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Starting my first tele build...looking for advice

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

  1. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    The 1/2 x 1/2 refers to the cutter diameter and length. The stewmac bit comes in 1/4 shank, as does a 1/2 x 1". A drill press and forstner bit with a depth stop is a good way to hog out the wood before routing, especially in denser woods. Taking a body blank and turning it into a body involves material removal. It doesn't matter how you remove it. Cutting, sanding, routing, grinding, and chiseling are all ways to remove wood. You can do which ever one you prefer to end up with a body.

    Woodworking is all about learning how to use the tools you have at hand and developing the skills to end up with the results you want. A router and template is one way. A cnc router is another way. A brace and bit and coping saw or jig saw is another way. There have been people here building with limited tools and people with sophisticated tools. You just need to figure out which way you want to approach it.

    I can't say it enough, the forum is filled with build threads of all the different ways people are successful and unsuccessful with the hobby. The build threads are priceless and although it takes time to get through them, they are one of the most valuable resources on instrument construction that you can get for nothing more than your time.

    Although the template and router are the most common ways to make a tele body in 2017, there was a time when those kinds of tasks were only accomplished in a factory. So what would the person do who wanted an irregular shaped object in their home workshop? They learned how to use the woodworking tools they had. As an example, pick some curvy high school magazine rack. No templates and router were used to shape it. A bandsaw or jigsaw, spindle sander, and belt sander were used.

    I'd suggest you decide what resources you are going to use to transform a rectangular piece of wood into a guitar body and then proceed in that orderly process. In a home shop, it is common to have a table saw, jointer, drill press, bandsaw, and planer, and router for machines and tools. There are workarounds for all of them. Personally I have found little use for a tablesaw in building guitars. Others would be lost without them.

    For this tele body you need to either glue up and plane a blank, or buy one. You need to shape it with a router, saw, and sander. You need to drill holes with some kind of drill whether it be by hand or power. You need to put the routs and shape in the correct spot, and that starts with a good drawing available above.

    In the 2014 or 2015 build challenge, there were a couple entrants with no experience. You should check out those build threads.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2017
    hfw01, John Nicholas, mudimba and 2 others like this.
  2. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    43
    Feb 24, 2015
    South Lyon, MI
    +1

    For my first build, I typed my "how to" questions into Google. More often than not, the search results were forum threads from TDPRI. Every single step from beginning to end was pieced together from the various build threads. You may drive yourself crazy if trying to plan every step from beginning to end before you start. At some point, its just more fun to start cutting wood and figuring it out as you go...and buying tools as needed.

    FWIW, get some good dust masks and hearing protection. Not sure if hobbyists throw enough dust or make enough noise to really cause long term issues, but I just have more fun when I'm not inhaling a cloud of maple dust or listening to my router scream into a chunk of alder.
     
    John Nicholas, newuser1 and RogerC like this.
  3. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Oklamerica
    Wish I could add 100 likes to this post.
     
    newuser1 and guitarbuilder like this.
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  5. Tnilc

    Tnilc TDPRI Member

    60
    Sep 26, 2013
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I'll add a thumbs up to this, once I got going things started making more sense and falling into place.
     
    RogerC likes this.
  6. mudimba

    mudimba Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    250
    May 19, 2015
    California
    If I could go back in time and talk to myself before starting my first build, the equipment I would say to buy would be more lighting and dust collection. After that, I'd say just start doing it the miserable slow way with whatever tools you have, read a bunch of build threads so you know what other builders use tools for, and buy something to make your life easier whenever you realize you have extra money or space.

    Given that a ROSS is too big for your area, you are going to have to make do without a lot of fancy machines. I'd say just get building, and find out what parts rub you the wrong way. Some people hate sanding, others find it meditative. The former would tell you to absolutely buy a ROSS, the latter would say it is not important. Most people with a router (and no planer) would choose it to mill a blank flat. I found a hand plane is fun in its way, so that is what I use.

    If you ever feel like you can't make a guitar because you don't have XYZ power tool, remember that Stradivarius made 1100 of the best instruments the world has ever seen, and he did it with just the tools available 250 years ago.
     
    newuser1 and guitarbuilder like this.
  7. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    The ROSS is 19 X 19 and the one you're looking at is 14 X 11. Not much bigger to me and the ROSS has a belt sander which is a very valuable tool to have. I'm also curious why you went with a router that has a 1/4" collet. It'll work but 1/2" is a little more robust and you aren't limited by bit sizes.

    We've been giving you advice but you seem to ignore some of it. That's your prerogative and your wallet but we've been through it. If you're going to spend money on tools it's better to spend a little more and get the right ones.

    Marty is 100% right. Get a blank and give it a go. Read the build threads and watch Fletch's Strat build referred to earlier. It'll help you a lot.
     
    newuser1 likes this.
  8. newuser1

    newuser1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    51
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    Thanks for the clarifications Marty!

    I've bought a 1/4" X 2" X 4" birch plywood from Homedepot and cut it into 4 pieces - 3 for body templates and one for the neck. I'm going to order the stewmac bits you recommended tonight. I've read lots of threads here and will be reading a lot more in the future.

