Building my first Telecaster.

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by UjwalB, Aug 14, 2019 at 9:21 PM.

  1. UjwalB

    UjwalB TDPRI Member

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    Hi,
    I have just started working on a telecaster guitar with Australian Red Cedar and Silver Ash(?)....very plain yellowish wood which I have been told is called Silver Ash.

    The woods were reclaimed woods, at least a decade or two old by the way they looked.

    I had made two "tops" but since I didn't have enough wood, decided to sandwich them together into a single body. Now I have exactly 45mm thick Telecaster body..and I think it looks pretty interesting.

    While the cedar was really good looking, it had cracks, holes around the knots so I had to cut it strategically....and filled one significant hole with dust and titebond.

    I am planning to deviate from standard telecaster:

    I will route the neck for Strat style heel and use P90 pickups. At least on the neck.

    I am inclined towards a short telebridge.....or maybe a vintage Strat tremolo.

    Back will be dark or opaque to hide any fillings and top will be more or less natural with faux binding kind of look.

    Any suggestions or how to go about finishing the porous red cedar will be highly appreciated.
    It would be great to give a whole new life to a neglected piece of timber :)

    This is my fist post and first Telecaster. Would appreciate any guidance and advice from seniors into forum.

    Many thanks.


    IMG_20190814_145233.jpg IMG_20190814_124450.jpg IMG_20190814_132621.jpg
     
  2. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    Looks interesting. I do a lot of “sandwiching” for gat bodies, so will be interested to see how yours turns out.

    Welcome to the TDPRI, and I’ll leave the more knowledgeable finishers to help you in that direction.
     
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  3. Mr_Q

    Mr_Q Tele-Meister

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    Welcome to the obsession! You'll find lots of wise people here to help guide you on this journey.

    As far as great to goes, I think grain filter and sanding sealer will be important parts of your finishing process.

    Good luck!
    Q

    Sent from my SM-T810 using Tapatalk
     
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  4. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Meister

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    Nice job! I like CA for cracks, but to each their own!
     
  5. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Most first timers would benefit from using the search feature above and also checking out the challenge build thread archive way up above. They are chock full of informative builds from first timers and experts alike. Most here are happy to help and answer questions as they come up.
     
  6. UjwalB

    UjwalB TDPRI Member

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    After watching a lot of his videos on YouTube, in march I had an opportunity to take a 5 day course with David Fletcher here in Sydney and I came back home with a really sweet little strat and desire to learn more and now all I think about is timber and building guitars.

    Before this I hadn't held any tool except a drill before the course and every weekend now I work a bit on a guitar and slowly building my skills and fulfilling my lifelong dream of building nice guitars.
    In limited time I could only learn so much and have been lurking around for some time in TDPRI and try to absorb as much as I could.
    IMG_20190314_170942.jpg

    What a great place for guitar lovers :)
     
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  7. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I gave some resin a shot today for filling knots/cracks.... should do the trick...;)

    I'll see what it's like to sand tomorrow....:rolleyes:

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  8. UjwalB

    UjwalB TDPRI Member

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    That looks great Trev. Judging from the methylated spirit bottle now filled with Acetone, you are from Australia as well.

    I have never worked with CA or epoxy to fill up porous wood. I have seen some videos of people using CA on acoustic instruments but too scared to use them myself.

    I was having a thought about using timbermate after colouring it with some reds/browns that approximately matches the wood or the finish finish.

    Has anybody tried using acrylic paint or watercolour or RIT dye etc to colour timbermate to match the wood?

    I reckon RIT dye, aniline dye would probably work well..but how about acrylic colours that artists and crafts people use? Those are cheap and available in every imaginable colour.
    Would love to hear if anyone had done that already.

    Once the pores and cracks are filled and sanded down to 320, I planning to use dewaxed shellac to seal it and build some layers and sort of French polish it the best I can.

    For the neck, I plan to use Tru oil as it's going to a simple flatsawn rock maple neck.

    I prefer to use shellac for the finish as much as possible as it's non toxic, easy to use and repair and looks beautiful. And in the future if I get and opportunity, I can shoot a few coats of clear nitro on top without any issues.
     
