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"BenCaster" Build - Many Pics!

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by JustPlay, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. JustPlay

    JustPlay Tele-Meister

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    Hello all:

    A couple of months ago, I read the now famous "100 Year Old Barn Wood Build" - one of many by Roger C. That really inspired me to give it a try myself. As it turned out, my Sister-In-Law had been storing several planks that had come from my Grandfather's Barn. The wood was actually milled right at the farm - and I have the original sawmill blade as well. Trust me - that thing is a very scary looking piece of steel! Anyway, the wood was in surprisingly good condition. It's Michigan Red Maple, about 80 years old.

    So many people came forward to help me on this project with tools, materials, and answers to my endless questions. Kathie for storing and providing those planks:Todd for the use of his planer; Ron K. for the set of his excellent books (and for not being upset by the "fire-storm" of similar requests that resulted - what a great guy!); Dave for the use of his wood-shop; Ron W. for the use of his router & table (for the record -- I hate routers!); Roger C and everyone here that have answered my countless questions; Shawn at BYOG for advice with Wudtone; Bill from The Art of Tone; CEG Hardtails for the great deal on the neck; Gordon "teleup" for the good deal on the pick-ups... The list goes on & on. I am a truly blessed man. Thank you all so very much.

    Anyway, I download the famous tele file and headed over to the local Kinko's. The young women there thought I was an architect designing a building. Seeing as how she had just enlarged the file to a 1:1 scale, I figured she must not really know much about building a guitar. Then again, at that point, neither did I!

    The first order was to plane the wood down. My friend Todd loaned me a portable planer, and I proceeded to make some wonderful sawdust!

    The planks as I received them:
    [​IMG]

    After using the planer:
    [​IMG]

    Which produced some beautiful wood:
    [​IMG]

    That I then milled into 1/2" thick boards, and glued them onto a well seasoned piece of pine that had been stored in my garage for 25 years.
    [​IMG]

    Speaking of that top, it was supposed to be a two-piece, as one of the boards was just wide-enough for it. It did, however, have a prominent crack in it. The jury on how to deal with that issue was split 50/50 (kinda' like the wood, come to think of it). Some said it would be OK to use as is, others thought I was asking for trouble. Well, I knew I was already in trouble -- actually, I was way in over my head at that point -- so I thought I'd go the safe route. The "plan" (yea, right!) was to cut it right along that crack and re-join it back together. Let me tell you, I have since learned a lot about using power joiners. They work great... but if you're a novice, you can eat up some wood in a hurry! When I was done I realized I was now just a "bit" shy on having the width I needed. So, what was once going to be a two piece, then a four piece, became a five piece top! Hey -- I really did learn a lot about getting nice clean joints!

    Here's the top after multiple surgeries:
    [​IMG]

    Mercifully, the back fared much better -- it's only a "two-piecer":
    [​IMG]

    It was then time to visit the band-saw -- making great use of Ron's books and the template set I ordered as well (both of which are a "must have", IMO).
    [​IMG]

    For a novice, I was pleased with the results:
    [​IMG]

    From there, it was time to try out those unique router bits called out in Ron's books (did I mention I hate routers?):
    [​IMG]

    Just when I started to think "hey now, this ain't so bad..." the bit, well, uh, bit the wood hard! I was a little bummed, but figured I could live with the damage (more on that later):
    [​IMG]

    So, I was now at this point in the build:
    [​IMG]

    Much sanding then took place, and my carefully "chosen" (code for: man, I must have drove some folks crazy with all those questions) hardware started to arrive:
    [​IMG]

    So, then it was time to see if I knew what to do with any of that stuff:
    [​IMG]

    Fortunately, my hours spent reading were starting to pay off:
    [​IMG]

    Things were actually "lining up" nicely :lol::
    [​IMG]

    I'm now several steps into the finishing process, and so far I am very pleased with the results. This shows the actual first applied "deep color coat" from the Wudtone "Mahogany" kit I'm using:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    With some serious sanding and a "wee bit" of wood filler used very sparingly (as it is not recommend by Wudtone) to fix the deal with the router "beauty mark" (did I mention that I hate routers?!), it has all started to come together very nicely. That "beauty mark" even looks a bit like a "burl" spot now, thanks to a little work with some very fine steel wool.

