Making a poplar thinline

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by RiversQC, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    When I built my first guitar 13 years ago I pucker up and bought a bunch of expensive tools - most of them from StewMac. I have just completed my 25th guitar and all of them except four barncasters were bound using that router bit set. I've done heads and bodies and pick guards and necks and its still going strong. Lets see, that works out to be about 3 and a half bucks per guitar.....

    The other thing that I broke down an bought is their floating router setup for doing non-flat topped guitars (which is everything but a tele). I tried several mickey mouse methods of holding the router at the correct angle, finally said the heck with this and bought the machine. Next guitar I build was a 335 and I was so happy I had that tool.

    I'll add that in my humble opinion, most tele's don't look right with binding unless you have used an absolutely stunning piece of wood on the top. For 99 percent a simple round over looks correct.
     
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  2. epizootics

    epizootics Tele-Meister

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    Damn, I didn't think of that possibility!

    OK, not trying to knock out the StewMac stuff, but over here in Europe it is not even something I can consider for the occasional 'one-off tool I really need'. I'm also on a very, very tight budget most of the time when I'm building for myself.

    Now, the one thing I try not to be cheap about is anything that spins faster than 5000 rpm in my shop - I kinda like my fingers - BUT. Since the amount of wood you're removing is so small when routing a binding channel, I found a budget-friendly option that works for me.

    I got a cheap router bits set just like this one -

    [​IMG]

    (got mine discounted at 7€ from the hardware store)

    The set needs to have a flush trim bit with the ball bearing at the bottom. You'll notice the ball bearing on this one is the biggest in the set. I just swapped it with the bearing on one of the roundover bits and...taaa-daaah. It creates a channel that's perfect for 0.06"-thick binding.

    Is it a flexible option? Not really. Some of the bearings are a bit smaller, but not by much. You only get two different depths. Is it the best cut you'll ever get? Well, if you don't use the bit for anything else and do climb cuts where you should, it doesn't perform badly at all. Does it replace the SM set? No again, but if you're not going to make complicated bindings all the time, it's a very decent option. I've bound four guitars with it so far, which works out at 1.75€ a pop.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Got some paint on today!

    Here it is on my rig, already primed. I used high build stuff, but still had a surprising amount of wood texture showing (chalk it up to poor finish sanding, I guess, but in future I'll use grain filler even on poplar). That said, it's actually not a bad effect.

    20190824_202301.jpg

    And here it is in its colour coat. I used Duplicolor Ford Wimbledon White (at @beerguy 's recommendation from his "Shark" build), which I'm really liking.

    20190824_202335.jpg

    I've started some Crystalac / Brite Tone finish through a HVLP gun (first time). Going on a bit thick so far but I think it'll be very useable after a few more coats and some leveling.
     
  4. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    That body is going to look great! You're going to find...as I just did...that getting the finish on the thang is just the first part of it. Working that finish after it cures is the "secret sauce". I've never taking finishing to the depths that I have for this guitar thing and I'm liking the results.
     
  5. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, Jim! Yours have turned out great. I've just got up the nerve (and time) to start on the spray gun rather than strictly spray cans. I hope it works! I've got some polishing compound ready provided I get a good base. :)
     
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  6. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    So close.

    I settled on a pickguard. I had a hard time settling on any of the standard shapes that would accommodate the thinline, so went with something novel as far as I know (though it's obvious enough that I'm sure someone else has done it before!). I cut down a regular pickguard along the same angle as the f-hole, and notched for the neck route, like so:

    20190902_230808.jpg

    20190902_230708.jpg

    I find the chrome neck humbucker kinda plain looking at the moment, but overall I think i like the guard not taking over the design. (You can also see the rosewood neck I'm going to use, from the same Solo guitar kit from which i will be using some other hardware. It's quite nice feeling.)

    Still so far to go, though. What you can see in the first picture is that I have been having trouble with my clear coats developing drips and runs. I'm using Crystalac/Brite Tone, which i can tell i *will* really like once I sort through some equipment and user issues. My HVLP setup has given some good but some overly wet coats. I have even tried a few fix coats with a brush. Sigh. I'd love to start over but there's not time, and I think i can achieve "good enough." Wish me luck.
     
