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.

Scratch Tele Build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by MM73, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    A Jedi Builds Their Own

    Yesterday was fret leveling day :lol:

    I had looked forward to this day, until I started grinding frets, and grinding frets, and grinding frets.

    I followed a couple tutorials on fret leveling, one by Ron Kirn, and another by Liutaio Mottola.

    Both are great reads if you are interested in doing work best left to professionals.

    I had let my neck sit a couple days after the last application of tru-oil. I then masked the fingerboard with regular masking tape.

    A Jedi Builds His Own 20Dec2015.jpg

    Its been a while since I have completed a task of which I felt qualified to perform. Applying masking tape that is. I got to do this in the comfort of my living room while watching Return of the Jedi :D

    Next, I adjusted the truss rod to level the frets as much as possible.
    I used my sanding beam (Fretguru 16" sanding beam) and feeler gauges (OEM tools 25025 26 blade) to check for gaps.
    The neck has been very stable, so I've never needed to snug up the adjuster nut till now. I turned the nut in 1/4 turn increments about 1 1/2 turns to get the frets within 0.008" of level. The 0.008" feeler gauge could just get above frets 5 - 8.

    Truss Rod Adjust 20Dec2015.jpg

    I looked to adjust the truss rod a bit more, but resistance went way up, so I quit turning.

    Here is my setup for leveling.

    Leveling Setup 20Dec2015.jpg

    The Ron Kirn tutorial had an excellent recommendation to find scrap granite or Corian to use as a leveling beam. I'm deeply embarrassed that I didn't even try to find a counter shop. With the Christmas season upon me, it was far too easy to purchase a beam from Amazon and hide it within the orders for ninja turtle gear.
    It has candy blue powdercoat too.
    And it came with a couple strips of paper (100, 240, & 320 grit).
    And it helps with my self esteem.

    ...and the black plastic end caps sat proud of the ground surface and really caused some confusion while I was leveling. I had to pry them out with a screwdriver and discard.
    Me: 0 points Mr. Kirn: 1 point (if we started keeping score at this exact moment)

    I marked the top of the frets with a black sharpie and got after it.
    This is after grinding a bit with the 240 grit paper.

    Fret Leveling 20Dec2015.jpg

    I lost my nerve for this task early on. The 1st and 2nd frets were the highest, and I ground them a fair amount to get the gap to 0.004" at the 7th and 8th fret.

    I'm glad I used a tall 6150 fret wire from Warmoth.
    I feared I would sand a lot on my first neck build...and I was right. If my math is right, I only ground it down 0.004", but it sure seemed like I lopped off a lot of material.

    I cleaned up the debris with a shop vac and have the frets about 80% re-crowned.

    I decided to call it a night.
    I may revisit the frets with the sanding beam to get it closer to level. I'm unsure if there is a limit to how low a fret can be ground.
    Can it get too close to the fingerboard???

    I will search for this answer today, and get back at it tonight or tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2015
  2. GerryB

    GerryB TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    50
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Somerset, NJ
    Aren't those truss rod holes a pain to get right!? Glad to see you've got the process down...clean work!
     

    Attached Files:

  3. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    I'm happy to have a process!
    Its mostly hope and prayer, tho...the process has room for improvement!
     
  4. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    Checking Fret Height

    I measured the 1st fret this morning. Although it looks like I took a boat load of material off of it, its still measuring 0.040" tall. I took it down about 0.007"...better that I take measurements instead of relying on my bad math.

    So, I'll sand 'em down a bit more tonight.

    After sanding a bit more, I think I'll get them to level, and all the frets should fall between 0.035" amd 0.045" tall.
     
  5. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    Merry Christmas

    Is anyone else's Christmas starting this way?

    image.jpg

    Ok, the pic is staged just a bit, but I really am sitting in the kitchen filing frets and waiting for the family to wake up.

    Merry Christmas Everyone!
     
  6. Captain Nutslot

    Captain Nutslot Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,348
    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    :D nice

    Merry Xmas
     
  7. moose13

    moose13 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    527
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2015
    Location:
    USA
    Its coming along nicely!
     
