1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Gonna build a... no, maybe a.... dang... building something with strings!

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by John Nicholas, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,441
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    It takes me a while to build a guitar, so this one is all finished, but I thought someone might have a giggle or two following along with my story.

    In a way I'm jealous of you guys that know exactly what you want, plan everything out and go to it. Many times getting it done in a month or two. Dang dudes!!

    This guitar began nearly 2 years ago.... I found this 12 foot long pallet at work. Seemed to be ash with oak runners. The idea was to use it as "practice" and experiment.

    [​IMG]

    Using the jointer I straightened the wood a bit. Learned a bunch about how not to use a jointer! Then glued up two blanks.

    [​IMG]

    Then they were left for nearly a year if not longer... time gets fuzzy sometimes.

    These were leveled before they were left to sit. When I picked them up, they had warped quite a bit, so I leveled one to play with...

    This guy here...

    [​IMG]

    Originally the idea was to build another Strat style guitar... well just because...

    The trouble was after leveling the boards, the full width was less then 1 1/2 inches thick, in my mind too thin. So while wandering up and down the aisles of Home Depot I spotted a cool looking birds eye maple 6 inch wide board.

    [​IMG]

    So the idea was to make a maple cap for my ash guitar... after all it's something new to learn, right?

    After resawing the board with a homemade fence on my bandsaw with a 1/2 inch blade, the cap was pretty wavy gravy....

    By the way, at times I take tons of pictures and at other times I can't be bothered, so there's images missing for certain times, like here!

    I glued the boards on, let them dry, then leveled them, so the maple was nice and pretty. Got out my Strat template and discovered..... I had glued the maple on the wrong side of the blank!

    Now what am I going to do?

    Hey, I can build a Telecaster instead!

    Downloaded the plans, cut out the 1/4 inch template, made 3/4 inch templates... you know the drill.

    [​IMG]

    Then cut this out....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I didn't like the idea of the transition from one wood to the other, so it was time to learn a new skill, binding!

    Can I mention that Helmut from the forum is an amazing guy. He has helped me in so many ways, loaning me tools, offering advice, buying stuff together to split shipping charges. I can not thank him enough for all of his help! Thank you!

    When I looked at how much the binding bit was from Stew Mac I nearly had a heart attack.... of course our resourceful Helmut had some suggestions... buy two different sized router bits and switch the bearings. Tah Dah instant binding bit for low cost.

    During this time, I was also trying to figure out how to build necks.... well properly. I kind of made some mistakes along the way, but you will notice there is a Tele neck over on the left....

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately at least three of those necks are not usable, mainly because the fret slots are in the wrong places... :(

    Then I said to myself, self why don't you do something a little "different"... how about a Les Paul style pickup and control layout on your maple capped Telecaster> Yeah... that's the ticket!! :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So after a bunch a measuring, figuring a fudging... I had something like this...

    [​IMG]

    And did this on the back....

    [​IMG]

    Here is the pretty binding channel.

    [​IMG]

    Too be continued....:D
     
    Tonetele, Blue Bill, Rock-Ola and 3 others like this.
  2. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    Too many things to post...
    • You build faster than me. Much faster.
    • You found that figured maple board at Home Depot???? Michigan must be the last stop for distributors...I've never seen anything like that at a Home Depot near me.
    • I can't wait to see the binding. I hope its less fuss than the inlay work you learned last year!
    • You wear nicer shoes than me while you build.
    • I need to work someplace that gets heavier deliveries. Our pallets don't come with that much wood.
     
  3. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,854
    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Location:
    Kansas
    Right?? I was just thinking that! My home depot carries no hardwood. Only plywood boards, 2x4s etc.
     
  4. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    1,632
    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2016
    Location:
    Washington
    Nice build. Your builds go about like mine. I start with a definite idea and then follow the series of mistakes to somrthing entirely different. Eh...I'd rather be lucky than good any day. Look forward to seeing the rest.
     
  5. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,976
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    Northern California
    Very sweet looking Tele!
     
  6. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    2,633
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2011
    Location:
    Lynchburg Tennessee
    Great start!!
     
  7. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,441
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Not so sure about faster... sometimes it feels downright glacial!!

