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I finally committed....new build

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Tom S, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. Tom S

    Tom S Friend of Leo's

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    Part II:

    Results are very good, if I do say so myself!

    [​IMG]

    Getting those contours at the headstock right takes patience and a little finesse.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a shot before final sanding:

    [​IMG]

    I have to say that making the neck is a lot of work. But this part, the shaping, is very rewarding. It really feels as though you are bringing something to life. The feel of that neck is just fantastic.

    So next, I need to make a final decision about whether or not I'm going to veneer the front of the headstock, and what, if any, inlay work is going to be done on it. Then, the fretboard needs to be made. I got the potential boards ready today by planing them down to just over 1/4":

    [​IMG]

    That's a Stew-Mac rosewood board there as well. I'm hedging my bets just in case...

    I have a few fretboard ideas in mind, so I'm still not sure what I want to do with that, inlay-wise. I'm going to have to make up my mind soon. Like tomorrow?

    Thanks for looking!
     
  2. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Tom ............... You're the man! [​IMG]
     
  3. 0le FUZZY

    0le FUZZY Former Member

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    <li> I cee iss here thread still has five [​IMG] and it deserves even more.

    <li> This iss good stuff !!

    <li> Dew we haff tin starz Paul?[​IMG][​IMG]


    0le FUZZY
     
  4. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I can't believe what I am seeing. This is soooooooo neat.
     
  5. Tom S

    Tom S Friend of Leo's

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    Hey, thanks a lot, guys!

    Fuzzy, that's high praise coming from you. I realize this is probably amateur hour for you, so it's real nice of you! And Jack, I know you've been there, done that, too. Seeing your work was part of the reason I finally got off my ass. I appreciate the encouragement, and thank you too, Buckocaster!

    This is really getting interesting for me, I'm getting closer and closer to my first wholly made guitar. Still plenty of opportunity for me to screw it up, though! :lol: What to do with that fretboard...I keep getting too many ideas...maybe I should keep this first one simple. Nah. :lol:

    Btw, I did come up with a neat way to create a neck with interchangeable fretboards...another time, another thread.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2006
  6. Tom S

    Tom S Friend of Leo's

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    UPDATE 9/09 (for what it's worth):

    My birthday today, so I took it easy. Hey, I'm 49, not a young kid anymore. :lol:

    I got that headstock veneered:

    [​IMG]

    I used a double veneer because I wanted the accent line around the edge, so that the headstock would be consistent with the binding on the body. I did a flame maple veneer first, then a mahogany veneer over that. Then I chamfered the edge at about 45 degrees to reveal the maple. I don't think any flame will show and I'm not expecting it, but the effect is what I wanted, so I'm happy.

    [​IMG]

    It should pop a bit more when the finish goes on. I may still do some kind of inlay on the headstock.

    I did finally get started with the fretboard:

    [​IMG]

    I didn't make any cuts today, other than to square up the boards on the table saw and cut them to a workable width. On the fret-cutting miter saw (Stew-Mac), I just marked all the fret slots on the maple and the cocobolo boards, so I can figure out what I'm going to do inlay-wise. Man, that cocobolo looks good.

    I'm undecided whether or not to inlay now, or after I radius the board. In fact, I havent even made a final decision on what the inlay is going to be, exactly. Tomorrow....
     
  7. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    You know this already, but I am going to remind you...

    if you inlay first, and then radius the board, you MAY machine right through that inlay...depending upon its thickness

    You are becoming my hero
     
  8. RichardWitt

    RichardWitt Tele-Afflicted

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    This is Awesome Tom S! This is something I have been wanting to tackle myself for a few years and letting us come along for the ride is much appreciated! Keep up the excellent work!
     
  9. Tom S

    Tom S Friend of Leo's

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    Yep, I realize. :lol: It depends on how deep I go with the inlay. It might be safer if I radius first, for the reason you mention, but it might be a bit easier to do the inlays in a flat board. Hmmm....

    The other thing is that I had planned to do the radius after I glued up the board to the neck, and if I screw up the inlay at that point, I'm really screwed. What to do.....


    I'm glad you're enjoying this, Richard. My advice is to go for it! I thought about it for many years too. What do you have to lose but some wood and time? (And some fingers, if you're not careful! :eek:) Seriously, do it.
     
  10. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Is that one of the Stew-Mac Dual Fret Scale Templates in your miter box picture? I have the miter box and saw and have been contemplating whether to buy the template............... probably should ........... what's another $40 at this point.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2006
  11. Tom S

    Tom S Friend of Leo's

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    Jack, that's the template under the maple, yes. It works like a charm, it couldn't be simple to cut the slots exactly where you need them. No measuring needed. I'd recommend it.

    I had been really worried about this part of the process early on, but it turns out it's one of the simpler tasks, with this equipment.
     
  12. Tom S

    Tom S Friend of Leo's

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    UPDATE 9/10/06:

    Finally decided on the fretboard. It's going to be relatively simple. I cut the inlays today. They look petty good, but I may do the twelfth fret inlay again.

    Here's a shot with rough placement:

    [​IMG]

    Here's the twelfth fret:

    [​IMG]

    It's the same design and same flame maple/walnut to match the butt end of the body. The dots are flame maple.

    I also created another neck template from MDF today. I'm going to radius the boards, inlay, cut the fret slots, then shape the board with the template on the router table for an exact fit. That way, I can use the template to rout the binding. Yeah, I think I'm going to do that binding afterall. It'll be maple/mahogany/maple just like the body. If it works, that is. :lol: I'll have to re-radius to bring the binding to the right point. Then cut slots in the binding. Unless I come up with a better idea. We'll see.

