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Starting my first tele build...looking for advice

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by newuser1, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. newuser1

    newuser1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    51
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    I'm starting my first tele build and I feel overwhelmed by all the information I've been reading here on these forums. Lots of great stuff, but unfortunatelly after reading a couple of threads I have more questions than answers :).

    I bought a 2"X6"X6' pine plank from Home Depot and they cut it for me into 3 18" pieces, which I glued together. I didn't plane the wood before gluing the 3 pieces together and as a result I had a warped blank, which was fine as I just wanted to try cutting and sanding the body to see how it goes.

    I downloaded a body template from the forums here, printed it out on paper and cut it out as best as I could. Using the paper template I've outlined the guitar shape on the blank. I borrowed a cheap jig saw and sander from a friend of mine, and cut it roughly out within about 1/4" from the outline and sanded it. Probably experienced builders here will laugh at my results, however I was surprised and it actually doesn't look that bad.

    My goal now is to finalize the cut following the outline, and to rout the pockets for electronics and neck. This is just a practice blank, however I want to do it as best as I could. On to my questions:

    What tools do I need to buy borrow to finish the exact cut? If possible I'm looking into getting only hand power tools, and trying to avoid bulky tables and such... Would plunge router like the following work for the outline cut and the neck/electronics pockets:

    https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/ca...ls/routers/plunge-routers.html?sort=price-asc

    I read a few threads here advising against using power hand planers, so would it be better if I go to a lumber yard and ask them to do the planing for me?

    I have a hard time finding a lumber yard here in Toronto, CA and the closest I found is all the way in Burlington (part of Greater Toronto Area). IF anybody know a lumber yard in Toronto that carries wood suitable for guitar bodies and necks please share it here?

    I will post some pictures of my first body build later today.
     
    brownale99 likes this.
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    newuser1 likes this.
  3. newuser1

    newuser1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    51
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    Thanks guitarbuilder,

    I'll check them out.

    Here are some pics of my "build" :) IMG_0816.JPG IMG_0826.JPG
     
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  5. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    43
    Feb 24, 2015
    South Lyon, MI
    Are you going to try a neck as well?

    If limited on tools, just the body will be satisfying to build. The neck adds to the fun, but I think adds a lot to the tool list. Some of the tools are specialized, so the cost can add up quickly.

    Enjoy!
     
    newuser1 and brownale99 like this.
  6. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    A plunge router and 1/2" pattern bit will get you a long way in building a body. Home Depot has Freud bits which I use and like. For the edges you'll have to sand or cut a lot closer to the line or you'll have major tearout when routing it. I suggest you take the pdf to Staples and get a couple of full size print outs. It's only a few dollars. Make yourself a template for the cavities and neck pocket.
     
    newuser1 and brownale99 like this.
  7. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Meister

    473
    Dec 23, 2012
    State College PA
    Yes, you've got 1/4" of thickness to remove. Find someone with a planer and beg or pay them to do it. Get it flat at 1.75" before you go any further.
    If you're going to buy a router, and you're handy, you could build a router sled jig to get it to final thickness. I'm sure you've seen that in some of your thread browsing here.
    THEN retrace your body shape.

    From there, it's all strong-willed persistence vs more costly easiness.
    You could finish the body perimeter with a $10 file & $10 worth of sandpaper. At the end, you'll have forearms like Popeye and it'll be springtime.

    Or you could invest in machinery and crank it out in a matter of hours. For a novice, success is still having 10 fingers at the end.

    Don't wanna buy a ROSS sander? Buy a belt sander and clamp it to the bench. Chuck a 1.5" sanding drum in a hand drill. Million ways to get it done, just depends on your ways & means.
    Pickup and neck and control cavities? Get some forstner bits and a router. Make some templates. You're done!
    Keep us posted. We like pics.
     
    newuser1, MM73 and brownale99 like this.
  8. newuser1

    newuser1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    51
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    Thanks MM73,

    Eventually I'll try building a neck, however I will try building a few bodies first. I'm planning to buy a low-cost necks for my first few bodies.

