A complete make-over, I hope it's not a bridge too far (for me)!

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Kiwi_Neil, May 13, 2021.

  1. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    So I sneaked out to the workshop for a short while today to get a bit of progress happening. I may get another crack at it tomorrow too, we'll see.

    I used a forstner bit in my hand-held electric drill to eat away as much material as I could, then I used a sharp chisel to tidy things up for the router.

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    I got the router (laminate trimmer actually) on the job to make things even and smooth

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    And finally got the block glues in place. I rounded the corners of the block with sandpaper and block of wood!

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    The block is just above the level of the body by about 1.5mm, and I'll take care of that at a later date. The next job will be to fill the control cavity in a similar way. I'm keeping measurements of the wiring holes position just in case I need to consider that when I get to route out for the P90's. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
     
  2. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    I had a couple of hours spare this afternoon, so I made a little progress.....

    IMG_20210620_154728184.jpg

    The good old Stanley #4 plane, plus a block and some sandpaper got things a bit more level. I'm not aiming for perfection at this stage, that will come later. I just want things to be tidy


    IMG_20210620_155309404.jpg

    I made an 'old school' pencil rubbing of the control cavity, to use as a pattern with which to cut a plug for the cavity. I don't know whether this method will be any better or worse than the method I used on the bridge pickup cavity plug, but for sure, I am going to find out! :D


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    Finally I plugged the screw holes left behind from the template pieces. I'll cut them down just as I did before. It's encouraging that the finish will sand back pretty easily as I wasn't looking forward to the time when that job needs to be done. I think that with a few sheets of sandpaper, some music and some black coffee, it won't be much of a chore at all
     
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  3. E-miel

    E-miel Tele-Meister

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    That looks like a good fit. What are you going to use the Rimu wood for? I'll be following your build!
     
  4. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    I'm not 100% sure how I'll be including the Rimu into this project. I have some ideas in my head but I haven't decided on a final plan yet. Lot's more to do before I have to make that decision :)
     
  5. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    Today I trimmed the dowels flush and I used my pencil rubbing of the cavity template to make a pattern from a piece of cardboard.

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    I drew around the pattern onto a piece of D4S kiln dried pine so that I can cut a plug out.

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    I don't have a band saw, table saw, scroll saw or any other kind of powered saw (well, I do have a chainsaw!), but I do have a good old number 8 handsaw.....so that will do!

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    So here is my plug. I don't have a disk sander or any of those power sanders I see people using, but I do have plenty of sandpaper and a sanding block.

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    I also have a rasp which I used to shape the radius.

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    And here is the plug glued and tapped into place. It's a better fit that the bridge cavity plug, so I'll use this method again.

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    Tomorrow I will get the Stanley Number 4 plane out and bring that plug back to (more or less) level, which is all I need to do at this stage. I have the string through holes on the back to plug next, and lastly I may (or may not, we'll see) have to plug the neck pickup cavity. Once this is all done, I can move forward with my plans......
     
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  6. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    I went out to the workshop this morning and got Stanley on the job! The control cavity plug turned out to be really good, I'm very happy with the result. I noticed when I went to do the final (for now) sanding, that my Dad had written some things on the back of the sandpaper. Dad passed away 17 years ago. Perhaps he's helping me out with my project.

    IMG_20210626_125802229.jpg
     
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  7. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    So today I plugged the last major area on the back of the body, where the string through holes were for the ferrules. The only other area to fill is the neck pickup cavity which will just be a partial fill as the cavity is a few mm too wide for the P90 to cover. So I'll sort that later and then route for the neck and bridge P90's. But that will; come later in the project.

    Speaking of P90's, I've been looking at the mounting method of two springs and two skinny screws. I have to say that this is a very mickey mouse way to do it. I know that some people use surgical tubing and some people use foam sponge type stuff, but I can a bit better, even though the options are pretty limited with just those two skinny screws. I'll get my thinking cap on to see what I can come up with.


