Fretwire Lefty Thinline Tele Build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Southpaw Tele, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve put together a few guitars, done some finishing work and wiring jobs, etc. I’ve always wanted to put together a 70s style Thinline Tele as lefty ones are rare. My wife got me a Fretwire kit for a Thinline for Father’s Day. I opened the first box and the body had a significant crack in the neck pocket with a chunk of wood handing by an almost literal thread (of fibrous mahogany). Back it went. Amazon replaced it immediately. I already started work on the neck. It comes with a paddle headstock shown here:
    [​IMG]
    Nothing fancy. Maple neck, nice fretwork for the cost, and nice and straight. Nut looks good, too. I printed out a Tele headstock onto paper and (after reversing it for my left handedness) drew the outline. I don’t have a bandsaw, so I used a jig saw and coping saw to cut outside the line.
    [​IMG]
    This is a rough cut before sanding. Especially that little nub near the bottom right.
    [​IMG]
    Here is the make shift drum sander I made to sand to the line on the headstock. Vice, cheap drill and sandpaper attachment. Worked surprisingly well. Oh, to keep it running so I could hold the neck with both hands, I tape the trigger down. It may have been the most low rent thing I have ever done in my garage.
    [​IMG]
    Okay, here it is after sanding and one coat of Tru Oil. Not an exact Tele shape and there are numerous tell tale signs it’s not a professional headstock job, but it’ll work.


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  2. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
    The body is a mahogany back with a maple top and white binding. You’ll notice a small chunk missing at the neck pocket, but it’s better than the first body and this can be remedied.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I’m really having a hard time deciding on a color scheme for this thing. Current ideas:
    1. Just grain fill and Tru Oil the thing.
    2. Gold top and dark mahogany back.
    3. Lake Placid Blue (front and back).
    4. Sonic Blue (again, front and back).
    5. That Aspen green Gretsch uses and I can’t seem to find.
    I’ll gladly take ideas from the TDPRI if anyone has any.
    [​IMG]
    Forgot to mention it came with a white pearloid pickguard. I’m not interested in swapping that out. Want to keep extra cost down as much as possible.


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  3. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
    Coat #6 of probably 12-15 coats of Tru Oil.


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  4. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
    I laid down a couple of coats of Birchwood Casey Sealer and filler and then applied Goodfilla Wood Filler to close the mahogany grain.
    [​IMG]


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  5. Danb541

    Danb541 Tele-Afflicted

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    Looks good!
    How about Mahogany back and lake placid blue top?
     
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  6. tvas22

    tvas22 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Looks great, I’d be tempted to lean into the second dip in the headstock more and make it a feature.
     
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  7. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Ohhh, I like that idea!


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  8. Cam-eleon76

    Cam-eleon76 TDPRI Member

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    I second the idea of the back natural with a solid color top; although maybe sonic blue instead?, just an idea.
    Lookin good!
     
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  9. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
    Okay, so I loooove sonic blue but it’s pretty hard to get right now so I went with light blue metallic from Duplicolor, which I used on a refinish a few years ago and loved. Kinda a poor man’s Lake Placid.


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  10. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    This will be the first time I’ve tried a solid top, natural back. It’s also the first time I’ve worked with binding. I need advice on how to proceed after sealing and grain filling is done. Should I mask off the back and spray the blue on the top first? [​IMG]
    Here it is after the grain filling and sealer. I went two coats sealer, grain fill and then another seal coat. I just need to seal the maple top and then I’m ready to finish.


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  11. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Mask the sides of the binding and the top of the guitar. Apply any stains you want to the back, then pore fill and sand level with the surface of the wood. Seal with a sealer compatible with your finish. Unmask the top but leave the masking on the binding (or remask it, use 1/4 inch pin striping tape from an auto paint store). Don't bother with masking the top (thin) edge of the binding. Mask the cavities and the f-hole. Do whatever prep you need for the top, shoot your top color. Pull the masking tape from the binding and scrape the edge with a box cutter blade - hold the blade at a slight angle and take the finish off right to the interface between plastic and wood. Shoot however many coats of whatever clear is compatible with your top and back finishes. Wet sand and buff as usual.

    The cardinal rule for new finishing is to practice on scrape of the same wood(s) using the same material(s)

    Edit to add, I think Duplicolor is an enamel based paint - it would not be my choice for a guitar. If that is the case I would sure suggest experimenting on scrap
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  12. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Awesome! Thank you! I need to get the pin striping tape today. I tried blue masking, but it’s a PITA to cut correctly. When shooting the top, should I mask the back?


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  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, mask the back while you do the top, then unmaske everything (except the cavities) while you shoot your clear. The clear will smooth out the transitions between the binding and the paint you have scraped. Please heed my cautions about Duplicolor - I have never used it so I don't know for sure and I see that they do have some acrylic lacquer listed on their web site. My only experience is with nitrocellulose lacquer, so you may have to do things somewhat differently.

    Here is a bound guitar getting the binding scraped. It was masked but some lacquer got under the masking tape, its easy to scrape that with the box cutter. The best masking tape is the green stuff - the parts guy will know.

    IMG_3372.JPG
     
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  14. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I used Duplicolor a few years ago on a build and it played well with nitrocellulose lacquer. It is an acrylic lacquer. I really appreciate the advice on the binding. So, I’ll end up with some clear coat on the binding?


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  15. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
    Last coat of sanding sealer is on. Just need to go get some pin striping tape and a few cans of nitro today.


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  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Clear coat right over the binding. I think that red guitar got two coats of vinyl sealer, six coats of the red and six of clear.
     
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  17. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
    I went to put the color coat on the top and the crappy can from O’Reilly’s splattered.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    It’s hard to see, but I have some orange peel going here. Should I add more color coats or will the nitro clear fix this? Or should I sand a little? It’s been a while since I’ve done a finish job! Frustrating!


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  18. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    My suggestion is to fix the orange peel after you have some clear on there...level with 600 or 800 and then continue to shoot clear to completion. I don't believe you can even things out with that particular kind of color treatment and trying to level it is going to change the color in places...it might even "suck mightily" if you hit that particular color coating for leveling.
     
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  19. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    With lacquer I apply three coats each day, about 30 minutes apart. I let that dry overnight and sand to 320 or 400. I want to get out every imperfection - orange peal, sags, dust. The goal is to level the surface before putting on the next three coats. Solvent lacquer melts in to previous coats, it becomes one big homogeneous film.

    After I am satisfied with the color coats I level sand to 320 or 400 and apply sets of clear lacquer - three at a time. Depending on how its building and the results I want there will be somewhere around 6 or more coats. My experience with rattle cans of nitrocellulose lacquer is that they went on thinner than I can apply with my gun, back when I was finishing with cans I might end up with 20 or so coats. I usually shoot one more very diluted (1:1 or less) coat of clear - it will flow out and make a very smooth final coat.

    The last step is to sand perfectly level and smooth, then buff. Depending on how good my flow coat was I will start sanding at 1000 or 1200 (remember that you don't want to put any sanding scratches back in the finish) and go to 2000, then buff.

    I want to be cautious once again - this is a solvent lacquer finishing schedule. I know what my lacquer is, I know how it drys, I know what to expect. I would not extrapolate that to automobile rattle cans from the local auto parts store. Your results may be entirely different.
     
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  20. Southpaw Tele

    Southpaw Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, I’m afraid of sanding a metallic paint because the metals bits need to be somewhat vertical to get that glistening look. I’m going to start throwing some clear on it today. If it doesn’t work, I can strip it off and start over. I’m in no rush to finish this project. Thanks!


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