Have started building a kit this last weekend. This is an "ash" body telecaster kit ordered from Amazon Canada. If there's interest I can give more details on the specific kit and a more in-depth review, so far it seems like good value for money though it's not without issues. "Ash" body (looks like ash, 2 piece) Maple neck and fretboard. What I did this weekend is sand (and sand and sand and sand) by hand (with a block). I initially started with 150, but that seemed to be too fine so switched to 100 (maybe should have gone coarser), then 150, then 220. I was able to get the top and bottom nice and smooth with no scratches. The sides though were pretty tough and there's still a few scratches, especially in the deeper cuts near the neck pocket that after spending hours on I sort of gave up on ever removing completely. As you can see the bottom has some dark spots which I was also unable to remove with sanding, that might just be the wood. Then I used Keda Dyes to stain the top. I started with black/water. Sanded back with 220 while still leaving a fair bit of black. Then applied blue/rubbing alcohol. Then black around the edge trying to get a bursty effect. Blended that in with some blue. A few more touches and this is what I got. When it's wet it looks a lot darker which is possibly what this will end up looking like. Another achievement I'm proud of is that I drilled through-holes for the strings. I figure a Tele just needs those and the body didn't come with them (the bridge supports either through or top loading). As the body wouldn't fit deep enough in my drill press I ended up drilling a wooden template, then using that template to hand drill the body, go all the way through on the E's and then use the template on the other side to still the remaining 4 holes half way. The holes on the back look pretty much perfect to my eyes (hey, it's my baby ). No ferrules yet, they're on order. I'm thinking of leaving the back and sides natural, the back has very nice grain patterns, the sides are sort of meh but I hope it ends up looking ok with the right finish. So the plan is now to use UV curable grain filler on the whole body. And later gloss wipe-on poly to finish. Some concerns/questions: - I'm a little worried I might have touched the wood too many times with my bare hands and left some oily residues. The grain filler is supposed to not care about oil. Should I clean the whole thing with naphtha before applying it? Would that potentially damage my top? - The neck is a paddle shaped maple/maple neck that has a finish on it. I'd really like to cut a proper Tele headstock shape (or something similar) but I don't have a bandsaw or a rotary sander which seem to be the right tools for the job. I have a jigsaw though. I'm a little worried I'm going to a) ruin the neck ... b) not be able to match the existing finish if I start cutting/messing with it. I also have this idea of putting an inlay in it (and similar concerns). - I was wondering if it'd be worthwhile upgrading some of the components, so far I sprung for a bone nut, I'm probably going to use all the existing bits first and see where that gets me, also wouldn't want to spend money on more parts before I know I can actually finish this project... I've taken some videos of me doing some of this work... maybe one day I'll be a YouTube star Any other random unsolicited tips welcome.