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    Here is the block before I glue and tap it into place. That's not a split in the plug. I had to slice the piece of wood that I had from 90mm thickness to 36mm, and the only saw I have to do it was a tenon saw. I made the cut from two sides and they didn't quite meet up. The glued face is smooth though, so this face doesn't matter as Stanley will take care of that.

    Once this plug is planed and sanded I can start to move forward with the project and then this thing should start taking shape.......
     
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  8. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    Today I got Mr Stanley on to the plug on the back of the body where the string through holes were, and sanded it down to more or less flush. That will be fine until finishing time comes along. Next, I moved on to making the belly carve. I was in two minds as to whether or not to do this, but as I am seated when I play, it makes sense to do it. So I drew a rough plan on the body and then went at it with a rasp, some 80 grit sandpaper, and finally some 120 grit, which is perfect for now. All in all I'm pretty happy with how it turned out :)

    carve.jpg
     
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  9. TN Tele

    TN Tele Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Nice re-build, have you given any thought to what type of finish you are going to apply? Also, you have some great woodworking skills, I'm a little surprised you didn't just build a whole new body.
     
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  10. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    Thank you for the compliment on my skills. The closest thing I have come to woodworking since I left school more than 40 years ago is sharpening a pencil! I think that anyone can do this if they take their time and have patience. I'm amazed at the skills some people demonstrate here, some genuine craftsmen and women who REALLY show how it's done!

    Originally I was planning to build a body from scratch, but I couldn't let this instrument just sit in the corner unloved and unwanted. I had to try to make it sing. I have an idea for the next one though, which will be from scratch using a different type of wood to the norm.

    I do have a plan for the finish and it will also be a little different to what people normally do, but I'll keep my lips sealed for now. That process will be starting in the not too distant future so you won't have to wait too long :)
     
  11. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    Just a quick update because due to being very busy for the last 10 days, I haven't had time to get much done. Today was reserved for me to work on this project for the day, but my hot water cylinder in the house died, so I had to sort that out as it's winter here, and I need hot water!

    Anyway, today I did fill the neck pickup cavity and sand the finish off the body. I was only going to fill the corners of the cavity because the P90's are a bit narrower than the standard tele neck pickup cavity, but in the end it was just easier to make a single plug and glue and tap it in. I don't have any sanding machines but I do have lots of 80 grit and 240 grit paper, as well as lot's of coffee, so I got into the sanding process. It's not sanded to a stage where I could apply any finish, but at least that sickly yellow/amber is gone.

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    You may remember earlier in the thread that I came across a rimu panel that came from a door that dates back to the 1800's. Given that the Rimu tree can live for more than 1,000 years, it's a shame that the settlers in NZ cut down so many just to make doors and flooring etc etc. The tree is protected now. Anyway, this piece of rimu could easily be more than 500 years old, so it will be included in this project. Not saying how just yet, but you'll see really soon. The rimu is about 15mm thick and surprisingly (for me) I have been unable to get anyone to run it through their thickness planer for me. One joinery company I asked, which advertises as 'No job too big or too small', couldn't even be bothered to take a look. So, I'll change my plans and go it without their help. Yes, I could make a router sled and do it myself, but I'm only going to get one shot with this piece, so I need to be careful with it. I have a plan though and I'll start tomorrow by sanding both sides to see if there is some nice grain there. Hopefully I can share it with you very soon.

    rimu.jpg
     
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  12. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    I spent some time out in the shed last night with coffee and sandpaper. It was pouring with rain so I was happy to work away with some 220 grit paper to see what's under years and years of grime and dirt on this rimu panel. I have certainly seen more pretty panels, but I've also seen some plain ones too....and this panel has, to me, mojo. I have to go and get some more mdf now to practice, practice, practice so that I can make a good job with this.

    rimu clean.jpg
     
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  13. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    It's been a few weeks since my last update on the project guitar, for various and unavoidable reasons, but now that we in NZ are back in lockdown, I have time to move this project along a little bit.

    When I sanded he top of the body (just a rough sand, not a finish quality sand at this stage), I noticed that there was a shim in the neck pocket. That was a bit of a shame as the new neck is a slightly sloppy fit in the pocket and I was going to glue in a shim! But, a shim on top of a shim is a bad idea in my mind, so I set to routing away the shim, plus a little more, and making a new shim. I want to get the neck mounted so that I can draw a centre line on the body from which I can work as the next few stages are going to need that reference line.

