Beginning builders - how stressed do you get when making a cut?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Stefanovich, Aug 31, 2019.

  1. Stefanovich

    Stefanovich Tele-Holic

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    I am making slow progress on my superstrat build and today I routed the truss rod slot. This step has taken me forever mostly because of a lack of spare time, but also because I was afraid to make the rout lest something go wrong.

    I don't own a router table, so I made an initial slot (slightly too narrow and too shallow) using the dado blade on my table saw. Then I clamped the neck into my Workmate and used a piece of MDF as a straightedge guide for the router. It worked like a charm and I have a nice straight truss rod slot that looks like it should.

    Does anyone else get super nervous before making irreversible cuts or routs?
     
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  2. boop

    boop Tele-Meister

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    When I did my first build over the winter I procrastinated something fierce when it came to some key cuts like the neck pocket, which I cut by hand. I used cheap materials, and at some point I said "screw it" and didn't worry about fit and finish, and just focused on seeing if I could make a playable guitar. I was surprised on how happy I was with playability and sound, even if its got looks only a mother could love (It looks great!). Remember any mistakes, except the most catastrophic, are fixable by patching in some more wood. If and when I build another I'll have a lot more confidence going into it, just knowing I can do it.
     
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  3. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Tele-Afflicted

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    I haven't been a beginner in almost 20 years, but I remember it vividly. My first body I didn't even now what I didn't know because the internet wasn't what it is now. I just dived right in and the resulting thing played. It didn't look super awesome, but it worked ok. That body has long since hit the scrap heap, but on following guitars, I remember getting super anxious about the neck pocket in particular. Once you develop a system that you have confidence in, things go quicker and you don't stress, but you have to go through the lack of confidence and stress to get there. It's like obtaining any other worthwhile skill, you just have to do it.

    Short answer: yup, been there, done that. You'll see that you can do it just fine and then you'll start to worry about it less and less.
     
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  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I've built 25 instruments and I still think long and hard about every cut I make.
     
  5. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Being nervous helps keep your fingers attached to your hands because you are thinking about what you are doing. I only get concerned when I'm using expensive pieces of wood. Sometimes I have to catch myself because this stuff has become so routine for me.
     
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  6. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm with Marty on this one!

    I don't get nervous after building for some years but i sure respect the tools much more after being bit from carelessness. I had a lot of wood experience before getting started building so the learning curve wasn't much. Even then I made mistakes and tossed a few items in the wood pile. Heck I still do that from time to time going in autopilot & making mistakes!

    The main thing is learn from mistakes amd enjoy as you go!

    Eric
     
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  7. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Holic

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    Only when it's one that won't be covered :D
     
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  8. Gipper

    Gipper Tele-Meister

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    I have been doing this for over a decade and stress over every body I make. Mistakes and unforseen issues are inevitable, minimzing them is the key.
     
  9. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    I cut my first neck in 1989, the most recent just yesterday. I'm not so much nervous as I am very cautious about planning and measurements. It still ain't pretty sometimes.
     
  10. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    The "more special" the material, the more stress is involved. Ruining a piece of pine (assuming it's not something hugely unique) doesn't hurt as much as a mahogany back capped with highly figured maple or some exotic species that you only have one piece of an no hope to get another.

    "Measure twice, cut once" isn't good enough in that case!
     
  11. epizootics

    epizootics Tele-Meister

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    The main lesson I took away from woodworking, either on my own or with really talented guys from one or two generations above me, is that it's not about what goes right, it's about what goes wrong and what you can do about it. There is only so much planning ahead one can do, especially on a busy work site with electricians and plasterers and plumbers milling around. Sometimes you must make the wrong cut because there is no extra time to think about it. How quick you are to fix those mistakes is the key. Everybody's style is different, some of the guys curse a lot, some others take it with philosophy and laugh at how they just screwed something up. It's all good as long as the work is done at then end of the day.

    We have the luxury of a lot more time to think when we build guitars for ourselves, but in some cases it seems to leave more time to get stressed about some of the cuts. As Marty says, it's also a natural thing to do that allows one to keep one's fingers and other body parts unscathed by the process. I doesn't prevent you from doing the occasional lutherie mistake, but as long as it keeps you from doing the kind of mistake where you end up in the hospital covered in blood...It's all good :)
     
  12. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

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    Here's my first partscaster, I did not even have to make a cut, but once I had gathered the parts it sat unassembled for almost two years, whilst I prepared myself to put it together.

    upload_2019-9-9_8-9-42.jpeg

    The first pickups I bought were mighty mite alnicos, which I fitted in a black scratchplate, they then moved into a tortoiseshell plate, to be replaced by the Lace Alumintones before the guitar was even built.

    Forty years ago a friend had a Merlin Rocket racing dinghy. A couple of planks were in a bad way, but it was still just about watertight and sailable. A group of us went up to fix it one weekend, ended up sailing it. Two more working parties never touched a tool. On the fourth weekend, without warning my friend I drilled a couple of inch diameter holes in the dodgy planks. He went ballistic. Half an hour later he calmed down and thanked me. We replaced the planks that weeked and gave it the first coat of varnish, a couple of weeks later it was finished.
     
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  13. Gipper

    Gipper Tele-Meister

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    Amen to that!!!
     
  14. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Measure twice, cut once, never blame your tools.
     
  15. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    Everyone learns by making mistakes you can research and plan but things can still go t*ts up very quickly
    1st neck i made i never sanded it close enough to the line and thought no worries the table router will sort that.. big mistake the sides no problem but soon as the end grain touched that router bit boom !!! straight across the room
     
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  16. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Never blame your tools--but always blame your jigs! :D

    I have spent days building jigs to help make cuts that only took seconds, but they saved a lot of time that would've otherwise gone into fixing stuff...

    And I have cried at leisure when I've rushed making the jig. :oops:

    This is a point that good ol NickJD laid out very clearly to me once when I was whining about something I'd botched.
     
  17. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't think I've followed the same process on any of my builds
     
  18. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

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    I do tend to get a little anxious, but once I stopped going for perfection it really made the building process a lot more enjoyable for me.
     
  19. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    That's the very definition of being a craftsman.
     
  20. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I dare say we all did at one point or another.
    Then it gets down to something like: laboring over that sweet piece of birdseye maple that should be a neck but what if I f................

    If you hack it up, then make something else with it. That's the long and short of it. After 7 years of making and breaking stuff I still occasionally make flubs even on crazy expensive pieces, it's how you handle those issues that can make or break a build.
     
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