    Thanks RickyRicardo,

    Can you elaborate on the full size printout from Staples? I assume you mean simple paper printouts, but I'm not sure how to make a make a precise template from MDF or other suitable material? Did you just mean to use the paper printouts and trace them on the body blank?

    Thanks Meteorman,

    The sanding drum in a hand drill seems like the easiest and cheapest option. Is it hard to work with this sanding setup? How do I attach the sanding drum to the hand drill, do I need some kind of adapter (excuse my ignorance)?

    How do I make my templates? I've seen MDF tele templates for sale on eBay for $50-$60 USD but once you add shipping and import fees the whole thing is getting close to $100 USD ($130). If I was planning to make teles for the rest of my life that might be a reasonable option, but I want to try different guitars eventually, so the cost is not justified for me.

    Do I need a plunge router for the cavities?
     
  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    If you are building a regular tele, the only cavity in which you can see is the neck pocket. What that means is that you can drill and chisel out the cavities. A forstner bit will do the holes and a sharp chisel will clean it up. A laminate trimmer is a cheap alternative to a plunge router. You'll find that there are various ways to reach the end result of a telecaster. What you see regurgitated over and over in these build threads on the internet is the evolution of what people have done with what is available to buy today. In reality, most of that stuff wasn't invented for DIY'ers 20-30 years ago. You can build a tele with a lot less. It just requires more skill in tool usage, which isn't a bad thing these days when you think about it.
     
  10. SpareRibs

    SpareRibs Tele-Meister

    294
    Jan 9, 2011
    PNW
    Hello,
    Before you go any further. Add up the money you are going to have to spend realistically. Every screw, switch, pickup, tuning pegs,knob, wire, capacitor, paint, sandpaper. You will probably end up buying a neck since you have no tools.
    The cost will absolutely be more than buying a reasonably used or new guitar
     
  11. Anode100

    Anode100 Tele-Afflicted

    May 9, 2014
    Behind my beard.
    True, but the fun is in the learning...
     
    Dave-B and adirondak5 like this.
  12. newuser1

    newuser1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    51
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    I'll go for a plunge router.

    I'm well aware of that and I already own a couple of guitars, so this is just exciting hobby for me :)

    Excatly!
     
    Dave-B likes this.
  13. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Meister

    473
    Dec 23, 2012
    State College PA
    Something like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000H6BOXO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_MXcUybRCZXZTQ

    Is it as good as having a ROSS or spindle sandle? Nope. But cheaper. It'll work as well as your skill makes it work. It wont be good for the longer smoother arcs.

    Look at the build threads here for making and using cavity templates. Custom-shaped holes in boards that will guide your router with a pattern bit.
    Personally, if i was going to have only one router, it wouldnt be a plunge router. But your choice.

    Wise to practice on cheap piece of pine first. You'll figure out what works for you, and what doesn't. Jump in (safely).
     
  14. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
  15. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    Take the pdf to Staples on a USB stick. They have a print center and ask them to print off a couple of full size sheets. They call them engineering drawings at the store I go to. Make sure they are full size and check them before you leave the store. Cut out and glue the print with spray adhesive to 1/4' mdf to make a master. Cut and sand smooth to the lines then make working templates out of 3/4" mdf. Trace the master onto the 3/4", cut it out and sand to the line. Attach the master to the working template. Finish with your router and you have a template to rout bodies with. A ROSS from Home Depot is another tool that a lot of guys use. It would also help you sand nice and close to the line before routing. It's on sale too and a valuable tool.
    https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p....pindle-sander.1000400488.html?autoSuggest=pip

    Either that or order templates off of eBay. They are $40 or thereabouts.