    In the pic below you can see the existing shim.

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    Below you can see the new shim. Yes, it's quite large, but it's so much easier to work with something like this, than it is to work with a thin shim. The router will get it down to size once the shim is glued in and I make a neck pocket template.

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    Here is my neck pocket template clamped to the body and you can see the amount of 'meat' I have to remove. I can tackle this in several passes from the top down, so that the router and bit don't have a hard time.

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    Here we can see the new neck in it's pocket, all nice and snug. The pencil line on the shim is where I will carve away the unwanted part of the shim a little bit later on. I have a nice sharp chisel for this job, but with what I have in mind for the top of this body, it will be best left until later.

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    The next few stages are going to be a real challenge for me, but if I can pull it off, it should be pretty cool. Fingers crossed!!
     
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  14. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    Today I set out to make a template that I will need for the next stage of the project. I'm using 18mm MDF because it's cheap and easy to work with. I have to wear a face mask when working with this material though, as the dust isn't good for the lungs.

    To start with I drew the shape that I wanted onto a piece of card so that I could make changes until I got what I was after. When that was done, I drew around the edge of the card 'template' onto the MDF in preparation for cutting it out.

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    I don't have a bandsaw, and my jigsaw isn't very good. Or perhaps it's the blades. Either way I can't seem to get it to cut square to the job, so I drilled lot's of holes with an 8mm brad point bit close to the line, then I ran the jigsaw though the holes to give me a (very) rough outline to work with.

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    I don't have one of those cool oscillating spindle sanders, but I do have a set of rasps that easily rip into the MDF. I follow that up with some 240 grit paper to get to the line and then finish with some 320 paper. I used my square frequently to keep things pretty square and true.

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    Here is the finished job, which is not too shabby...even if I do say so myself....which I do!!! It took a bit of effort and a lot of coffee to get it to this stage, and then a couple of beers when I had done the clean up and put the tools away. If you're wondering what I have in mind for this strange shaped template, you'll have to wait and see. Cheers!!

    4.jpg

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  15. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    I sanded the body today to get rid of the pencil lines and then to practice the exact placement of the MDF template that I made. I'll have to slightly modify the template to allow the router to get right into the top right corner, but that's no problem.

    My plan is to rout out the whole area inside the template, as seen by the pencil lines on the body. The depth will be 1mm less than the thickness of old rimu panel that I posted earlier in the thread. This same template will be used to mark the rimu panel before cutting the panel out, which in theory, will match the routed out section on the body (or close enough to it). There's more to it than that, but that's the next stage of this project. I'll be practicing on some old pine that I have laying around, and when I feel confident in what I'm going to attempt, I'll make some coffee and rip into it!

    IMG_20210825_164705767.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2021
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  16. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    Today the project guitar suffered a setback that I didn't see coming, due to my inexperience as a woodworker. I didn't damage anything, I just don't have the right bit for the job, and I can't get the right bit until the end of September at best, as we are in a total lockdown situation. Let me explain.....

    I have the template positioned exactly where I want it and it's now screwed to the body. The screw holes won't matter as you'll see later in the project. As I'm using a laminate trimmer, which has a small base, routing the perimeter is no problem, but routing the centre portion of the area will need some sort of sled like contraption.

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    As an ex IT worker, I know that inside every LCD monitor is an 8mm thick piece of plexiglass like material which could be just the very thing I need. I found a monitor online that wasn't working, so for $1 I bought it and dismantled it so that I could get to the plexiglass...or whatever it's called!

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    Next, I cut a hole using a hole saw (go figure!) and I unscrewed the base plate from the laminate trimmer so that I could mark and drill the 4 hole required to screw this plexiglass to the trimmer, which would give me a sled that is rigid, smooth and clear that will make this job a breeze......except that the plexiglass is 8mm thick and the laminate trimmers base is about 3mm thick, so the screws were too short. I have a LOT of metric screws in my cupboard, but would you believe it, I didn't have any coarse thread ones of the right length. They would be available in town, but I can't go into town due to lockdown, and the shop would be shut in any case! So....I'll keep the plexiglass for another day, and move on to Plan B!

