Newb Scratch Esquire Build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Mr. Freddy, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. Mr. Freddy

    Mr. Freddy TDPRI Member

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    OK so let me start out with a disclaimer: This is a post of mistakes and my only goal as of this moment is to make a working instrument. I have a few years experience with instrument making and woodworking, but most of my experience is in framing out new rooms. I am planning on making a rosewood tele and wanted to try everything out (templates and technique) on stuff I had in the shop before digging into expensive wood.

    So I have decided to build an Esquire (made a parts esquire for a friend a few years ago and came out great) from scratch. For the body I have salvaged my grandfather's old rolltop desktop. Good way to keep his memory around and it is free. I have a nice flame maple neck blank I was saving for a Selmer style but built that neck out of walnut and it has sat in the pile for a few years. I plan on painting it blue with a white competition stripe and matching headstock.

    Now, I am mistake prone, mostly due to impatience, and I am hoping that my mistakes are a help to anyone who is just starting out on a solidbody like myself. So, other new builders feel free to take my foulups into consideration, and the more seasoned artists I have been following here may feel free to shake their heads in amusement and/or dread.

    Enjoy! -Mark
     
  2. Mr. Freddy

    Mr. Freddy TDPRI Member

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    Body Blank

    I prepared the body blank from an old 80's desktop. I should start by saying after sanding off the old finish and being covered in the fine dust, any skin that was exposed bubbled up into an awesome rash. My forehead looked like a neanderthal's and my right eye almost closed up. On steroids and the problem is almost all gone. Lesson #1: my body does not like the fine dust of the 80's anywhere near my skin...

    So it is some cheap hardwood, many sections glued together. I hand planed them down and in between sandwiched two 1/8" thick pieces of joined maple. This was to provide the proper thickness as well as rigidity.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 31, 2011
  3. Mr. Freddy

    Mr. Freddy TDPRI Member

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    Routing Body and Electronics Cavities

    After preparing the blank, using the finest of wood putties to fill the occasional nail holes, I rough cut the blank on my scroll saw (handles the thickness surprisingly well with a hook tooth blade). I then attach my body template (thanks to Terry Downs!) with double stick tape and proceed to route the outline and electronics cavities.
     

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  4. Mr. Freddy

    Mr. Freddy TDPRI Member

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    Tragedy #1

    The real shame is I started the route KNOWING I should pick up a new bit. I have two 1" flush pattern bits, one with a top bearing and one bottom. The bottom bearing bit is very very old and worn and had given poor performance and some burning and tearout last time I used it. I proceeded anyway, burning the side and doing some damage to the sides and my template. The bottom tore right out and then dug in, and there are a few spots where it sunk in a bit in other spots.

    I turned over the body and switched to my new top-bearing bit, which cut like butter and made me feel even more ashamed of myself. Should have waited until morning to get a new bit. Figured it would be easier to fix a symmetrical mistake which is why I continued.

    Impatience has always been my biggest enemy with this kind of thing, and even though I knew what would probably go wrong I went ahead. Valuable lesson, will wait next time. Now to fix the damage...
     

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  5. Mr. Freddy

    Mr. Freddy TDPRI Member

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    Damage Control Part I

    I should mention I cleaned up most of the burn marks with a spindle sander, half the sides were charred from the dull bit. That is why the above pic is such a clean wound..

    Given the structural importance of the section I destroyed, I need a solid repair. The lazy part of me wanted to stuff it with putty, but that is of course unacceptable and would probably have led to several tdpri members tracking my IP and smothering me in my sleep for the insult to honest woodworkers. And who could blame you?

    So in the interest of self preservation I decided to plane the damage flat and glue down some of the leftover body stock. When the glue dries I will cut and sand to the proper line, and when it gets painted it will be our secret.

    There is one spot where the bit sunk in a bit on the horn as well. For this I will spindle sand it uniform with a 3/4" sleeve and use a dowel to fill the damage.
     

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  6. Mr. Freddy

    Mr. Freddy TDPRI Member

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    Maybe it'll all work out...

    On the plus side, the bridge and control plate fit wonderfully! They are just old leftovers from a MIM I had years ago. Bridge isn't even a string through, but again the point is to get something functional and looking decent so I can feel more seasoned when I am attacking half a car payment's worth of rosewood.

    If this comes out at all ok then I will give it a proper string through body bridge and maybe a 50's reissue bakelite bobbin pickup. And the ashtray of course.

    But don't want to get ahead of myself...

    More to come tomorrow, remember to temper your ridicule with words of encouragement.

    -Mark
     

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  7. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    You're making excellent progress, and learning how to correct your mistakes. Good lessons learned.
     
  8. adamkavanagh

    adamkavanagh Tele-Holic

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    Dont let the mistakes discourage you! Your next build will be even more perfect with all of the knowledge you are gaining from this build!
     
  9. blindsagacity

    blindsagacity TDPRI Member

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    Correct me if I am wrong, but is your grain running perpendicular to the strings?
     
  10. Mr. Freddy

    Mr. Freddy TDPRI Member

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    Oh yes, it certainly is, which is not as good for strength in theory but I am not too worried about it for a few reasons. I have put together several selmer style acoustics which are just really tightbond veneers in a few thin layers, and they hold the tension of acoustic heavy gauge strings without issue, so the glue bond and thickness should do fine in any case. I also ran the grain of the maple in the middle section perpendicular to the top and bottom pieces to give it some counter. AND 5 years back I assembled an electric "garbage guitar" from stuff people had thrown away, including a body made from a low grade particle board school desk (not even with glue, all wood screws) and it has held to a perfect setup this whole time to my surprise!

    Also there wasn't enough wood to make it work with the grain running the other way, so just making do with what I have.

    -Mark
     
  11. Mr. Freddy

    Mr. Freddy TDPRI Member

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    Moving on..

    So I routed the new wood patch and the spot by the horn, did ok but there will always be imperfections to remind me. I don't mind, this guitar is going to look awesome! Decided to go blue with some white racing stripes. It will have a white pickguard as well. I didn't route the neck pickup cavity to compensate a bit for the low quality wood, figured some extra strength down the middle would be a good thing.
     

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  12. Mr. Freddy

    Mr. Freddy TDPRI Member

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    Moving Along

    Had a walnut board just the size for the neck, and it is starting to look like a guitar.
     

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