Cutting my first bodies. Please guide me, Tele Jedi.

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by rrobbone, Apr 13, 2015.

  1. rrobbone

    rrobbone Tele-Meister

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    I've finally had enough of lurking here and watching you guys have all the fun! I'm going to start building my own, with an eventual focus on making some new designs as well. I'm starting out with with a Tele, of course - but plan to cut my teeth on Strats and Jazzmasters as well. Fair warning: I do like to be a bit different, and I plan to have custom finishes on everything I make. I'd appreciate some feedback, I've seen you keep others on the right track for years now - I'm hoping you'll be kind enough to do the same for me.

    I have almost everything I need: router, drill press, band saw, jigsaw, planer, and various other power tools in my Dad's ol' woodshop. What I don't have is a planer jointer, and a spindle sander - two items I've seen put to good use here. I know that I can rig the drill press up with a drum to have a spindle sander until I can get a dedicated model. While keeping in mind that I'm on a budget, are there any links I can check out that show me how to fabricate the planer jointer from what I have? I'm pretty sure I can fabricate a jig if I can see how it's done. I haven't found anything yet that shows me how to get it done for a body blank. So that's the first question.

    Second, I found a place where I can source wood locally. I've decided to use alder to start with (though I'm open to suggestions), for a balance of nice wood and nice price. He only carries 2x6" planks, which would need to be turned into three piece bodies. That's fine for my first builds. This will cost roughly $56 per body blank, plus a $20 minimum for him to thickness plane the boards for me. Since I don't yet have a planer jointer, I was thinking about ordering the first blanks online. In looking around, it seems to me that for about the same (plus shipping), I can have some of the work I'm not equipped for done for me. What do you think about this option, and where is the best (bang for the buck) place for decent quality blanks?

    Thirdly, I have the tried and true T. Downs blueprints which I found here. Are there any Strat and Jazzmaster templates that are known to be sound? I'm just planning ahead, once I get going on these, I'm not sure I'll be stopping...

    Thanks in advance for any advice and guidance you take the time to give. I've seen that this is a helpful forum, and I'll try to return the favor by documenting progress here. In the meantime, here is an example of what I've been up to with guitars I already had:
     

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  2. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    I'm not nearly as skilled as many people here, but I've tried cutting with a router and I don't prefer it. Tear out is hard to avoid, and routers are great but dangerous tools--one slip and the results are very bad. I generally cut the outline on a band saw, then sand it on a drill press mounted sanding drum and hand sand to final shape.

    If I were doing production, making more than a one-off, I'd probably invest in a robust router table and router and build a lot of templates. Also if I was trying to be really exact and make a perfect copy of a specific prototype. I'm not arguing my method is better, just that in my relatively limited experience I've had better results with a bandsaw than a router.
     
  3. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Silver Supporter

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    http://www.gitarrebassbau.de/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6

    Invest in a Ridged Occ. Spindle sander.

    You can build a thickness sander from plans online. That could take the place of a planer if you can rip the wood to nearly the thickness you need, glue it up, and then sand it down.

    Most people build the popular router planer jig if they don't have a planer. Works fine...requires a bit more sanding sometimes.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=rou...E8emNvqYgcgJ&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAg&biw=1262&bih=481

    If you haven't read the challenge build threads...get busy...you'll see how people mess up and fix the mistakes.

    and building out of the box is OK... I thrive on it...:)


    Cutting and sanding to the line is also a way to minimize the all- too -familiar chipout on the perimeter of the body that many seem to be confronted with when they use a template for that operation.

    Ebay can be a good source of body wood and blanks.
     
  4. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    You don't necessarily need a jointer. You can find lots of videos using a router to joint an edge. Also, you said you have a planer so why pay the extra 20 bucks to have your lumber guy thickness it? Unless you mean a hand block plane. A few guys here on TDPRI use them to thickness their blanks. If this is your first one I'd practice on something a little less expensive like poplar or pine. I pay half that for alder.

    This video helped me a lot and shows for the most part what you want to do. He's a member here (fletch):
     
  5. GunsOfBrixton

    GunsOfBrixton Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice to see you here. I've followed some of your work over on agf. Good stuff.

    As noted above, poplar is a good choice for keeping the cost down on bodies. It is also a pleasure to work with. Cuts / routes nicely. Great platform for some of your finish treatments.