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    Plan B was to simply double stick and piece (or pieces as need be) to the body so that the trimmer base could sit on the template and the piece of double stuck MDF. That way I could at least rout out the whole area, bit by bit. It would take longer, but I have coffee.

    4.jpg



    And then reality set it! My template bit is too long to work! You see the Rimu panel that I will inlay to the routed out area, is 12.5mm thick. I intend to rout to a depth of 11mm leaving 1.5mm to plane / sand away. Yes, 1.5mm will take a bit of work to remove, but better to spend time doing that and getting it right, that making a mistake and routing too deep and then spend time crying about it! But my 25mm pattern bit simply won't allow me to rout to 11mm as you can see. If my template was twice as thick (36mm) there would be no problem. But it isn't...it's just 18mm. I looked at the options and decided that the only proper way to do this would be to buy the correct bit.....which is a 10mm pattern bit. Only problem is.......yup......LOCKDOWN! Probably the earliest I can get the bit is towards the end of September, unless I pay a ridiculous price locally, and probably still wait a couple of weeks at least.

    So, it looks like the project guitar is going to go on hold for a month.....just when I have the time to do it...doh!! Oh well, there's a couple of chairs that need repairing and I might make a a new letterbox to keep me busy.

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  17. Bob J

    Bob J Tele-Holic

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    1. Shim your template to make up fo being too thin
    2. Countersink the screw holes in the plexiglass for attaching the trimmer. You want them below the surface anyway, make the countersink deep enough that they will reach the threads on the trimmer.
     
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  18. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Counterbore your plate holes so that they go in farther. A countersink won't give you enough threads to get up in if it is one of these inexpensive laminate trimmers I know this firsthand because I had to do that on my binding jig with my HF trimmers.

    Raise up the template with blocks for the initial pass. Then lower it again if you need to. As long as the bit is against the template and the template is secure, you should be OK.

    Make sure to clamp the acrylic down because it'll run right up the drill bit.
    Here's one of mine: Probably a billion of these worldwide.


    1/2 HP 1/4 in. Trim Router (harborfreight.com)


    radius jig.jpg


    router1.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2021
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  19. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    Yes, I considered to create another template (from my existing template) and to screw this on top of the existing template. A similar option would be to glue the two templates together. Another option, which is what I think you're saying, would be to raise the existing template by creating shims that would go between the body and the template. The shims would need to be at least 15mm thick to allow the template to work, and I'm not comfortable by raising it that amount and still have it sitting in the exact same position. If I get the position a touch wrong, it's going to show when the project is complete.

    Yes, I will have to countersink the holes in the plexiglass. To use the current screws though I would need to countersink the holes a full 5mm because the screws are that short. It is possible, but without a drill press it would be easy to go a touch too far and ruin the whole show!!

    Great ideas though, and thank you very much for presenting them. I appreciate the help :)
     
  20. Kiwi_Neil

    Kiwi_Neil Tele-Meister

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    Yep, you, I and Bob j are on the same page with solutions to this annoying problem (or problems). Counterboring into the plexiglass stuff is a good idea. I had considered the countersink as Bob J suggests but as you point out, the cheap laminate trimmer has such short screws that the countersink would be massive. The counterbore might be worth a go though. As I don't have a drill press I would have to be very careful to not go too far. I will have to go in about 5mm at least...maybe 6mm. I might give it a try on a corner of the plexiglass (where it won't matter if I make a mess) and see what happens.

    As I mentioned to Bob J, I'm hesitant to raise the template by the required amount (15mm) in case I don't get things lined up perfectly. If I get it wrong, even my a small amount, it will show in the finished product.

    These are great ideas, I wonder if I can summon the confidence to do the template raising remedy. I'll have some coffee and ponder this for a while and make some test blocks perhaps.

    Thanks a lot for your help....it's much appreciated. :)
     
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