  8. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,547
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Were you singing I'll Be Filing Frets For Christmas while you were doing it???
     
  9. nofrets

    nofrets Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    209
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Location:
    West Virginia
    So I just found this (and the companion thread in FF) today and read them both in a couple of sittings. What a great build - your attention to detail and focus on process gave away your profession several pages before you admitted to working in engineering! Really enjoying your sense of humor and the level of detail in your narrative, and the easter eggs left behind for future first-timers.

    All that said, this guitar is gonna be great - it's impossible to make something with this much time and dedication and have it not end up being very, very special. Happy holidays to you and yours, and I'm looking forward to the next installment.

    Patrick
     
  10. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    ...the build has become an obsession.
    ...better than crack or heroine, but drugs are probably cheaper.


    Thanks! Its so close, and I have some time off between Christmas and New Years. I was hoping to play it in 2015, but I think it'll be done in the next couple weeks. :lol:

    Nice!

    Thanks Patrick. I hope the thread encourages someone else to try a build...or provides cringe-worthy entertainment to the resident experts.

    I enjoy the focus on details...what my wife would politely call obsessive compulsive. :oops:

    I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays with family and friends, and perhaps a bit of extra time creating!
     
  11. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    Fret-mania

    I've had some bonus time over the holidays, and need to post updates before I get ahead of myself.

    ...not sure what I obsess about more, my guitar or my build thread?
    One feeds the other, and visa versa.

    I continued with the leveling. Tried to get it dead flat. Came close.

    I've never spoken with Mr. Kirn, but his voice is in my head.
    He keeps telling me "You should have got yer-self some scrap Corian. Its flatter than Florida road kill".

    My leveling beam is only 16" long, so can't lay across all of the frets. Since fret number 1 was the tallest, the beam would come off the last several frets while sanding.
    As such, I sensed my leveling work started to become a case of a dog chasing its tale. I'd work the top half, then have to rework the bottom half, then rework the top half, and so on and so on and so on.

    I quit when fret #1 was ground to 0.032".

    Fret Leveling 24Dec2015.jpg

    I don't see fret wire much thinner than this, so didn't want to get into territory that was going to cause problems with playing.

    Measured gap?
    0.004" at the 8th fret
    0.0025" at fret 6 and 7
    less than 0.0015" for the rest

    Besides fret numero uno, the rest are all about 0.040 - 0.051" tall.
    Strange, since Warmoth 6150 is advertised as 0.047" tall to start with.

    Probably better than any other neck sitting on one of my beginner guitars.
    Moved on to crowning.

    I filed until I had that thin line on top of each of the frets. I used the Stewmac double edge fret file, PN 4491. The wide side.

    Fret Crowning 26Dec2015.jpg

    After crowning, I really started to tire a bit of filing.

    My punishment was not yet complete, tho. I had to dress the ends of each of those little punks.
    Didn't like filing the ends much at the start, half way point, or near the end.

    Fret End Dressing 27Dec2015.jpg

    I filed away with Stewmac fret end dressing file, PN 1175.

    When I was done, I cleaned up the ends with 0000 steel wool.
    Then polished it up with some metal polish.
    The polish was some old stuff...been sitting in the garage since I last owned a car with real chrome worth polishing.
    Probably didn't do a thing for the frets.

    You'll see finished fret pics with the finished product.
    Hand selected pics of course.
     
  12. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    Tuner Install

    Hardware install?
    I feel like I've made the playoffs.

    This is what I have.
    Gotoh Locking Vintage Oval Knob 6-In-Line Tuners, nickel SD510MG.
    I spent a good chunk of time trying to figure out where I left these things.
    Stuff disappears when you span the four seasons with a build.

    Machine Heads 28Dec2015.jpg

    The kit comes with a bushing press out tool. I used it to press mine in with my drill press.

    Bushing Press-In 28Dec2015.jpg

    Perhaps the tool is supposed to be used for install? As with most parts and tools I order, directions are vague...if they even exist at all.
    I should have taken this as a warning. If directions for use don't come with the part or tool, knowledge of its use is assumed.
    Since I started this build with vague awareness of the existence of truss rods, red flags should have been popping up left and right.

