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First foray into building - church pew body

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by steeUK, Jan 19, 2021.

  1. steeUK

    steeUK TDPRI Member

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    Hi

    I've always wanted to build my own guitar, but until recently moving house have never had anywhere to do it, so lately I have been setting up my new garage to do so and seeing all the knowledge on this forum is giving me the confidence to give it a go. I've cheaply acquired an old church pew end for the body as I have limited experience with woodwork and expect to make plenty of mistakes first time round and don't want to do so on some expensive walnut or something!

    Thus far I've levelled it to 1 1/2 inches with a rudementary router sled (this was the thickness at the lowest point in the centre of the wood due to the channel that had been routed for the joint to the rest of the pew). I am trying to use the Tdowns plans but compensating for the thinner body, so am aware I will need to be careful with my selection of 3 way switch so I can do a shallower than normal route for the controls (seen a UK based site selling 28mm depth ones which should be ok) and I understand I'll need to take this into account for the screws when I am attaching the neck.

    I've cut out the shape leaving a fair bit extra as I'm using a jigsaw. There are some 1/2 in deep thin cracks in the wood, but as a) this is really just for practice and b) I've grown somewhat attached to this lump of wood (I think some sort of pine that stinks in a good way), I am going to proceed anyway. This is where I am up to thus far.

    I'm still undecided about buying a neck - the pragmatist in me thinks it would be the better option, but I am very much enjoying the building experience so far.

    Hardware-wise I am thinking a p90 neck and standard tele single coil bridge.
     

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  2. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is very cool! You're being fearless! Yeah, that looks like pine.

    You are not locked into a typical Telecaster-style 'knife' switch; you can use a short Switchcraft 3-way switch as used on the Les Paul. One like this:

    https://tubedepot.com/products/short-3-way-toggle-switch-nickel

    If you decide to use this type of switch, get a standard undrilled ("blank") Telecaster control plate and drill the three holes for volume, tone, and switch youself. Or make your own plate from any thin, rigid material like aluminum, brass, Bakelite, etc.

    If you don't already have a name in mind for the guitar, I nominate "Pepé Le Pew."
     
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  3. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Supposedly the first "teles" were 1-1/2" thick made from 2 pieces of pine. Some guys here put the switch in bodies sized that thick. Here are the specs for the standard switch.

    Switch - Fender®, Pickup Selector, Strat & Tele 3-Way | Amplified Parts


    Measuring a CRL 5 way I have here it specs out at about 1.26" from the top of the metal to the bottom of the phenolic plastic. The metal tabs are flexible.


    The cheapo import switches are about 1.188" deep.

    1PCS Chrome Loaded Switch Control Plate for Tele Style Guitar | eBay



    switch.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2021
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  4. steeUK

    steeUK TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, I am not really concerned with building it strictly as a traditional Tele so would be open to a LP type switch. I've even considered a rear route for the controls as I like the idea of the pattern in the wood grain being uncovered, which in my mind's eye looks like sound emanating from where the pickups will sit.
     
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  5. steeUK

    steeUK TDPRI Member

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    Thanks - that makes me feel better if I go down the standard switch route. I like the feel of it at 1 1/2 inches, so it's good to know I still have all options available!
     
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  6. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Personally I like an SG switch for shallow bodies. It's a right angle switch so DOES take some planning ;)

    Dave
     
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  7. epizootics

    epizootics Tele-Meister

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  8. steeUK

    steeUK TDPRI Member

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    I managed to get some time to route round the 1/2 in plywood template I made while the kids were busy with the snow we had this weekend. For a first time using a template cutter (2nd time using a router after the sled planing on this piece) I am not too disappointed but am glad I opted for this practice build to learn my lessons. Imperfections in the template became more pronounced on the actual body, so I can see the merit in getting a spindle sander to get the curves looking perfect. I think I will also build a router table before I try this on more pricey wood. I have a couple of small burn marks from hesitation or perhaps trying to take too much off and a tiny bit of tear out, but thankfully I think it would be removed due to its position as I want to do a to round-over. It weighs in at 5.4lbs currently which feels ok to me.
     

