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All-plywood Tele - a bombshelter build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by halfdan, Jul 23, 2020.

  1. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Another addition to my 'no tool (almost) guitar building kit'.
     
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  2. halfdan

    halfdan TDPRI Member

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    Some insignificant progress to report:
    I decided to install the fret markers at this stage. That is, before I radius the fretboard - a sensible thing, I suppose :)
    I always wanted to make a brass nut, and I decided that my fret markers will be also brass. So I went ahead and cut the small discs out of an 8mm brass rod:

    20200907_172611.jpg

    20200907_172619.jpg

    In the next step I drilled holes for the markers. The industrial quality drill press at my work is perfect for this job. I realized it had a very precise depth indicator scale, that lets you drill multiple holes very consistently depthwise. There is no way I would do it at home.

    20200907_180859.jpg

    Then I installed the markers using a clamp to seat them and then I hammered them in flat with the fretboard.

    20200911_183246.jpg

    20200911_184936.jpg

    With some of the thin CA glue for the good measure. I am not sure if it was necessary at all, as the markers fit really tight in their respective holes.

    Then, onto my fretboard radiussing jig. As you might have guessed already, it's nothing more than aluminum profile that runs parallel to the neck to keep the radius block square.

    20200911_190444.jpg

    20200911_190501.jpg

    20200911_191759.jpg

    After some generous applicattion of elbow grease I now have the neck that is ready to be shaped. That's all the progress so far.
     
  3. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    I like the pattern that shows on the fretboard from the pattern of dark and light plywood layers.
     
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  4. halfdan

    halfdan TDPRI Member

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    Not much to report other than I gave up and bought a router. I have seriously considered doing a roundover or bevel on the body by hand. I was afraid, that with the plywood I might get a lot of tearout if I use the router. Boy, how wrong was I!
    If you think about it, plywood might be even less prone to tearout than normal wood. In the end, I watched lots of videos on youtube where people rout plywood without any problems, and decided to buy a router.

    20200925_190100.jpg
    Since I live in Germany it has to be Bosch :)
    The bit you see is a quarter inch roundover bit (6.3 mm actually).
    Now, I don't have a lot of experience with a router, as you will see on these photos, but I was really surprised how easy it was.

    20200925_193400.jpg
    20200925_193411.jpg
    20200925_193427.jpg
    As you can see, the depth setting was a bit off, but that's nothing that can't be remedied afterwards.

    Than I switched back to the neck again. I have almost started shaping when I remembered that the side markers were not installed yet. How many times I read about it here on TDPRI, and I almost did the same mistake too.

    So onto the markers. Brass rod again.

    20200929_193911.jpg

    20200929_193918.jpg

    20200929_193927.jpg
    And, finally onto the neck shaping!!!

    20200929_201637.jpg

    Primary facets. Had to be careful with a farriers rasp as it is really coarse, and can tear the outermost layers of plywood out, if you don't pay attention. By the way, it is really a farriers rasp - I have borrowed it from my horse (well, rather from the box where the horse's stuff is stored, but she didn't object).

    IMG-20200704-WA0001.jpg

    In future, I would use something less agressive (at least for plywood). I ended up using the less coarse side of the rasp the most.

    That's all for now.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  5. halfdan

    halfdan TDPRI Member

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    A very short update with a couple of pictures.

    After the primary facets were done I have switched completely to the less coarse side of the rasp for the secondary facets. As you all know, these are done in no time at all, and one can shape transitions and form the final profile. I must confess that I got carried away a bit and forgot to take pictures. So here is the end result:

    20201007_085006.jpg

    20201007_085011.jpg

    I always wanted to have a chunkier neck, so there is almost no transition between the back of the neck and the headstock. The neck is almost as thick there as at the heel. Lets see how it plays, though. If it's too chunky one can always shave of a couple of mils.

    With brass dots and brass side markers I didn't have a choice, but to make a nut from the same material.

    20201007_084940.jpg

    The thing is not finished, of-course, but I think it looks good on the plywood neck.

    20201007_084953.jpg

    Since I only did have a 6mm brass rod I had to file off lots of material. But it went relatively fast. Don't ask me how I managed to make the sides square. I don't think there's any talent involved there - just luck :)

    And here is a shot of the body:

    20201007_085044.jpg

    I am putting lots of oil coats and, so far, I am not very pleased with the result. The surface is very nice and flat to the touch, but the finish is still a very thin one. And I still get some of the stain on the rug with wich I apply the oil.
    As you see, I decided to stain the sides as well. That was a decision I didn't like, but I was not sure if I could keep the stain from seeping onto the sides. Besides, in one of the videos of Ben from Crimson Guitars I saw that his finishing oil dissolves the stain a bit. So even if I managed somehow to stain only the top, there was always a chance that some of it will be smeared onto the sides during the application of the oil finish.

    So that's all for now. I plan to fret the neck in the following days and also install the threaded inserts in the heel, 'cause I dont trust the normal wood screws to stay in plywood endgrain.
     
  6. epimenio

    epimenio TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for referencing this build to me. I am learning a great deal. I do have a question. Does your fingerboard overhang the neck where it joins the body? I’ve see some builds as well as commercial necks for sale with an overhang. As a one piece that would surely make it more complicated but not impossible.

    Thank you
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
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  7. halfdan

    halfdan TDPRI Member

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    Hi epimenio, you are right to say that on a one-piece neck the overhang usually does not exist. But I see no reason not to make one :) If you think you really need that 22nd fret you can engineer the overhang into the neck design.
    If we are talking about plywood laminate neck here, it is even easier to do than with the solid wood. In each lamella you can cut this step in the heel and after you glue everything together you'll get your overhang. In this case it will be much more rubust and stable. I have seen some pictures (probably even here on TDPRI), with the broken-off overhang on normal two-piece necks.
    Hope this helps.