    Yes, that board was found at Home Depot. I suppose we are luckier then most that a few of the Home Depot's in the area carry maple boards (btw Lowes does too) but you have to dig through EVERY time you go. I though it was a Candid Camera episode when I found this board!!

    I have not found another even close in over a year of checking. Although I did find a slightly flamed maple board at Lowes last week that's perfect for fingerboards!

    Binding is waaaaay easier then inlays.... did I mention it's easier? The toughest part is making sure the binding channel is cut level and consistently all the way around.

    Don't build in those shoes... just remembered to take a picture of what I did the night before as I was heading out to work! ;)

    I work at a food distributor, we get tons of regular pallets, but every once in a while we get these giant ones. The one in the photo above carried a battery changing machine for our electric fork lift trucks. I asked the facility manager as soon as I spotted the pallet!

    Originally they were going to ship the old one back on the pallet, so it sat around for a few weeks before I was given permission to cut it up...

    The cool part is I've shown the process photos to some of the folks at work, so now they're all looking for good pallets for me! I just got a second huge one from the Crown fork lift guys!! :D
     
    HockeyPop98 likes this.
  8. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,441
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Thanks! I thought I was the only one... it's sort of like unwrapping a present, you never know what you're going to get until it's all unwrapped!

    Maybe that's not a good analogy....

    Thank you Barncaster!

    Thanks Old Rebel!
     
  9. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,441
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Since MM73 asked about the binding part, here is the bit I used to cut the channel in my (now old) Sears router table...

    [​IMG]

    Sorry.. this was a while ago and I con't remember the two bits I bought, but I'm pretty sure I got them at Home Depot.

    Here is my little practice piece of pine. The idea was to figure out how deep into the body the channel needed to be to fit the plastic binding. Tip_have the binding in hand before attempting this part! In hindsight I would have gotten a "wider" piece of binding.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So back to our build...

    In chatting with Helmut he mentioned grain filler and of course had some lying around, so he loaned it to me.

    Never did this before, but it reminded me of taping drywall (which is not my favorite thing to do!) and seemed to take forever... again in retrospect I would have taken a bit more time on filling the grain... or had my wife do it. If only I could talk her into it!! :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In the meantime, guitars need necks... right? So during time in between all the other stuff I somehow found some time here and there to build the neck.

    The fingerboard was found at the local hardware store by Hudsonduster in October (sadly he passed away in January) :(

    The board yielded four fingerboards and one was used on this guitar.

    First the board was slotted using my homemade jig. Then using a technique learned by watching one of Ben Crowe's (Crimson Guitars) on Youtube, I glued the fingerboard to the neck. His idea was to drill a hole the same size as the long plastic side dot material through the fret holes in two locations on the fingerboard. This worked great! I will be doing this on all my two piece necks in the future!

    If you look closely in the photo you can see the "registration" dot in the fret slot.

    [​IMG]

    Then I drilled some tuner holes, which are pretty darn straight for me!

    [​IMG]

    Back to the body... which was sanded back. One observation, don't sand the bindings!! It took a while ti "fix" them after sanding. :oops:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After I saw how nice my daughter's guitar came out using RIT dye mixed with denatured alcohol it was decided this would receive the same treatment. I just swabbed it on pretty thick... then took another clean rag soaked in DNA to take it back to a place that looked good. There were quite a few applications to get things looking right!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Somewhere during this process it looked just too brown, so I took even more off in the center of the top.

    So some yellow RIT dye was applied only to the very center of the body... again, a great deal of experimenting was involved to get it looking somewhat like I saw it in my head...

    Of course I didn't take any photos of this part either...

    But here it is with the dye finished and the first few coats of clear applied...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Since this entire guitar was just experimenting and attempting different techniques and ideas... a plug cutter was used to make the fret markers. A scrap of walnut was put to good use. The one problem? The plug cutter, even though it had 1/4 inch stamped on the side, made plugs a few thousands smaller then that. So some walnut dust was created and mixed with glue and filled the space between the marker and fingerboard.

    [​IMG]

    And the fit of the neck to the body was very good. Yeah!

