Building a Tele out of Mesquite

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Fender Addiction, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. Fender Addiction

    Fender Addiction TDPRI Member

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    ... sorry, all, but I have to say it... gonna call it a Mesquite-o-caster! ... Mosquitocaster! Yeah... I'm in Texas. They get as big as eagles down here. Alright, alright, cut me some slack. I made a dad-joke.. I'm a dad, I'm allowed.

    Seriously though. A couple months ago my uncle asked if I thought it would be possible to build a guitar out of mesquite. I figured if folks can build one out of whatever they can find mixed with resin, then sure, I could build a guitar out of mesquite. Turns out... due to my newly minted milling skills, I ended up having to use resin, too.

    Quite an interesting choice. The wood is very dense. I haven't worn out any tools or bits on it yet, but I can definitely see why it isn't used in production.

    So far as tonal quality? I have no idea. And I won't be able to do a "side by side" as this is not going to be outfitted like any other Telecaster I own.

    I've already bought and fitted a Warmoth neck (I found it used on Reverb) made of wenge with a wenge fretboard, and have already routed the body to accept a P90 in the neck and a Jazzmaster tailpiece and bridge.

    I had already planned to use resin to fill voids, and there were plenty. But, after all my milling, the thickness was down to less than 1.5 inches, so I had to build up the back. A couple of resin pours and learning that resin WILL find any opening you have in your mold, I was able build up the thickness to a range of 1.757 and 1.763. I'm not gonna fuss about .006" variance.

    At this point I have cut and sanded the body, routed all the cavities and neck pocket, and rounded over the edges with a 1/8" roundover.

    I haven't even ordered the pickups or any of the electronics yet. I do have pickguard material coming in tomorrow, and will try my hand at cutting my own pickguard. The template for it came with my other templates.

    I do not have a firm "build by" date for this, but figure I will likely have it done by the end of the month. I definitely want to get it done, but have a lot of irons in the fire at the moment. Some of which are even of my own making..

    I'll not flood the site with all the pics, but here are some:
    What I started with:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    After gluing up... and adding some "interest" to the middle. This was also due to my milling skills... eh, it all worked out in the end:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Design of resin on the back before cutting and shaping:
    [​IMG]

    Where I am now:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    Encouraged, even!

    Welcome!

    Your cargo shorts will be issued to you shortly, er, soon, assuming you don't have them. A foolish assumption, of course.

    Nice-looking slab!
     
  3. Fender Addiction

    Fender Addiction TDPRI Member

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    I don't have the shorts, but I do have black socks and sandals to go with said shorts.
     
  4. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've built a few from mesquite, very pretty wood.
    Seems that you have to go through a ton of it to find a body blank without internal rot or wind splits though.

    They do tend to be heavy though.
    I found a mesquite flooring mill that was going out of business and bought a bunch of 3/8" thick bookmatched panels that were meant to become cabinet doors. They were awesome over an alder sub-body with a blackburst.

    FWIW, mesquite fretboards don't hold a fret too well.

    Does the mesquite turn your hands purple for a few days like it did mine?
     
  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    Whoo that looks great!

    I've not used mesquite because of the weight, but I have made pickguards out of it. It's really beautiful when clearcoated.
     
  6. Fender Addiction

    Fender Addiction TDPRI Member

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    I've already decided if I make another mesquite guitar, it would be a veneer (up to about 3/8" thick) over mahogany or alder. Or at the very least make a thinline style.

    Haven't noticed the purple hands, but so far I haven't held it very long at a stretch.
     
  7. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    As good as it looks, I can't stop thinking about barbecued ribs.
     
  8. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    The scraps are always useful 3- chord.

    Different people's body chemistry works differently. My former neighbor worked at said mill and always had a purple hue about him.
     
  9. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    If it doesn't work ... you can always have a barbecue...
     
  10. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    I, too have lived around mesquite trees all my life, and while I believe you can make a good guitar out of almost anything, I would worry about weight. But it certainly looks good from here. Thanks for posting.
     
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  11. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Umm. . . unless things have changed, isn't mesquite one of the more heavy woods one can use... last one i did came out at 13 pounds... that wasn't too bad, but the tow motor necessary to move it around cost 13,000.00 :p

    r
     
  12. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    In all seriousness, it is a beautiful wood, and considering the caps, I'd strongly recommend chambering it to lighten it.. you darn near cannot remove enough lumber to get the weight down onto a tolerable range..

    rock on..

    r
     
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  13. Dana Rudd

    Dana Rudd Tele-Meister

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    Looking great so far.
     
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  14. Urshurak776

    Urshurak776 Tele-Holic

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    WOW! That looks stunning! I grew up in San Antonio and my parents have 80 acres of land in New Braunfels. We have more mesquite than you can...well...shake a stick at!
     
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  15. telemaster03

    telemaster03 Tele-Meister

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    Interesting build, but I have to admit my initial thought on reading the thread title was BBQ instead of Telecasters.

    Seriously, it will be good fun to watch the progress and outcome.
     
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  16. Fender Addiction

    Fender Addiction TDPRI Member

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    As I have removed more and more material it certainly feels lighter. I don't plan on standing with this one much at all. I would likely never perform with it, unless it was a seated event. At home, I would only play it sitting down.

    Having a large portion of the back being resin probably helps with the weight, too. I had to build up the back with about 3/8" of resin. Initially, I thought it added to the weight... now, I'm not so sure. I need to weigh the body to know for sure.
     
  17. Fender Addiction

    Fender Addiction TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! Yeah... I my first thought was "if this doesn't work out, at least I have enough wood to smoke a brisket and ribs!"
     
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  18. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    The resin might be toxic! [emoji12]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  19. Fender Addiction

    Fender Addiction TDPRI Member

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    I'm closer to Houston... got the wood from my uncle down near Port Lavaca/Port O'Connor.

    Speaking of New Braufels, when things "normalize" again, I need to get to Gruene Hall. Haven't been there in quite some time, but not being able to go makes me want to go more.
     
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  20. Fender Addiction

    Fender Addiction TDPRI Member

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    Oh... I mean't "pre-resin" ... when I applied my milling skillz (or lack thereof) and ended up with 1.4" slabs, I almost decided to burn them. At that point, I decided to build up the back. Sorry.. I should have clarified.
     
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