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Stripey Strat, build number 2

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by adamkoop, Feb 27, 2017.

  1. adamkoop

    adamkoop Tele-Meister

    Feb 18, 2016
    So .. I got a mexican humbucker as payment for replacing the switch in a friend's guitar. I realized I had a neck kicking around from a 90s squier strat and a string through body hardtail bridge kicking around from an ebay purchasing spree from a few months ago. Only one logical thing to do ...

    I hit the wood store, and spent an hour or two sizing up what to use. Found a couple real nice pieces of bubinga, but when I picked them up together it became clear that would be way too much weight. Maybe when I have some way of reliably resawing, I'll go a nice thinline something or other with them. it's gorgeous wood.

    Found some other possibilities, but nothing that would really make up the dimensions cleanly.

    Ended up getting a chunk of bloodwood that I'm going to use for a center piece, and a nice plank of yellowheart to cut for strips to alternate with sapele. I would have used all bloodwood, but nothing else they had was the right size for what I needed. So, a stripey strat it is. Single humbucker angled like the singles are, hardtail string through body bridge, and a single volume pickup with a pushpull for series / parallel of the pickup coils. Though, does anyone know of a source for a concentric push-pull pot ?

    I've managed to get the strips cut, jointed-ish on my bench belt/disc sander and glued together. I have a couple little gaps that I'll attribute to the "learning curve", but the front should be completely gap free thanks to some creative positioning of the body outline.

    Dry fit of one set of wing stripes against the center block. I was able to clamp most of that out when I glued the wing together.
    Dry fit of the wings against the middle block. Those joints looked pretty good when clamped and I got some good squeezeout. the wings and the center block worked out to be different thickness, so I have some levelling to do, which I'm in the middle of now. Bloodwood is wicked hard though, so I'm going to pick up a hand help belt sander and some "assertive" grit paper to help bring things down to the same level. I've also added yellowheart to the lower bouts to finish out the shape. I marked off the gap and was able to position the wing piece so most of it will be waste when I cut the body out. On a more serendipitous note, that inclusion in the center block will sit just about perfectly between the neck's end, and the humbucker

    This is going to be another tung oil finish, no grain filling or anything .. I like them bare and I like the coarse, grainy texture. Feels more natural to me than a really thick glossy finish.
    The bit at the end is bloodwood with 3 coats of oil on it (and a film of sawdust, apparently) then the yellowheart and sapele wings with some water to get a feel for the grain. Picture doesn't quite do the yellowheart justice .. there's some really nice sparkle to it.

    As ever, my trusty garage companion was on hand while her two brothers frolicked in the snow outside ..
    Tnilc and Mat UK like this.
  2. adamkoop

    adamkoop Tele-Meister

    Feb 18, 2016
    Haven't made much progress lately, last post was from the weekend's work.

    Not sure if these quite capture the figuring on the neck. It's one of the nicer bits of rosewood I've seen on a neck in a while.

    Sanded all the original finish off the neck, couldn't *quite* get rid of the shadow of the Squier logo, maybe it'll fade away a bit once I oil the neck .. time will tell. no skunk stripe, but some nice grain starting to appear.

    Obligatory mid-build mockup shot. Added the final yellowheart pieces to the body.

    Top is smooth to the eye, but not to the hands so I'll have to give it some more attention to flatten out the waves a bit. Back still needs leveling. Then it's on to sorting out the neck pocket so I can get a final position for the bridge, which will let me get a route laid out for the pickup, hole for the pot, position for the jack and drill through for the string holes.

    Have to get some roundover bits for my router to do the edges. Hopefully I don't blow this body to pieces when I route it .. this'll be the first body i've done with a router.
  3. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    Looks good.

    I hate the smell of yellow heart when cutting, zebra wood too, stench is the only word for it.
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  5. adamkoop

    adamkoop Tele-Meister

    Feb 18, 2016
    Haven't had the chance to play with zebrawood yet. Some of the more exotic woods definitely give off some interesting smells.

    The bloodwood was really quick to remind me I need to get a mask when sanding this stuff.
    DrASATele likes this.
  6. adamkoop

    adamkoop Tele-Meister

    Feb 18, 2016
    Took a while, but I picked up a handheld belt sander yesterday so i could persuade the high spots on this blank down to level. Worked as expected, thought the bloodwood is wicked dense ... I'm hoping that'll give me some good sustain.

    Got the body cut and the outside is routed smooth. Again, the bloodwood fights you every step. Even managed to shear off the screw that I used to secure the template down. Definitely going to have to pre-drill any screw holes and be extra careful drilling the string through holes.

