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Discussion in '2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge' started by newtherapist, Mar 13, 2012.
Boots and all.
Congrats and good luck!
Thanks gitlover. Hoping for lots of the latter. You too.
Good luck! The experience is going to be awesome
Welcome! Good to see ya' & good luck!
Here we go. I've got:
- Purple heart neck blank
- Purple heart laminating strips
- Sapele mahogany body blank
- Pau Marfim laminating strips
- Two-piece african blackwood fingerboard (this stuff is worth its weight in gold)
- African blackwood for headstock veneer
- Tamboti slab for top
- A handful of small bits of Ming dynasty porcelain gathered on a beach near the wreck of the Sao Bento, which went down on the eastern Cape coast of South African in 1554
- Two zebra teeth found on the same beach
I'm piling right in.
Very cool materials! This will cool to see...
First, I split the headstock veneer, body blank and neck blank.
Then I jointed them for the big glue up.
Then did the big glue up
will that neck weight a metric ton?
Dude, I've never heard of most of the wood you just mentioned! This will be awesome! Good luck!
That looks great. Good luck with the build.
Thanks Alex. Might well weigh a ton. I'm needing a super strong neck, so figure I'd over-engineer at the outset and then turn it into a skinny C profile neck if the materials allow.
Sweet, love the wood selection
It’s not because they were short of names that the coast of the southern tip of Africa has for centuries been called the Cape of Storms. In 1554, the Portuguese ship named the Sao Bento joined hundreds of other hapless vessels when it ran aground on a rocky island just off Mkambati on this treacherous coast. Some 150 of the Sao Bento’s passengers drowned and 322 scrambled their way to shore. A day after they ran aground, the dazed adventurers made their first encounter with the generally friendly, but rather fearsome looking natives and decided to head north in search of more familiar, paler faces. Of the survivors, all but two set off for Mozambique, more than 500 km north of their landing spot. Only 31 made it to their final destination after suffering the formidable rigours of uncolonised Africa. Reports tell how some resorted to eating the leather of their sandals to compensate for their poorly developed hunting skills and the absence of boy scout traditions in their native Portugal.
But of greater interest is that only two survivors didn’t make the trek northward. They were a ship’s boy and a female slave, both of whom had broken legs.
So imagine, if you will, that said ship’s boy had a secret little soft spot for finely made musical instruments. A little rock ’n roll in his castaway soul. A fella with a belly for an ergonomic tele? Imagine, if you will, that the lucky couple won the hearts of the locals, mended their orthopaedic woes and cast about for something to put a little beat into the heart of Africa. In short, there are worse places to be shipwrecked if you like turning fine wood into fine instruments. Might this have been the humble origins of the Telecastaway. History, being what it is, will never tell us for sure, but it sure makes a good story.
What we do know is that the ship’s boy wasn’t as badly off as you might think. For there was an abundance of wood in dem woods. Endemic hardwoods number in the mid thousands in southern Africa alone. Plenty of them would make fine candidates for a spot on the guitar stand of history, although less than half of them are really known enough to say.
Perhaps the ship’s boy started with a slab of Sapele Mahogany, gathered further up on the ships journey down the coast of Africa and salvaged from the wreck. Maybe he found a couple of pieces of the exotic purple heart in the smashed residue of his abandoned vessel. And if he took his leisurely time in the abundant, generous grasslands of Africa, he might stumbled upon the odd twisted, small, but obviously old Dalbergia Melanoxyon (African Blackwood) tree in the savanna. Now one of the most rare and prized tonewoods in the guitar kingdom, the African Blackwood would not have been big, but would have more than made up for its small size in its exceptional beauty. Our ship’s boy would not have had to look far for a nice bit of top wood. Tamboti (Spirostachys Africana) is relatively abundant in these parts and well worth the effort of carving one up with the ship’s equipment. If he was observant, our aspirant African luthier would have noticed that the latex of the tamboti tree is used by locals as a fish poison, is applied to arrow-tips and is never used as fuel for fires because of the poisonous nature of its smoke. But if he took care not to inhale when sanding his top down with a block of sandstone, he’d have been rewarded with a truly beautiful top for his telecastaway.
And there’s no shortage of other decorative goodies on this rough coast. Shell abounds and, if you’re a little more adventurous, there’s the large quantity of ming dynasty porcelain that was dashed with the Sao Bento, but has been washing up on a little inlet a kilometer up the coast for the past 450 years. Pay it a visit now and, if you’re patient and methodical, you’ll find yourself enough shards of Ming porcelain for the inlays in at least one humble, 7-string, multiscale, baritone guitar neck.
The Lacey Act be damned. If porcelain’s not your thing, help yourself to a little Zebra tooth for exotic measure, even though you’d be hard pressed to produce a certificate of origin when the bureaucrats start poking around the telecastaway.
This should be good. Another themed guitar... with a backstory even
My better half was away for a few days, so full-time childcare kept me out of the workshop. But I got a few good hours in today.
Neck blank thicknessed to 19mm and truss rod routed.
Baritone neck template attached to blank and rough cut on bandsaw and routed to final size on router table.
Then sliced off the top section of the headstock on the bandsaw and cleaned it up with the finger planes and a few files to prepare it to receive the headstock veneer. Final thickness of headstock is 12mm pre veneer.
Then positioned body template on thickness sanded body blank and got ready to put it on diet.
Administered the diet with a drill press and a router.
Cut the body out on the bandsaw and routed to final size on router table.
Getting the top plate ready for action.
Had another look at the body. Its still well over 1kg, wouldn't mind getting a little more skinny, so expanded some of the rout cavities. Here's a quick mockup.
Am planning a little adventure with the binding on this build. Tired of the standard binding BWB purfling and solid wood binding. But I don't want to go too far away from it to lose the classic look of all-wood binding. First thing is to lay down the bottom layer of purfling around the side of the body before gluing the top plate on. This requires that I cut the arm bevel now, before the top is on. For this I use the amazing, magic arm bevel jig and a bandsaw.
Then I rout with a binding bit 1mm down and 2.5mm deep into the body to accommodate one strip of BWB purfling. I finish the job with a trusty three cherry's 3mm chisel where the binding bit and the devil feared to tread.