COMPLETED --$100 Telecaster Challenge - Ketchup Caster

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Mark-00255

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Thanks also to Stoked and Colt - it means a lot to get some good feedback!

Meanwhile, I was sure I'd screwed the pooch last night wet-sanding. I also got a little aggressive, but I sure tried to be careful. I very lightly started with 600 on the back, then went to 1000 then 1500. And when it was all the way dry, found I'd taken some high spots right down:
BackBareSpots.jpg


Crap! There are about six of these on the back - in the center upper area - the light spots in this shot:
BackBareSpots2.jpg


So when I flipped it over I just used 1500 on the front, and was very gentle. My plan was to take off the shine and get it level, between the big grains which like robt57 I kinda like, then polish. Well, I guess the poly doesn't do that like lacquer will. It was just dull .... I carefully polished an area with some Maguiars stuff - didn't dare try my buffing wheel I have for my hand drill! But it still looked a little cloudy.

So, I decided at 9:00 PM to put on another coat of poly. I lightly wiped the whole thing down with mineral spirits, and got a new fresh t-shirt applicator, and laid down another coat. The front still looked cloudy through the new coat - aargh! Went to bed thinking I was done, and out of the challenge. The best this poly will do is get reasonably hard in 24 hours.

But this morning, I found the front actually looks great. It could use one more coat, as could the back, but there's no time. And it's actually flatter and smoother then before the sanding adventure - here's the wet sand result last night before the re-coat and the front just a few minutes ago (12 1/2 hours dry time):
WetSandFrontResult.jpg


I guess all I can do now is let it dry, and bolt it together late tonight or tomorrow morning early.
 

Tom_B

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The finish looks great... and the neck mod gets and A+, too! I can't wait to see it all finished up.
 

Ironwolf

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Poly doesn't buff like lacquer; it never gets hard enough. Ideally, you do your last coat such that it lays perfectly flat and does not pick up any dust, and you leave it with out polishing.
 

Mark-00255

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Thanks Tom B! I'm having a hard time waiting, too!

Yeah, Ironwolf, if only I'd know that poly doesn't buff yesterday afternoon! But the end result is the front and back are both smoother and flatter! So I guess it's working out in the end.

Meanwhile, there is stuff to do while paint dries. Here's my bag of pots and stuff from a Strat single HB setup I tried a while back - that's a genuine Squier '51 Bridge HB in the bag - I need to do something with that one - they're too good to not use!
Electronics.jpg
 

Mark-00255

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So I needed to assemble the pots and jack into a volume/tone/no-switch setup. Got going and realized I was plumb out of 20-gauge wire ... plus I still needed some screws for mounting the pickup. So, one more trip to the hardware store and one more little bag of parts. 3 black 6 X 1 wood screws at 23 cents each; one foot of surgical tubing at 39 cents (they use that around here for steelhead fishing jigs - I'll use it for springs), and one foot of doorbell wire at 29 cents:
LastBagofParts.jpg


And get busy with the nice new soldering iron my wife got me for christmas this year! Sorry, no action shots of soldering - I always need three hands to solder stuff anyway:
WiringDone.jpg


The green wire out the left side off the volume pot is the bridge ground.
 

Mark-00255

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Then I thought I'd put the tuners and string trees back on the neck. Pretty straightforward since they came off this neck. Here's the stuff:
AssembleNeck.jpg


Front all done:
NeckDoneFront.jpg


Back:
NeckDoneBack.jpg


- yeah these tuners are seriously not straight. They went right back in the same holes, and I fussed around for a while, but looks like they were originally installed this way! Oh well! IF I end up keeping this guitar (meaning I lose :() then I think I'll get a set of klusons.
 

Mark-00255

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Thanks gtrwrks! Closing in on 24 hours dry time for the final poly coat!