    I'm feeling better about the stripes, now that it's all cut to shape. I was a little on the fence once i'd glued the little wings on the blank.

    The standard "get it wet" test to see how it pops. That yellowheart is some pretty wood, and the sapele has some nice grain pattern showing through.

    The back side is looking fairly amateruish in places, with glue joints showing a bit of gap, but every build is a new set of lessons learned at least.

    What's the usual roundover on a strat type body ? I'm thinking of going for 1/2 inch, I think the big lazy curve would play nicely against the stripes.
    GuildX700 likes this.
  7. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's

    Oct 23, 2011
    Lynchburg Tennessee
    It's looking good!!
  8. adamkoop

    adamkoop Tele-Meister

    Feb 18, 2016
    It feels good to be working on it again. I'm looking forward to seeing how much the wood pops when it's smoothed out completely and I hit it with some tung oil
  9. adamkoop

    adamkoop Tele-Meister

    Feb 18, 2016
    Spent a good bit of time with this on the weekend, and made a bit of headway.

    first off did the roundover, 1/2 in all around. Still getting a feel for how to route, so there are some burns here and there, doesn't help going between three woods with three different densities. The Sapele plays like mahogany, nice and easy to work with. The yellowheart feels harder, but it will still play nice. Then there's the bloodwood .. tenacious stuff, that. I had a test piece jump on me, so I was extra cautious with the body. Came out alright apart from a few burns

    I had screwed the template to the neck pocket and the output jack locations, since material would be pulled from there anyway. Made sense at the time, and would have worked great if not for the bloodwood and the screw deciding they were soulmates and meant to be together for eternity.

    Just hog out around it with forstners
    Chisel the wood away from the screw
    Clamp on with some vice-grips
    And shatter young love once and for all.

    With the screw out, I could get the router through to smooth out the cavity. Definitely one of the things I'm least happy with on my previous build, and something I'm happy to know I can do reasonably well now in preparation for setting the neck on my next build ..

    Might be a touch shallow, but it's about 1/2inch deep like on a reference body I have.

    Pickup route, and output jack drilled. Control cavity routed (yes. I know. circles are hard, ok ?) Pickup to control cavity is drilled, control cavity to jack is drilled, and not pictured is the ground lead for the bridge. I drilled a hole ahead of the string through holes straight down maybe 1/4 inch or so, and then drilled towards it from inside the pickup route. Ended up doing the same thing with the musicmaster, but this run is much shorter.

    My favorite moment, short of playing it for the first time. Finished sanding and smoothing as much as I'm going to sand a smooth .. still have a couple little burns that show through on the yellowheart, and I found a little router lip left AFTER i'd oiled it .. but there are also some joint gaps on the back, so this was never going to be a beauty queen. Also visible is the forearm contour. Didn't do a belly cut, gives me a reason to lose a bit of girth.
    Zepfan likes this.
  10. adamkoop

    adamkoop Tele-Meister

    Feb 18, 2016
    Just noticed .. bonus points if you can identify any of the guitars on the wall in that last photo (hint: it's not really a fair challenge)
  11. bsman

    bsman Tele-Holic

    Jun 8, 2003
    Santa Clara
    All I can say is "wow"!
  12. adamkoop

    adamkoop Tele-Meister

    Feb 18, 2016
    Just about finished .. big push to get it assembled to where I could make some noise with it last night.

    Had to reroute the neck pocket about 1/4in deeper, as I discovered AFTER bolting the neck on and starting to string it up. I could probably take it down more, but I would have to trim the tops off the screws I'm using, and I'd rather not go there. Thank goodness for templates is all I have to say on that. Made short work of the re-route.

    Still have to devise a control cavity cover of some sort for it, I have some left over laminated stock from the bottom of the body, I think i'll try and make a matched cover.

    I need to hog out a bit more material from under the input jack plate .. the socket fits in, but I bottom out against the body when I try to put a cable in. Played with it dangling just to hear how it sounds.

    Strap buttons need to be installed, and I will probably have to take some of that meat away from the lower side of the neck, it's a real fist full to get up around the 15+ frets.

    Wiring is a single volume push-pull. In the down position, the coils are in parallel, so you get a bit of snap and brightness, in the up position the coils go to series and you get the standard beefy humbucker sound you'd expect.

    Still needs some set up and a chance to settle in, that neck was sitting by itself for about a year. Intonation is pretty close right out of the gate, so it will be a pretty easy set up to get it playing well.

    I'll try and get a demo video and some more pictures up after I get a chance to finish the last couple little things on the to-do list and finish the set up work

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