    Then I'll attach it to the neck and install the frets. At least that's the plan at the moment. I'm going to do it all to the maple fretboard first to make sure it works out right. I'm doing some tests on the cocobolo to see how the finish will work on that wood. Tomorrow's another day.
     
  13. Tom S

    Tom S Friend of Leo's

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    UPDATE 9/11/o6:

    I thought I'd have a lot more to report today. I planned to radius the fretboards, do some inlay, and maybe cut the fret slots. I started sanding the fretboards at 10:30am to radius the two fretboards. 7 HOURS LATER...I finished the radius on both boards, but I still didn't even get to the finer grits! That's it! I got nothing else done.

    I am doing this by hand, using Stew-Mac's sanding blocks with stick-on sandpaper. The setup is very simple:

    [​IMG]

    A clamped fence, and the fretboard is stuck to the table with carpet tape. Here's the block I'm using:

    [​IMG]

    I started with 60 grit on the maple board, figuring this would be pretty quick work. Man, this is doing it the old-fashioned way, and the old fashioned way takes a LONG time. The cocobolo was worse, of course.

    To lessen the monotony, I started counting strokes when I started the cocobolo board. One stroke = 1 time forward and back.

    Pop quiz: How many strokes does it take to radius a cocobolo fretboard to 9.5", up to 100 grit sandpapaer? The answer: Over 4300 strokes.

    I am going to hurt tomorrow. Which is not good, since I'm seeing Jeff Beck in NYC tomorrow night. Where's that advil?
     
  14. ajmikula

    ajmikula TDPRI Member

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    But hey, think of the satisfaction when you're done!

    Pre-made necks, pfft.

    It looks awesome so far...almost makes me want to dive in...but I really don't have the time. Someday!
     
  15. Tom S

    Tom S Friend of Leo's

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    At the moment, I'm thinking about the rehab bills. :lol:

    Time is a definite factor. This is not something you do on a weekend, that's for sure. But if you can find the time, it's worth it. I hope you do.
     
  16. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Man, that's some great work! I had thought about starting to make necks right after I got the hang of making bodies. Now that I see how much work you're puting into it I'm thinking twice!

    Good job. Keep it up!
     
  17. Tom S

    Tom S Friend of Leo's

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    Aw, c'mon, once you're making the bodies, you've got to make the necks too! :lol:

    Seriously though, eryque, this is really taking some time. I never expected the radius work would take so long. I thought simple sanding would go a lot quicker that that!

    Necks are definitely a lot more involved than bodies. And the opportunity to ruin it is almost ever-present. At this point, the neck itself is essentially done, but the fretboard part is another whole project. At least it's separate; if I blow a fretboard I still have the neck. If you're building a one-piece maple board, you never run out of opportunities for complete disaster!

    You should give neck-building a try anyway. It's a great experience.

    For anyone who's interested, here's the to-do list (the bold stuff is done):

    NECK

    make template

    rout truss rod channel

    rough cut neck on bandsaw

    shape with template on router

    drill truss rod adjustment nut hole
    install truss rod

    bandsaw or sand headstock thickness
    shape back of neck

    plane fretboard
    cut fretboard to length and true sides

    create headstock veneer
    glue up veneer

    create neck inlays

    radius fretboard

    install inlay

    cut fret slots

    flush-rout fretboard with template

    rout for binding*
    cut binding strips*
    attach and glue binding laminate*
    re-radius edges*
    re-slot through binding"

    glue up fretboard

    install frets
    level and shape frets

    drill side marker holes
    install side markers

    shape nut
    install nut and file string channels

    enlarge top of tuner holes for fittings
    drill tuner screw holes
    drill heel attachment holes

    grain fill
    polyurethane

    install tuners/string tree

    *optional
     
  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    Here’s a recommendation to those that are uncertain as to your abilities. To do it correctly you are going to hafta plop down a nice wad of change for the correct tools, correct being the key word. So this might save you a few bux on tools you may only use once. I constantly get requests for neck templates. Here is why I don’t routinely make ‘em available.

    There are a few operations that you MUST be able to accomplish to have a neck you will really want and be able to play, that is shaping the back, doing a fret leveling and crowning, and making a nut.

    Therefore let me suggest that any contemplating this project buy an allparts TMO-FAT neck it’s about 160.00 and about 80 if you know someone. It’s half a baseball bat with a Tele headstock and a fret board.

    SO you reshape the back to a C, V or whatever profile you wind up with, then do the fret leveling and crowning, and make a nut. If you can accomplish those you know you will have completed Neck Making 101. This is kinda like reverse engineering, but you will learn fast if you want to go through all the other functions necessary to get the neck to a point you can do the above. Oh.. nice additional feature, you can use the neck, BEFORE you attack it, to make your own template. If you can’t do that, you are equally “Neck Making Challenged”.

    If you cannot do any of the above, you neck is going to be awful. Period. It really doesn’t matter how exotic the wood is, how beautiful the finish is, how spectacular the detailing is, if the frets and nut are funky and you simply cannot shape the necks profile, or you couldn’t do something like make a template from the Allparts neck, you are sunk long before you ever spend dollar one on tools.

    Of course you can buy all the tools, and start making necks. After a box full, things will start to fall together. My Dad taught me many years ago, personal experience charges the most expensive tuition of any learning institution.

    Ron Kirn
     
  19. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Deleted.
     
  20. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Is that all there is to it ................. What have I been waiting for...[​IMG]

    Ron.......... Good idea there with the AllParts TMO-FAT neck.
     
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