    Suppose that I build like I drive...minimal awareness.

    Bushings in.

    Bushings Installed 28Dec2015.jpg

    Bushings were snug. I certainly couldn't press them in by hand, but needed minimal force on the press to seat them.

    The holes were drilled to 11/32", with probably a fair amount of tru-oil built up near the surface.
     
  13. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    Tuner Install continued

    Setup for installing the tuners was easy, even for me.

    I placed each of the tuners, and aligned them with a steel rule from my combo square.

    Tuner Alignment 28Dec2015.jpg

    Then, marked and center punched each hole location.

    Screw Hole Locate and Center Punch 28Dec2015.jpg

    My pilot hole chart shows a #2 screw in hardwood gets drilled with a 1/16" straight bit.

    I didn't like this, cause my drill press won't hold a 1/16" bit. I picked up an adapter a while back, but the runout was horrendous.
    So, I opted to drill by hand.

    If I recall, the screws were 3/8" long. So, I taped the depth on the bit at 7/16".

    Tuner Pilot Hole Setup 28Dec2015.jpg

    I lined it up as best I could, and drilled away.

    Tuner Screw Pilot Holes 28Dec2015.jpg

    Pretty straight forward thus far.
    I had to spread out this item, cause I learned that tuner screws can ruin your day in a big way.
     
  14. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    Tuner Screws - Little Devils

    Fortunately, while Googling tuner install, I found a lot of threads on broken tuner screws.

    Apparently, it doesn't take much effort to snap a #2 screw head off when driving it into hard maple.

    The thought of snapping one of those little buggers in my headstock was horrifying.

    Hello wax.

    Waxed Tuner Screws 28Dec2015.jpg

    Before installing the screws, I wiped each one with a bit of car wax.

    Even with wax, about half of my screws got bound up to the point I was afraid to force it.

    Finicky Screws 28Dec2015.jpg

    For each finicky screw, I backed it out, and ran the drill into it to open it up/clean it up slightly. I did this until each screw ran in with what I'd consider mild effort for a #2 screw.

    All lined up, with even gap to the edge.

    Tuner Install 1 28Dec2015.jpg

    Actually, they look like they can be straightened a tiny bit more.

    Finished!

    Tuners with Patrick 28Dec2015.jpg

    On deck, bolting the neck and bridge to the body :lol:

    I won't have the pups in. But with a neck, bridge, and strings, I can be playing this thing!

    Wait, I don't have a nut yet :(
     
  15. barbrainy

    barbrainy RIP

    Posts:
    3,444
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Location:
    Northampton, UK
    Is that a Patrick Swayze cushion??
     
  16. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    Yes. It is.

    ...as if nobody else is a big fan?
     
  17. Captain Nutslot

    Captain Nutslot Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,348
    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    hahaha sweeet
     
  18. barbrainy

    barbrainy RIP

    Posts:
    3,444
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Location:
    Northampton, UK

    I've never wanted to sit on his face.
     
  19. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,007
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Location:
    State College PA
    Nice narrative mm73 and way to keep hope alive.
    Fret leveling has bedeviled me so far - when you get the secret please share.
    Thought I had it knocked with my Barncaster - but a buzz on the 18th showed up once the guitar was in the hands of a real player.
    Frustrating, but still fun.
    /m
     
  20. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    1,748
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2015
    Location:
    South Lyon, MI
    It can take years to build a reputation. I'm not sure what my reputation is, but I fear it just took a left turn.

    Since you can't put a genie back in the bottle, here is the Mr. Swayze pillow for your viewing pleasure.

    image.jpg

    After a bad tear out or such, its good for a reassuring hug.

    I have a sick feeling anytime I'm grinding away on this thing!
    Suppose its better that I have a couple low spots. I would have had to keep on grinding if I had a high spot.
    I'll find out pretty soon what I've got with the frets...not far to go.

    I really like the barncaster build. I'd like to try a build with an old slab of wood - lots of character.
    Nothing fancy planned for my next. I want to try and dial in the machining process and get my feet under me on finish work!
    Looking forward to your next one!
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.