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Scratch Tele Build

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

  1. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Quality Control

    Just wanted to double check my fret slot spacing before I start pounding in frets.

    I don't have a fool-proof method for cutting the slots, so wanted to be sure the slots were still good after sanding in the fret radius.

    Fret Location Check 14Sep2015.jpg

    I aligned my scale, took my measurements, then pulled out my print for comparison. Was happy to see no slot was off by more than 0.01"!

    This is not to say my way is the best way to cut slots, just saying that it can work.
    ...particularly if like me, you are suffering from jig building fatigue.
     
  2. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    More fun with frets - Bending Fret Wire

    I re-radiused my fretwire per the no cost method by Guitarnut.

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/189595-no-cost-fretwire-bender.html

    There was a suggestion that pulling the wire over a rounded surface would make the process easier / more consistent. It made sense to me, so I pulled out some scrap chair rail, and notched it with my triangle file.

    Fret Wire Bender 14Sep2015.jpg

    I traced the arc of the wire as-rec'd so that I would have something to compare back to. Since my Warmoth 6150 wire came pre-bent, I wasn't sure how much more bend I would get pulling it over the "jig", so wanted to have a reference.

    PreBend Arc 14Sep2015.jpg

    Then, pulled the wire over the chair rail. Held in place over the notch with one hand, pulled with other.

    Bending Fret Wire 14Sep2015.jpg

    Doing this by hand will require some practice. My pull force and direction wasn't very consistent, so I ended up with a couple spots where the wire was kinked a bit. But, I definitely tightened up the radius a bit.

    After Bend Arc 14Sep2015.jpg

    When I cut the frets off, I'll be sure to keep the kinks at the ends.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  3. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Fret Trial 2 - The Fret Menace

    Soooo, definitely getting a vibe that fret work will not be mastered by reading and watching Youtube only.

    I took my freshly re-radiused fretwire and tapped it in. Tapped in the outer edges, then tapped in the middle, then kinda tapped it all over the place 'cause that is what happens when you are holding a hammer.

    Fret Trial 2 14Sep2015.jpg

    My first fret attempt with wire as rec'd is in the foreground, and the edges are not seated. The second attempt, shown further back, with the tighter radius, is better. I can still slide a piece of paper just under the very outer ends of the fret.

    This whole skill, experience, and knowledge thing is becoming the biggest obstacle to achieving my vision here.

    No worries. All of this practice work is being done on neck #1, the one with a gutted truss rod. Neck #2 is waiting patiently in the basement...hoping for a better fate.

    I thought that I could maybe master this fret stuff after 2 or 3 installs. Folly.

    The re-radiused fret wire is a step in the right direction, though. I think I hit the middle of the fret too hard, ruined the radius, and lifted the outer edges.

    I better just plan on using up the wire I have on my practice neck, as this is going to take more trial and error.

    Trial 3, 4, 5... will include the use of a triangle file to create a lead in chamfer at the top of the slot, tapping a bit more gently, trimming the fret wire to get a tang as close to the outer edge of the neck as possible.

    ...and more TDPRI and YouTube.

    Bear with me. I plan on figuring this out as quickly as I can. The warm days I have left for spraying finish are now numbered.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
  4. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Man makes plans, and the fret laughs.

    I have a vibe that glue should be like belt and suspenders to a good fret job...helpful, but not necessary.

    As such, I'm throwing the kitchen sink of what little I think I know about prepwork at my next fret attempt, minus the glue. If this doesn't work...then I'm going to try glue :lol:

    Fret Slot? Straight, to proper depth and uniform width - CHECK

    Fret Slot Okee Dokee 16Sep2015.jpg

    Lead in Chamfer? Filed gently with triangle file, almost imperceptible - CHECK
    Why do my reference articles suggest a chamfer?
    I gotta believe any radius or imperfection where the bead meets the tang could keep the fret from seating. So, I'm kinda thinking the chamfer will help.

