide strip, fed that through, then worked it back/forth for a while to round off the sharp corner in the channel, and that worked beautifully... yay, no drilling needed! Thanks mudimba! And also telemnemonics, who cautioned me against drilling partway in, which might have just created a new hole for the wires to get stuck in.

    The cloth pickup wires now pass fairly easily thru the channel.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     

  6. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    I wanted to mark the guide pin holes for the tuners, and get those center-punched, before applying finish to the neck, then I'll drill them out after the finish is completed. So I wondered how to line all of these up without a template, and found an article online (forget where now) that described the process.
    I mounted all the tuners on the neck, leaving the nuts on top just finger tight. Then I pressed a steel ruler against the sides of the tuners, to line them all up nicely, as I tightened the nuts down a tad.

    [​IMG]

    Then I eyeballed it, made sure everything looked straight, and slowly tightened the nuts down, forcing the guide pins to mark the wood. The nice thing about this method is that it works even if the neck holes are a bit off, unlike a template.

    [​IMG]

    Then I center-punched the dimples left by the guide pins, which I will drill out after the neck finishing is done. Probably would have been fine to do all this after the finishing, but this way I don't have to worry as much about scratching it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  7. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    Now on to the fun part... how to finish the neck? One of the reasons I got the roasted maple neck was to allow me to use it as-is, with no finishing... and I considered it, but where's the adventure in that? Besides, I didn't want the nice maple to get all smudgy. And I wanted to bring out the grain a bit. So then I went on a big info dive, trying to learn all I could about various finishes (most of which was learned from helpful folks on Tdpri... thanks!). Lots of great info in the earlier thread I'd started about that here: http://www.tdpri.com/threads/roasted-maple-neck-care-and-feeding.636908/

    Long story short, I was pretty sure I wanted to use danish oil, then some people here showed me the virtues of shellac, and that's what I ended up choosing. My main concern was getting slick surface, and also easy application. Many thanks to johnnyha, who showed me how great a shellac finish can look, and superbadj, who took the time to lay out detailed steps on how to do it right.

    I briefly considered cheating a little and getting the pre-mixed bullseye, but was warned away from that, and figured why risk it, when I could mix up my own... so that's what I did. Got some super blonde dewaxed flakes from shellac.net, and some green denatured alcohol, and a set of mason jars. After rescuing my wife's ounce scale from a bad case of corroded batteries, I was able to accurately measure a 1.5 lb cut, which in my case was 1.85 oz. of flakes into 10 oz. of alcohol.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Then I wiped down the neck with some of the alcohol, let it dry, and then took everything into my hi-tech custom built finishing room. It's definitely *not* the downstairs bathroom.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I did 3 coats, wiping on with a "rubber" I made with a cotton t-shirt and some cotton balls. I discovered that my wipes were a little wet, and I had a few ridges I had to sand out after letting it dry overnight. Now I'm wiping much thinner coats, and it's coming along nicely.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016

  8. jimdkc

    jimdkc Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    62
    Mar 12, 2009
    Independence, MO
    OMG! How have I never seen this stuff before??? I can think of about a million uses for it!
     
    Kerryelectric and refin like this.

  9. TigerG

    TigerG Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    860
    Aug 14, 2015
    Nashville
    Right on man, that's gonna be a nice guitar, thanks for posting.
     
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  10. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    I know, right? They have a huge variety of sizes and types too. Would be perfect for sanding finish out of holes. Or doing fine scrollwork.
     

  11. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    Your wife must love you doing this in the bathroom...:)
     
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  12. a_pidgeon

    a_pidgeon Tele-Meister

    486
    Oct 17, 2015
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Swamp ash? Roasted maple? Forearm cut? Shellac?

    Lee, you're pushing all my buttons. Subbed.
     
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  13. kEVBIGMAN

    kEVBIGMAN TDPRI Member

    Age:
    28
    17
    Jul 29, 2016
    Toronto, Ontario
    Great guitar! I too have thought about doing this for a while, still holding out. Only thing I'm concerned about is installing pickups. I've never done it before and have no knowledge of it. Is it possible to have it pre installed? How dis you get around this?
     

  14. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    Five coats on now, here are a few pics of what it's looking like now. I think I'm starting to get the technique down. They say applying shellac is easy, and it is (comparatively), but it all comes down to how well you can apply a consistent thin, even layer with wiping.
    You have to carefully manage how much shellac you get on the cloth, so it's not too thick on the first pass, much like paint on a brush always goes down thicker right after you dip it. I manage that by pressing the freshly-dipped rubber firmly down on a hard surface before the first wipe.
    No buffing yet, still just the wiping phase.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I'm wondering if it would be easier to apply the shellac to the rubber with an eye dropper, to have more control than just dipping it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
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  15. src9000

    src9000 Poster Extraordinaire

    Great thread. It's going to be a beautiful guitar.
    I've been thinking of putting one together. I'm on Warmoth's site every other day.
     
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  16. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    Actually I'm not sure she realizes it yet, lol.
    I really need to clear space out in my garage, and get a decent work bench and lighting, but that is going to take a few weeks and a lot of (boring) work, and I opted for the fun project first. ;)
    Also, as clearly explained in the video that Rob D posted earlier, "I need a telecaster guitar."
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
    rauchman likes this.

  17. a_pidgeon

    a_pidgeon Tele-Meister

    486
    Oct 17, 2015
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I've had good luck with one of those squeeze bottles you see in some restaurants.

    Something like this:[​IMG]

    Can be had at WalMart for like $0.97 each. Not as much control as an eyedropper, and mine sometimes leak around the threads on the lid, but it works for me. YMMV.
     
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  18. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    Thanks a_pidg, I think I've seen those at OSH or somewhere, have to get a few. Could also put just alcohol in one and use it to thin the mix.
     

  19. superbadj

    superbadj Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    44
    Mar 26, 2008
    roanoke, va
    Yeah you can squeeze (drip) shellac into the open ball of the rubber (not the surface you wipe with). That actually will give great control and keep the first stripe from being too wet, which is easy to do if you dip it.

    But dipping works if you're careful.

    Glad it's going well! Clearly you have a knack for it.
     
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  20. Jumbotronic

    Jumbotronic Tele-Meister

    210
    Aug 1, 2016
    New York
    Keep it coming! I have a very similar project I'm about to do, and I've already learned some good things from this thread.
     

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