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  9. steeUK

    steeUK TDPRI Member

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    I'd been waiting for some additional router bits to arrive so hadn't had much progress, but they're here now so I can get moving again...

    The neck pocket I am really happy with as I roughly followed the method in the "let's make a body" thread here https://www.tdpri.com/threads/lets-make-a-body.1017362/page-2

    The p90 route I am less happy with. I tried something similar to the neck but my clamping was shoddy (rushing) and one of the pieces of ply I was using moved so I have a few extra mms than I wanted at the top. Still, it will just be cosmetic and this is why I am going cheap with materials on the first attempt.

    I was also gifted a long thin piece of maple by my father in law. We were discussing the build and he remembered he had some from an old worktop. Shame it was just the edge of the worktop - the rest was a thin vaneer over mdf. I don't have a jointer so used a pattern cutter in the router along a straight edge to get 2 pieces square and glued up which seems to have worked well. (still needs planing as the 2 pieces weren't exactly the same height). It is slightly narrower than standard by 1/16, but I compensated for this in the neck pocket thinking I can always enlarge if this doesn't pan out and I have to change necks. I have just enough maple left to add on about 8 inches either side at the headstock to cover the extra width needed up there.
     

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  10. steeUK

    steeUK TDPRI Member

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    I routed the bridge pickup cavity and did a roundover of 3/8ths which I like. Also did the control cavity on the rear, but it needs more work as the indent for the lid (not sure what the correct term is for that) did not turn out perfectly when I tried to free hand the semi circles on each end, so I am going to make a template perhaps using a forstner bit if I've got an appropriately sized one, then route it properly.

    Also, I'm thinking of making a pickup ring on the neck pickup out of some maple offcuts I have to cover the pig's ear I made of routing the cavity.

    Finally, as I am getting quite sucked into this hobby, I found a cheap 2nd hand copy of the Hiscock book on the Oxfam website which should be arriving soon (I like the idea of having a tangible source of information).
     

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  11. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Does the church know where their pew is? :twisted: Seriously, looking good!
     
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  12. steeUK

    steeUK TDPRI Member

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    Hope so! I got it from a non profit wood recycling place here in Bristol. I'm assuming they aren't in the habit of pilfering from places of worship

    I managed to sort out the recess around the control cavity. The switch just fits... I did the area below the switch deeper than the pots so it would fit below the (yet to be made) lid and I recon there's around 2-3mm of wood left below the switch.

    I don't have a drill press so have done the ferrule holes by hand. Slightly wonky but acceptable to me, especially since this is always going to have a rustic aesthetic - who would have thought drilling six holes perfectly in line would be so difficult.....
     

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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
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  13. Texas Special

    Texas Special Tele-Holic

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    How do you intend on finishing it?
     
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  14. steeUK

    steeUK TDPRI Member

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    Simply as possible really. I have some Liberon finishing oil left over that I used to use on the oak worktop I had at my previous house. I'll try that on some offcuts and see if it looks ok...
     
  15. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    this little dpdt switch has been going strong for near 10 yrs....:)


    are you going to call it Pepe?.... pepe le pew.... you never know the diet of the regular sitter on that wood...:lol:

    control plate-switch.jpg
     
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  16. steeUK

    steeUK TDPRI Member

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    It's currently a toss up between that, or based on its clerical origins, the Pastorcaster....
     
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  17. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I make all my guitar bodies out of recycled building wood... old and well seasoned usually, good for guitars..:)
     
  18. steeUK

    steeUK TDPRI Member

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    This piece of (I think) brass was on the pew originally. I didn't want to throw it away lest I thought of a use for it, and it occurred to me it would make for a jack plate. Still needs some filing/sanding and polishing. I think from what I've read it may be too brittle to bend, so I may try cutting a recess into the wood instead, just enough that there are no gaps.

    I'm not sure what it was originally. Maybe part of the top of an umbrella stand, or maybe just an ornate piece of metal....

    Also, this sort of thing seems to occur a lot when I try to make something myself but i spent more money getting a couple of files to make this than I would have getting a perfectly adequate jack plate that would have no doubt fit better
     

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