    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
     
  6. rrobbone

    rrobbone Tele-Meister

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    Already have the ROSS on the list of tools needed. I know it's value from the many build threads here.

    I have a thickness planer, and I have a very rudimentary router planer jig built that works decently - I just don't know how to go about routing edges of boards, truing them to join into blanks.

    The challenge builds are what has always kept me coming back here. They are always so much fun to read! I hope to throw my hat into the ring at some point, but first things first.

    I was hoping to avoid ebay, TBH - but it looks like I may have to consider treading that water. Ugh.
     
  7. rrobbone

    rrobbone Tele-Meister

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    I have a great router and table, and just ordered the first round of bits needed. I feel pretty comfortable with it. Templates are the next thing I'm gonna work on, right after getting the paper versions printed up and sourcing the MDF. Having trouble finding MDF that isn't the crappy shelf grade stuff, but I"m not quite out of places to look yet.
     
  8. rrobbone

    rrobbone Tele-Meister

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    I'll take a closer look for those vids, perhaps I didn't phrase my search terms well enough.

    I was thinking I'd have him plane the wood to 1.75" and save my planer some wear and tear... or am I making mountains out of mole hills and I really don't need to worry about that?

    Thanks for the link to that video - it's perfect!

    As for sources of wood - I wish I knew a cheaper place to get it. It didn't seem to add up that sourcing the raw wood would be equally expensive as getting assembled blanks online. He had alder (2x6") at $8.75 bd ft, basswood at $9.25, and mahogany at $19.50. I found out about one more place locally that I can check. I'll give them a call today. I wanted to build completely from scratch, but if there's no real price advantage I'll likely just find a good place to buy the blanks.

    Practicing on cheaper wood is a great idea. Now, how hard is that guy gonna gouge me for "cheaper" wood?
     
  9. rrobbone

    rrobbone Tele-Meister

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    Pretty much more of the same. Fabric finishes, more resin silliness. Whatever I can get away with. :D
     
  10. rrobbone

    rrobbone Tele-Meister

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    Just checked the pricing of that last lumber place:

    Superior Alder: $3.85 bd ft
    Basswood: $3.51
    Poplar: $2.53

    I know where I'm going when I get those templates worked out!
     
  11. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    Planing alder shouldn't be a lot of wear and tear on your planer.

    Buying a body blank is one way to go but there isn't anywhere near as much satisfaction in it. The first one yes but after that you'll be hooked and then the real fun begins.

    Those prices are way high.
     
  12. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    That's more like it. Do you have a Lowe's or Home Depot near you? That's where you buy the MDF. As a reminder, 1/4" for master templates and 3/4" for working templates.
     
  13. ItZaLLGooD

    ItZaLLGooD Tele-Holic

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    I use the MDF from Home Depot. It's messy to work with, wear a mask at the minimum. I'll seal it up with just about anything, left over spray paint, shellac.. whatever is around. The edges will really soak it up, but once it dries it's a little tougher.

    In fact I still have my original T-Downs/ E-Hawley body and neck templates. They are still good to go and they aren't sealed.
     
  14. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Ron Kirn, a fellow TDPRI'er, and builder par excellence, sells a line of very good pre-made Tele templates:

    [URL="http://www.ebay.com/itm/RON-KIRN-TELE-TEMPLATES-/171281870612"[/URL]
     
  15. rrobbone

    rrobbone Tele-Meister

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    I looked at Lowe's and they didn't have anything but the 1" shelf grade crap. I'm hoping to make a run to Home Depot later.

    Any advice on what to tell the print shop when I have the paper templates printed up?
     
  16. rrobbone

    rrobbone Tele-Meister

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    That guy is awesome! I've been reading his posts here for a while now, and his strat tutorial on his website is great! I've considered those templates, but decided that I want to try my own first. I'll buy his if I can't get mine right!
     
  17. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Yes, tell them full-size, no scaling. And bring an accurate rule to measure the print to make sure it's right.
     
  18. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I bought mine as an expedient so I'd have more time in a Challenge build, and have had no reason to use anything else for Tele builds since. Ron has also generously shared his building booklets that he used to sell, for free. Highly recommended reading.
     
  19. barbrainy

    barbrainy RIP

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    And here is where you can find them
     
  20. rrobbone

    rrobbone Tele-Meister

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    Bookmarked, and thank you!
     
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