    In about a weeks' time I expect to be done with the finishing process. When I'm satisfied that it's safe to proceed, I'll wire-up the picks / controls, attach the neck, and the remaining hardware. Oh, and I'm going to line the cavities with copper to shield them as well.

    The last thing will be to apply the decal I'm making for it. The name I've chosen? This will be my "BenCaster". Bernard was my Grandfather / my Father / and my Brother's name. And my Grandfather signed his name as "Ben". Those three generations of "Ben's" are all waiting for me on the other side now... But in the mean time, I can't wait to hear how the guitar (that carries their great name) is going to sound! This entire project has really been a blast so far.

    More to come....
    Will ~
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  2. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    You've done great, Will! You should be very proud of it.
     
  3. 1955

    1955 Doctor of Teleocity

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    That's looking great!
     
  4. JustPlay

    JustPlay Tele-Meister

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    Thanks folks... It's really been an interesting project! Gettin' closer by the minute.
     
  5. Bentley

    Bentley Friend of Leo's

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    Lookin good, but a shame you couldn't make it a two peice top. Oh well, live and learn!
     
  6. JustPlay

    JustPlay Tele-Meister

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    True, but I've made "my peace" with that issue... I'm just happy that it actually looks like a tele! :lol:
     
  7. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Hi Will! My you're a fast worker!! All that in one day:D

    What's the neck if I may ask? The beast looks very good so far, and don't worry about how many pieces the top is etc. During the last challenge Guitarbuilder did a complete instrument from craft sticks. Bet he lost count of how many pieces. Be warned the build bug seems to have bitten, so be prepared to spend all your spare time and money on the purchase of tools and wood, and I bet you're already planning the next one.

    Keep up the good photos, and let us know what the finish will be.

    Regards DC
     
  8. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nice work. Glad you stuck to your guns. ;)
     
  9. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire

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    Very nice , thats something to be proud of ;)
     
  10. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    FYI, routers tend to return the favor, viciously ;)

    On a brighter note, a really sweet body! :D (I don't care how many pieces your top is ;))
     
  11. JustPlay

    JustPlay Tele-Meister

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    Thanks Dave! Here's a couple of new pics. I now have the "deep color coat" and "three base coats" done using Wudtone Mahogany:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The color is starting to develop nicely....
     
  12. JustPlay

    JustPlay Tele-Meister

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    More new pics!

    More finish applied ... and I now have the cavity shielding done (hey, it was just hanging there anyway...)

    [​IMG]
     
  13. JustPlay

    JustPlay Tele-Meister

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    I've also got the back of the pickup cover(s) and the control plate covered with the same copper foil now... And after letting the finish set up for a few more days, I can finally build this thing and see how it sounds! I am getting much excited about this.... :lol:
     
  14. philspeed1

    philspeed1 Tele-Meister

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    Looking good, don't be in a rush to put it together the finish is best left to dry for a while it might feel hard but can be soft below depending on the number of coats. nothing worse than marking a new finish.
     
  15. JustPlay

    JustPlay Tele-Meister

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    I'm sure you're right about that... Note to self: "Patient - I must be patient!" :(
     
  16. Bentley

    Bentley Friend of Leo's

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    Lookin REEAL good!
     
  17. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Very nice build, Will, especially for a first build ! Great to be honoring your family and using wood from the family farm. I wish I had some of my Uncle Frank's barn from Mi. Much of it was chestnut. Gone, long gone.
     
  18. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Afflicted

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    hey bill:

    wow, looks really great. love the color on that maple and the striping really stands out.

    play music!

    mikeB.
    snakeskin
     
  19. Robbied_216

    Robbied_216 Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice work. I think anyone that can see something through to completion is already miles ahead the majority...
     
  20. JustPlay

    JustPlay Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the nice compliments everyone - the encouragement is much appreciated!

    At first I wondered if maybe this wood was also Chestnut, as there were some on his farm. It turned out to be hard Red Maple...
     
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