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  9. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Timbermate comes in a wide variety of colors. I'd just get what is either close to yours or go with a darker shade, although I found the ebony to be too plain black and ended up bland where the mahogany had more reds and a pop in it and looked better.

    Gibson sold LPs in the 70s often called 'pancake' style laminated bodies, and while the traditionalists did not like it ("gotta be all one piece of wood"), bands like KISS played them at famous concerts and for recordings.

    French polish can work out. I recently did a Jazzmaster/Junior mashup (a single chrome humbucker and wrap tail bridge) with a fabric top.
    There is a video by Gilroys or Gilbys on youtube where they show the how-to french polish with several options on a section from a piano restoration.

    One of the things I learned with Teles ... be cautious when thinking about cutting a radius on the perimeter -- go to much and the body suddenly feels extra thin.

    Get a 4-way switch and an electrosocket jack cup.

    .
     
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  10. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    According to my wood index, Australian red cedar (Toona ciliata) is a very porous wood but seems to glue and finish well. They don't give any special advice other than it might exude some resin. I have had really good luck pore fill with a finishing resin called Zpoxy - I don't know if its available in Australia but it would be my choice. Zpoxy also does an incredible job of popping grain and figure, gives a very slight amber cast and will help stabilize the wood.
     
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  11. Telekarster

    Telekarster TDPRI Member

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    Hey man!!! I'm new too, and new builder ;) From the looks of it, you have a lot more experience than I did coming into it so you'll be fine for sure! I just finished my first build about a year ago, but went pure vintage spec. I used Timbermate thinned down with water to a "mustard" like consistency, and then hand rubbed it into the pours and grain etc. then let it dry for 2 days. After that, I hand sanded with 220. Be careful of over sanding cause you run the risk of pulling the stuff right out of the grain.. at least that's what happened to me using ash... had to re-apply in places because of it. I'm no expert so maybe I didn't do it right, but she turned out good all the same to me ;) Good luck! Looking good already!
     
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  12. UjwalB

    UjwalB TDPRI Member

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    Thank you. I think I can order zpoxy from online sellers here. I will also speak with some experienced gentlemen at the woodworking club where I do most of the work.
    I was advised to use epoxy but it's a bit difficult for me with very limited space.
    I do most of the woodwork at the club but do the fine sanding and part of finish at home after my 5yo son goes to sleep. Hence trying to use something with low odour and non toxic.

    I did something similar with a Tassie Blackwood Strat body which I started a while ago....painted the timbermate, sanded and sealed with dewaxed shellac.

    Unfortunately since I had cut it with jigsaw...and the blade drifted had to fill those up cuts and was forced to paint it in solid colour. Its a shame to cover such a nice piece of timber but now know how not to cut. IMG_20190622_095316.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019 at 4:00 PM
  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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  14. UjwalB

    UjwalB TDPRI Member

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  15. UjwalB

    UjwalB TDPRI Member

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    Finished neck and pickup routing. Also since I am using a Strat neck pocket on tele body, couldn't find a plastic pickguard so I am attempting to make one out of wood. Found a piece of red cedar...same wood as back of the body, resawed it and cut and shaped it with bandsaw and spindle sander. I think it will look nice if I can get this to work.
    I also modified the shape of the pickguard a bit around the top.

    I am now looking at dewaxed shellac or zpoxy to fill up the pores and "harden" the wood. Australian red cedar is very soft...was told if you look it it hard enough and it will dent :)
    At the moment I only have dewaxed shellac at hand, will apply it it the pickguard to see how well it works. IMG_20190818_145406.jpg IMG_20190818_122649.jpg
     
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  16. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I can make you a tele pickguard, I have a router pattern here...

    I've got clear, black or white sheets of 2mm acrylic.... I buy A4 sheets off ebay from local sellers...

    too easy..:)
     
  17. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    Yep, you got the bug! :p
     
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  18. UjwalB

    UjwalB TDPRI Member

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    Thanks Trev, I will give this one a go and see if it works. Just ordered some zpoxy which I hope will make it strong enough to work on it.

    If all fails, will be in touch.

    Cheers!
     
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