    Here's a thread on making templates from an actual guitar. Not a Tele but it might give you ideas:
    http://www.tdpri.com/threads/pre-cbs-guitar-cloning-is-it-possible.152124/

    And one of my all time go to's. I've learned lots from him. This will show you how to rout a body:
     
  16. newuser1

    newuser1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    51
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    I would love to buy the ROSS, especially on sale now for $199 CAD but I have space constraints, so I will buy something like this first to see how it goes:

    https://www.amazon.ca/Big-Horn-1953...d=1488508667&sr=8-1&keywords=drum+sanding+kit

    or

    https://www.amazon.ca/Woodstock-D32...d=1488508667&sr=8-2&keywords=drum+sanding+kit

    By the way what wuoldn't you buy a plunge router if you were buying one only?

    Just check the price on homedepot.com and homedepot.ca:

    https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p....All+Products&gclid=COK-zMynudICFUe5wAodNGwAvQ

    US - $124.00 USD
    CA - $251.00 CAD

    Sometimes I hate living in Canada...

    Great video thanks!

    Would a template like the one below work, considering it's 1/4" and not 3/4" as you recommended?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Telecaster-...123354?hash=item25a2ccd71a:g:ehwAAOSw9NdXuxEt
     
  17. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    Those are the ones I was referring to and they would be your masters. You carefully make working templates from them with 3/4" mdf then put the masters away. If you wreck your masters then you're hooped so you don't use them for anything else. Thin mdf like 1/4" is hard to rout a 1-3/4" body with so that's the other reason to make working templates.

    I started without a plunge router and it was okay but once I got one I couldn't go back. Much easier to set depths but if you're careful it's not needed. I bought a couple of factory reconditioned Bosch 1617's from CPO Outlets when our dollar was close to par. My second was the plunge and the first went into my old Ikea kitchen table. You may want to look at CPO and do the math. It might be cheaper. The routers were never used so I have no idea what they reconditioned and I saved around $100 on each.

    BTW, the ROSS isn't very big.But the drill sander would suffice.
     
    newuser1 likes this.
  18. newuser1

    newuser1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    51
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    Thanks,

    It looks like some here prefer plunge routers and others prefer the fixed-base routers. What are the pros and cons guitar body building wise?

    Would some of these 2 work:

    https://www.lowes.ca/routers/skil-1...bo-kit_g1196599.html?searchTerm=plunge-router

    https://www.lowes.ca/routers/black-...router_g1322624.html?searchTerm=plunge-router
     
  19. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    The Skil has a savings date til 2022!!!:D It would do and the price is right. Read reviews at multiple sites before you buy. I read a few quickly (Amazon) and it's pretty mixed for both. If it was me I'd pass on both but it's your budget. The PC693 kit is on sale there. You get a fixed and plunge base with it.

    When you're routing cavities you lock in your final depth with a plunge base. It has a depth stop. Once set you rout down in shallow passes until you hit the stop. Without it it's a bit of trial and error as you have to keep measuring until you reach your depth. If you rout too deep then that's an issue especially on the neck pocket.
     
  20. OtherJMac

    OtherJMac TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

    Age:
    32
    84
    Sep 5, 2016
    Atlanta
    Get a plunge router. It's more versatile, since you don't have/want a router table. You can use it to shape the body, route your cavities, and (with an easy-to-make jig) thickness planer. You can build a perfectly acceptable body with just a router, a hand drill (though a drill press makes it easier), and a power sander.
     
  21. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Meister

    473
    Dec 23, 2012
    State College PA
    Heavier, more gadgetry, less nimble, usually poorer vision of action area (altho mine is 15+ yrs old, maybe not the case now). Depth settings can creep on you, if not vigilant.

    The P-C linked by Marty above is a sweet thing. I would part with mine last of all. When you're buzzing around curves and cavities on a tele body, you want a Porsche or a Cadillac? Both are great, but limit me to one and I'm taking the sporty model. YMMV
    /mike
     
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