    After the many coats of clear Re-Ranch lacquer, followed by lot's of wet sanding and hand polishing, the body started to look pretty good!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    There will be more to come.....
     
  10. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

    Posts:
    4,039
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    Tucson
    "Pal-let!, Pal-let!, Pal-let!, PAL-LET!"

    A man after my own heart! I loves me some Palletcasters! Great job!

    Rex
     
  11. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    Really nice looking guitar! I'm a big fan of dye. Dye really brings depth to a nicely grained wood.
    And thanks for the binding tips!

    Sorry to hear about Hudsonduster. He was a really nice guy. He had some kind things to say about my previous build. I realized he had not been posting for a while, but thought he probably just posted intermittently. A shame to lose good people; but that is life. Nobody can stay on this rock forever.

    Do you build two piece maple necks to keep the dual action truss rod?
     
  12. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

    Posts:
    4,039
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    Tucson
    BTW, since you decided on the LP-type layout after having already glued on the top, did you drill for your switch wiring by going through the jack hole and both pickup routs all the way to the upper bout switch cavity with one long drill bit pass? Or did you step your way through connecting each of the recesses with an angled hole? Any lessons learned on that job?

    Thanks,
    Rex

    P.S. one good solution to the cheap binding bit is a 1/2" flush trim bit with a 3/8" bearing substituted for the 1/2" bearing. Just a couple bucks for the bearing. This cuts a 1/16" binding channel which works for standard .06" thick binding. I include this just because you mentioned having forgotten the combo you used to make yours.
     
    I_build_my_own and jakaj like this.
  13. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,441
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    When I built this I was thinking about all of your pallet casters!!

    The new one has boards that are wide enough that it will yield 2 piece blanks! Of course it will need a cap of some sort. But the idea is to re-saw another board to glue on top so it's all the same wood... not sure how it will look, but hey it's free wood!
     
  14. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,441
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Thank you Mike!

    I'm liking dye more and more... just got some from Germany recently!! Should be interesting to try out.

    Yes, I was really sad to hear about Hudsonduster....

    I actually started building one piece necks. Trouble is the jig I made was specific to the router I used to have. Yup, the thing broke! The new router does not fit, so I'm in the process of building a new one based on the Bill Schmelta (sp) jig. Just picked up a dedicated router for this purpose, just need the time to finish the thing!

    The two piece necks are all right, but there's something about those one piece necks with the walnut stripe on the back! Plus you can build your own truss rods with some steel rod, helps me to feel manly! :cool:
     
  15. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,441
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Yes, I had to do some fancy drilling!! Drilled from the neck pickup cavity to the switch, then through the neck cavity through the neck pickup slot into the bridge pickup slot. Then another hole from the bridge pickup slot into the control cavity.

    The one big mistake? Using a 1/4 inch drill bit! It wasn't big enough to fish all the wires through... so I had to go back and re-drill everything with the 3/8 inch drill bit.

    Yes all of the holes were angled and carefully drilled so as not to have a hole coming out the back of the guitar body!! :eek:

    And of course had to drill a hole fro the bridge ground wire, which went from the bridge into the bridge pickup cavity. Then the wires were all fished around!

    The dumb part is last week I glued up a second body and didn't make any router cuts before clamping everything together! I suppose I'm a glutton for punishment. :(

    Yes, those router bit sizes sound just about correct... trouble is that part was done so long ago! Way before I cut the channel.

    Hopefully later I'll be able to finish up this saga. After work is my daughter's school concert...
     
  16. jakaj

    jakaj Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    162
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Location:
    Ljubljana, SI
    I love this color mixture. When you say RIT do you mean powder or liquid? Was this the "dark brown"? I apologize in advance, but I will try to steal this color combination, it is exactly what my mind's eye sees when I work on guitars!
     
  17. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,441
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    It looks so much better then I thought it would! Yes, this is the powder version of Dark Brown. I used a muslin cloth tea bag, which I put the powdered dye in, then stuck it in a jar with denatured alcohol, then wiped the "tea bag" on the body with the dye. It was quite dark brown when I finished. After letting it dry I wiped the dye using clear denatured alcohol. Later some light sanding before apply clear.