Meanwhile, I decided to replace the black plastic cover since the paint went bad on me and I screwed up on of the mounting holes! Tried to countersink that thin plastic and went clear through ... Doh! But, what to use ... how about a cedar shake? I have plenty in the kindling bin from our re-roof a couple years ago. Here's one that might work:
CedarShake.jpg


Roughed out the shape with my trustee X-Acto knife, and broke the blade right at the end! But, I'm not worried, 'cause I've got ... wait for it ... the World's Best Sandpaper:
CedarRoughCut.jpg


I hand sanded for about three minutes, then put some good stuff on my little orbital and went to town! Long story short, here's a test fit in the body:
CedarTestFit.jpg


I still haven't managed to match up that shape at the top! I may just cut another one of these in a few days. I gave this little hatch cover a coat of poly and set about thinking about the copper foil ...
 

Mark-00255

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While hunting through the junk stuff I found this nifty sheet of foil backed paper from an old tape recorder:
FoilPaper.jpg


There's just enough to cut two of the inner rout shapes - one for the bottom of the rout, and one for the back of the new hatch cover:
FoilPaperBack.jpg


The alert amongst you - or those of you smarter than me anyways - will note that if these two pieces are going to mirror each other, I gotta cut one the other way. I did realize that before cutting ... thankfully, Here's a test fit in the rout:
FoilPaperTestFit.jpg


This challenge has given me a whole new outlook on building - why just run off to the store to buy something when found materials might be just as good, or better, and you get the satisfaction of puzzling through a problem and finding a solution!

An hour and a half until assembly!
 

Mark-00255

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Excellent point about Brian May's guitar, Keith!

Well, it's 1:00 AM Pacific Time. I got 9 hours until deadline. Guitar's mostly done - it twangs! Still some details like the shielding and strap buttons. And the bridge is off to the high E side just a little - despite measuring twice! Guess that's what happens when you set a bridge at 11:30 PM or whatever it was. Here's one shot - lousy flash! I have many pics of the build up itself that I'll post tomorrow. I'll get up early and tweak the bridge, do the other details and shoot a video!
FirstShotAssembled.jpg
 

Mark-00255

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Final Assembly Details

Thanks John! I think so too, but I'm biased!

Couldn't sleep more than a few hours, so here's my chronicle of last night's adventure. I managed to catch a few assembly details before I got too tired to keep track and take pics! I started with laying out where the knobs ought to go, aided by my rout template. I put the knobs where I wanted first, and then laid the templates over to make sure they would be okay in the rout hole:
LayoutKnobs.jpg


I drilled some small pilot holes first, then got out the 3/8 wood bore bit – yikes!
DrillPotHoles.jpg


Worked well, though:
PotHolesDone.jpg


I had to hog out a little from the floor of the rout with a 1-inch Forstner so’s the pots would stick through enough, and then in they go:
PotsInPlace.jpg
 

Mark-00255

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Next, I mounted the pickup. Started by eyeballing how I wanted the pickup lined up in the exposed rout hole – then I drilled in place (there may be a safer way to do this):
DrillPickupMount.jpg


Then I grabbed some little sections of weather stripping self-stick foam for cushion under the pickup:
PickupFoam.jpg


And assembled my screws and surgical/steelhead tubing:
PickupScrewsAndRubber.jpg


Then in goes the pickup – Nice and neat:
PickupDone.jpg
 

Mark-00255

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At this point it was pretty late, and the shots got few and far between – sorry! I screwed on the neck (had to re-drill two neck holes that weren’t deep enough!), double-checked the bridge and drilled those mount holes. Then before mounting the bridge, figured I’d better tin the bridge ground – wired stripped and ready:
TinningBridgeGround.jpg

Done – you can also see in this pic that I hogged out the tops of the string through holes a little to line up well with the bridge holes:
BridgeGroundDone.jpg


Finally, I soldered up the pickups wires – everything else was pre-soldered.
FinalSoldering.jpg


Somewhere in there I drilled and mounted the electrosocket - had to re-set and rotate it once in the hole when the lugs wouldn't quite clear out of the plugs way. Then I checked the circuit with a multi-meter – everything was working! So on went the 11s! I fiddled with string height on the saddles quite a bit, then plugged in my Zoom processor and amp, and tuned it up! It worked first try!

So now I’m up and I’ll do the final stuff and report in a couple hours.
 
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