    P.S. When I say cut the step into the heel I mean smth. like this.
    lamella.png
    This is a cross-section of one plywood lamella.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
  8. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    A sweet looking neck :)
     
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  9. halfdan

    halfdan TDPRI Member

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    Started to fret the neck. So far I can see no difference. The frets go in much the same as on a normal neck. I would say more like into a maple fretboard. Of course I always knock down the edges of the kerfs with a triangle file. I know it helps quite a bit.
    So here is my acryllic fret-press setup:)

    20201013_165704.jpg

    20201013_165715.jpg

    20201013_173735.jpg

    And here is a picture I forgot to post in the previous update:

    20201008_140611.jpg
     
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  10. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Nice! :)
     
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  11. halfdan

    halfdan TDPRI Member

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    Another short update. In the last two weeks I have managed to get some things done, but the project progressing not as fast as I would like it to. On the other hand, there's no pressure to finish it asap. I might as well enjoy it a bit longer. :)

    So here is the fretboard all masked and ready for leveling and crowning jobs:

    20201020_191305.jpg

    In the backgroung is my leveling beam - a water level with some 240 grit sandpaper.
    The next step is crowning. Even the cheapest crowning file (guess which one I have? :) ) makes life so much easier.

    20201025_163934.jpg

    The result is not too bad:

    20201020_200831.jpg

    Sorry for the out-of-focus picture, but I always have an excuse of sitting in the bomb shelter :) One can see the thin sharpie line (or what's left of it), though.


    20201025_184355.jpg

    Polishing. My dremel knock-off worked perfectly well considering 19 bucks that I paid for it. The battery lasted exactly long enough for 20 frets. The 21st had to wait a bit while the battery was charging. Annoying, of course, but not as annoying as the fact that I didn't seal the fretboard good enough before masking it with tape. Some of the polishing compound got onto it and I had to sand it off in some places.
     
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  12. halfdan

    halfdan TDPRI Member

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    This next post is more about metal working. I decided to make my own string retainers, and, to match the overall look of the guitar, they need to be made of brass (like the nut and the fret markers). Mine will be of simple mushroom type much like the ones on the Fender basses.

    First I drill a hole through a piece of the 10 mm brass rod.
    20201028_161559.jpg

    Than contersink it for the screw that will hold the whole thing together:

    20201028_162051.jpg

    In the next step I cut off the upper 4 mm to form "the cap of the mushroom", so to speak. I was sure I made a picture of the final result, but I cannot find it. I hope you get the idea.
    For the "stem" I din't have a rod that is thin enough, so I had to improvise:
    20201028_170704.jpg

    20201028_171239.jpg

    Next onto the nut. In my previous post there was a picture somewhere of the nut blank I made from the 10mm brass rod. Now is the time to bring it to its final dimensions:
    20201031_183843.jpg

    The upper line is from the half-pencil I made on the sander. The lower one is more or less the profile of my neck.
    20201031_184440.jpg

    20201031_184455.jpg

    20201031_184626.jpg

    I think it looks good, but I have no idea how am I going to cut the string slots.

    The next picture is not what you think it is. It was not self indulgence, I was actually figuring out where I could position the output jack :)

    20201101_145006.jpg

    So, in the end, I decided it must be in line with the control plate:

    20201101_151131.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2020
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  13. halfdan

    halfdan TDPRI Member

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    And the two pictures that didn't fit into the previous post:

    20201101_151549.jpg

    20201101_151657.jpg

    That's all for now.
     
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  14. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

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    This neck is so attrative, why would anyone want to build a neck any other way!
     
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  15. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Very nice :)
     
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  16. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Holic

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    Ha! I noticed that too and thought... hmmm.... can think of a 100 times I could've used that trick and wasn't smart enough to think of it! LOL!!! EPIC status - concur!

    Just when I think I've got this guitar building stuff figured out, I come across posts like this and am taken back to school again... LOL!!! Nice work, man! Very beautiful! Can't wait to see the finished product! Do a vid so we can hear what it sounds like!!! :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2020
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  17. Greg M

    Greg M Tele-Holic

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    Look great! I did something similar on a Tele body. Glued gold glitter wrapping paper to the top, which looks like a glitter guitar finish. The guitar plays and sounds really good too. Nothing wrong with plywood.
     
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  18. KS6V

    KS6V TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Very nice work. I'm curious why the unusual output jack location?
     
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  19. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    Wondered that too - perhaps a typical Tele edge jack arrangement won't hold well in plywood?
     
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  20. halfdan

    halfdan TDPRI Member

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    First of all, thanks everybody for words of encouragement. Our hobby is gratifying enough, but to hear praise (in my case often undeserved :) ) from other builders makes it even better.

    I knew this move will excite comments, but I don't have a convincing answer to that. I guess I don't like the original placement of the output jack on a Tele. And also I am a fan of the angled-jack cables :)

    Another reason is, perhaps, subconsciously, I treat the whole thing as a hollowbody. Something along 335 lines. Hence the jack placement.

    Also I wouldn't worry that a typical electrosocket or les-paul-style jack plate won't hold well in plywood. The mechanical loads there are not so high. I was worried, though, about the neck joint. I thought that the plywood endgrain won't hold the neck screws. So I decided to do the inserts for machine screws instead. I will post pictures later, but I tell you now it was probably unnecessary. And a major PITA to install those inserts decently square. If I ever do the plywood laminate neck again I will definitely use normal wood screws for the neck. The beech plywood I used, can easily hold screws in the endgrain.
     
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