  7. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I like what you did there. It's clean and functional and the cut parallel to the F-hole dresses it up a little over just cutting parallel to the centerline. Nice!
     
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  8. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, Jim! Yeah, I tried to carry a few elements over to the pickguard shape: the line parallel to the f-hole, and the 'round-off' (the curve where it turns away from the bridge to drop down) is traced from the control plate so that it has the same radius.

    I think what's nagging at me is that with the light colour scheme, the bridge, neck pickup and control plate are standing out like three islands. I will think through some options like a cream pickup ring, white humbucker, etc.... rummage through the parts drawer as I try a few last finish fixes :)
     
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  9. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Unless the cream pickup surround matches the color of the pickguard...I don't know that "I" would make that choice, but it's a very subjective thing. Experiment as much as you can and I'm sure you'll find what works for you.
     
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  10. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Okay okay, I'm done! Glad no one was timing me. :D

    20191019_110904.jpg
    20191019_110928.jpg
    20191019_110831.jpg
    20191019_110736.jpg
    20191019_110806.jpg

    I just went with the scheme that I had going, and I'm pretty happy with it. Not a perfect finish, but feels nice (and my spraying season is sadly done with the cool weather here). No surprises in the final assembly. It plays well. I'm going to enjoy it a while and then gift it. :cool:
     
  11. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    That looks outstanding!!!
     
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  12. brandonh

    brandonh Tele-Meister

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    I really like the nice, clean look of that. Great work!
     
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  13. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    Looking good Rivers! Great work. I like poplar as a tone wood. Around 2004, a great guy who used to post here made me two Tele bodies from poplar. I built a traditional one for myself and a left handed, dual bucker for my buddy. He played a right handed guitar flipped upside down, so even though it was a lefty, I had to set it up as a righty. Good stuff.
     
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  14. Mr_Q

    Mr_Q Tele-Meister

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    Very nice work!
    I'll be sanding and buffing my poplar body in the next few days.
     
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  15. Robert.II

    Robert.II Tele-Meister

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    I think it turned out very well, at first I wasn’t sure how the pickguard color would look with the color of the guitar but it looks good!

    So, you decided not to give it to your friend for their birthday after all? Sometimes it’s hard to part with something you made, I almost didn’t give my last tell to it’s intended recipient.
     
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  16. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Thanks! Yes, I was considering that maybe a black pickguard would work too, though I've always liked the olympic white with mint green with rosewood kinda look. I will hunt for something more mint than green for next time.

    As for the birthday thing? I totally blew the deadline. I tried! I gave this and a few other projects as much of a push as I could in the fading summer weather, but had to step back in the face of some frustrating finishing setback (lousy weather on the weekends, clear coat runs, etc). Just put tools down for a few weeks. I'll be giving it as a belated birthday present soon -- she won't mind, since she doesn't really know this was the plan anyway :)
     
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  17. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Hi. Looks like you glued two pieces together for the body. What kind of glue did you use? I'm getting ready to make a solid Tele body. I have a slab of Poplar wide enough for a one-piece body. I've had it for six years. I was going to use it for a one-piece body but I've noticed that it has developed a slight cup. So my plan now is to cut it down the middle and make a two-piece body. But I'm not sure what kind of glue to use. Thanks. Jim
     
  18. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Titebond I
     
  19. RiversQC

    RiversQC Tele-Meister

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    Hi Jim, like crazydave says, I've used Titebond 1 (original).

    Another idea for your one-piece body blank, without cutting it into two, is to build a router sled (assuming you have a hand-held router for cavities, etc). I built one out of MDF (see post #12) and it was both easy and cheap. I'd be glad to expand on the plans I used, but you can size it to accommodate a full size body -- I've done just that for thinning and squaring a one-piece poplar body blank to size. Don't hesitate to ask.

    Good luck with the project!
     
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  20. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Thanks, Dave.
     
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