    I already have a 1/2" MDF template master and will try to make a working body template over the weekend.

    Good point, thanks. I'm yet to buy dust masks, hearing protection, and safety glasses.

    Thanks, I'll start building this weekend and so far I have a jigsaw, spindle sander, and a compact plunge router.

    Thanks RickyRicardo,

    I really appreciate all the advice you have been giving me guys over the last few days. To give you some context I'll be doing all the work on the guitar outdoors on my deck. I just don't have the space to equip a decent woodworking shop in my basement. The limited space I have (including space for storing the tools) drives my decisions what tools to buy and not to buy. The size difference between the ROSS and Rockwell is significant enough for me to choose the smaller model even though it's crappier. I was going to buy the P-C plunge router that was recommended, but when I went to the store I didn't like it - it looked too bulky to me. On the other hand they had the compact DeWalt on sale, which also felt right in my hands so I bought it. At the time I didn't even consider the shank size, so I'll have to live with that.

    So again, I'm not ignoring the valuable advice I get here, rather compromising to fit my means and situation.
     
  9. newuser1

    newuser1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    51
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    For my first body blank I used Elmer's Probond Max (https://www.lowes.ca/glues-epoxy/elmers-probond-max-236ml-wood-glue_g1324251.html) to glue three 6"-wide pieces together. Is this glue a good choice for my next blanks, or do I just use Titebond which seems to be highly recommended on these forums? If Titebond is the best way to go is there a specific version you would recommend? Would this one work:

    http://www.homehardware.ca/en/rec/i...-Titebond-III-Ultimate-Wood-Glue/_/R-I2020012

    or this one:

    https://www.amazon.ca/Franklin-5064...=UTF8&qid=1489107385&sr=8-2&keywords=titebond

    a different one maybe?
     
  10. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    Titebond Original. Everyone uses it and it's the best of all Titebond products.
     
    newuser1 likes this.
  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Any yellow glue is" carpenter's" glue, so it'll work. You don't need waterproof properties for indoor stuff though.
     
    newuser1 likes this.
  12. newuser1

    newuser1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    51
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    Thanks, I've ordered the Titebond Original and I'll have it early next week. Meanwhile I'll tinker with the test pine body I have.

    I've just got my router bits from stewmac today and I got eight 18" X 8" X 1.75" poplar pieces planed and ready to glue, plus three 3 1/2" X 1 1/2" X 27" maple blanks for necks. I'm really happy - if only the weather was cooperating...it's -9C (feels like -18C) here in Toronto :)
     
  13. newuser1

    newuser1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    51
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  14. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2011
    Tucson
    I'd pass on that. It's actually a pretty specialized little piece of gear that is NOT well suited for hardly anything you need to do on guitar work.

    A drill press is a real boon to guitar building. You can get away with a benchtop model, it doesn't need to be floor standing. BUT, you want to make sure it has enough depth to reach, at a minimum, all of your string through holes. If you find some used ones for sale, take your body template with you when you go check them out and try visualizing how you would get to every area you need to drill. Make sure you have a chuck capacity of at least 3/8".

    Best of luck on your build. You have been blessed with some very good and patient advice from the Tele Home Depot members - IMO, the best group of folks on the net.

    Cheers,
    Rex
     
    newuser1 likes this.
  15. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
    newuser1 likes this.
  16. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    A 10" drill press is the minimum you need to drill the string through holes on a Tele. I have one and wish it was larger. The one you show is only 6". I bought mine through kijiji so keep looking. They come up all the time.
     
    newuser1 likes this.
  17. newuser1

    newuser1 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    46
    51
    Mar 1, 2017
    Toronto
    Got it, will pass on the 6" drill press.
     
  18. OtherJMac

    OtherJMac TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

    Age:
    32
    84
    Sep 5, 2016
    Atlanta
    I have a 9" Ryobi drill press from and it'll do the string-through holes on a Tele.
     
  19. tortoisemon

    tortoisemon TDPRI Member

    46
    Feb 26, 2017
    Colorado USA
    I'm also doing a first time build and was planning on using my 10" Ryobi drill press. I just checked and... BUMMER ...the clearance between the post and the bit is just shy of what is needed. By about 1/8". It looks like you need 5 1/8". Now I'm wondering about modifying the support pipe somehow to gain a fraction of an inch. I really don't want to buy a new press or attempt to do these with a hand drill.
     
  20. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I've seen some guys cut the steel pipe and put the top section in front of the bottom section and then weld it to gain a couple more inches there. I'd just buy the bigger DP myself.
     
  21. tortoisemon

    tortoisemon TDPRI Member

    46
    Feb 26, 2017
    Colorado USA
    That's probably the best course but all of the unplanned expenses I've incurred on this project so far are starting to add up, and I haven't even bought the guitar hardware yet. The pipe mod sounds brilliant but I have no welding skill or tools, and I suppose hiring someone to do it could cost about as much as a new press. A cheap one anyway.
     
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