    Steal away! This is not something I created, got ideas from lots of people and did my own "take" on it. Good luck with your project!
     
    jakaj likes this.
  18. jakaj

    jakaj Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    162
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Location:
    Ljubljana, SI
    Thank you for the instructions! I will let you know what comes out :)
     
    John Nicholas likes this.
  19. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,441
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Location:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Somewhere along the line, I decided that this guitar was going to be a gift for my nephews college graduation. He is one of the fews of my nieces and nephews who is into music. So a build without a deadline became something to finish up quickly to get it done for the graduation party!

    Because of that there is even fewer photos then before! If that's even possible...

    Next up was the wiring... here I'm a complete newb, novice, dunce.... sure I can solder... but if I make one small mistake in following the wiring diagram, I'm lost.

    Let the soldering begin!

    First up was to wire up the switch. I used braided wire and needed three runs. In order to solder the braided grounds all to the one ground post, I got a little tricky and soldered a short piece of wire to the braided lines and soldered that to the ground lug.

    [​IMG]

    Did I mention the body was thinner then normal? And far thinner then a Les Paul by a large margin! I had ordered a Les Paul wiring kit from The Art of Tone on ebay. Their kits are high quality and reasonably priced. Well the Switchcraft switch was about an inch too long, so lucky (??) for me I had a cheapy short switch I picked up somewhere along the line.

    Did I also mention that when I routed the cavities, they weren't deep enough to put on the pot and switch nuts? So I had to take out the router and remove a little over 1/32 of an inch? I was sweating bullets!!

    [​IMG]

    You know that flat spot on the Telecaster body where the jack hole gets drilled?? Yeah... about that... If I drilled it there, the cable plug would not be able to go all the way into the jack, because it lined up perfectly with one of the pots!! This is the downside of winging it!! LOL

    You may be asking yourself, self, with all this stuff on the back, what does the front look like??

    Well sort of like this...

    [​IMG]

    So all excited like, I run the guitar into the house and plug it in... a great big hum!! Damn.... what do I do now?

    I wrote to Helmut asking for help... he offered a bunch of suggestions , all of which did not work. Now this is Thursday night and the guitar needs to be finished by Saturday at 11AM so we can drive the two hours to my brothers house for the graduation party!!

    So, Helmut finally says, just stop by the house tomorrow and we'll figure it out. This was the first time we met in person. Strangely he had met my wife quite a few times. (His house is down the street from where my wife works, which is about an hours drive from our house.)

    Helmut is very gracious and helpful, just a great guy. He checks some stuff out with a multi-meter and shows me how to use the multi-meter (I have one but have no idea how to use it... yup that lame when it comes to electronic stuff!)

    After a bunch of testing and trying different things, Helmut suggests we take the jack plate out to check for a cold solder or something. Here's where we find the issue...

    I reversed the wires on the jack! Yup that simple. But without Helmut's help it would not have been completed on time!

    Earlier in the week I was staying up late finishing the neck...

    [​IMG]

    Finally decided on a logo... which turned out to be one of my nephew's favorite part! Yup it's the same last name...

    So the frets were leveled, crowned and polished. A bone nut was installed. The tuners were put on along with the strings. And somewhere along the line a string tree was added. And of course some strap pins were installed.

    Since I was so busy there wasn't time to photo document these steps. So while I was taking a shower, my wife kindly took some photos of the completed guitar.

    By the way, I love the cream knobs!!

    [​IMG]

    That's Chloe, the killer dog in the background... she thought she made the guitar look better!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Nice flamey like fingerboard....

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see the "new" location of the input jack... not horrible, but it would have been so much better had it been place in the flat Telecaster spot.

    [​IMG]

    I had to maintain the whole cream theme throughout...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    One more post... hopefully to finish up.

    My nephews reaction, along with some of his guitar playing buddies... with video and everything!
     
  20. Bulldog87

    Bulldog87 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,725
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Location:
    Louisiana, USA
    that is a beautiful guitar! I've been wanting to built my next Tele! This gives me a serious inspiration for a finish! I'll have to look into something like this! Care to post more details of what you did?

    Beautiful!
     
    John Nicholas likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.