    Fret Slot Chamfer 16Sep2015.jpg

    Slot Clean? Slide floss side to side, up and down, across all surfaces...but could not get under the gum line - CHECK
    Don't judge me...I don't have compressed air. Just a plastic brush and floss.

    Good Hygiene 16Sep2015.jpg

    Over-Radiused Fret Wire? Complete with kinks - CHECK
    I've since seen plans for a homemade wire bender. I think the hand bending will work, but I do plan on building a wire bender in the future.

    6150 Tight Radius 16Sep2015.jpg

    The radius isn't as tight as it may seem. Its definitely tighter than 7.25", but a couple kinks here and there make it seem a lot tighter than it really is.

    Hammer Time? Heck yes, I never let perfect get in the way of good enough!
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2015
  5. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Fret Trial 3 - A New Hope

    I might have a winner here.

    Cut the 6150 wire to length. I was going to try to cut in a way to ensure I could align a tang near the outer edge of the neck. In reality, the tangs are so close, a tang will naturally land near the outer edge.

    6150 Started 16Sep2015.jpg

    Finesse this time. Gently holding fret hammer, with little finger extended. Tapped, using brass end, with just enough force to seat the outer ends.

    6150 Start at Ends 16Sep2015.jpg

    More finesse to tap in the center of the fret. If I had a doily handy, I would have draped it over my fret hammer. Again, with pinky extended.
    Then trimmed flush with my Stewmac cutters, making sure not to bend or pull in a way to lift the fret ends.
    Then filed flush with my fret leveling file, Stewmac PN 0862. I filed the fret ends in a downward motion to avoid lifting the edge of the fret out of the slot.
    Gotta be careful with the file, as I scratched up the wood on my practice neck. It probably works better when working multiple frets at the same time.

    6150 Finished 16Sep2015.jpg

    6150 Finished 2 16Sep2015.jpg

    The two closest frets shown were installed last night. Look good enough? I hope so. I'm going to try a couple more this way, then bring up neck #2 for some real work.
    I may also extend the depth of my slots. I'm not sure if the fret bottomed out in my last pic, or if some of the dust from filing filled in the gap.
     
  6. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's

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    Looking good!!
     
  7. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    LOL, loving the dental floss--why didn't I think of that?

    Very pretty neck and it looks like you're closing in on the frets, too. Those last couple look good from the photos.

    If you're still working on them, try tapping them in from one end, and across to the other end. If you tap the ends in first, when you tap in the middle, as the arch flattens, one or both ends have to move to accommodate the horizontal movement of the fret. This causes end popping. That's not good, once in place, you don't want any part of the fret to move, ever.
    Chamfering the top of the fret slot both helps guide the fret tang into the slot as you install it, and makes life a bit easier for some future luthier (who may also be you), by making it less likely for chips to be caught and pulled up when frets are pulled for a future re-fretting.

    Keep up the good work, interesting build.
     
  8. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks - Getting frets in and shaping the neck is all that stands between me and moving on to phase 2 - stain and clearcoat.

    It's been a journey!
     
  9. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    I had an article, perhaps a tutorial from the StewMac site, that recommended the process I used.
    The theory was, by tapping the ends first, the tangs would be forced horizontally when tapping in the center of the fret, thus locking it in.

    I found this to be very sensitive to the force used. Some popped up at the ends as you described, others did seem to lock in.

    Thanks for the advice. I'd like to try your method next time. Seems like there are a couple ways to go about this, and it seems folks need to find a method that works for them.

    And I have a long way to go before I master this one.
     
  10. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Don't Fret, My Neck is Still OK!

    Spent Saturday morning with my '80s playlist and a fret hammer.

    I used the method I practiced above, floss and all.

    First, the tools and the patient (ignore the partially fretted practice neck).

    The Tools 19Sep2015.jpg

    Next, tap in frets to create a centipede looking thing.

    Fret Centipede 19Sep2015.jpg

    I felt like I knew what I wanted to do, but didn't have a lot of confidence. So, started on fret 21, and worked my way up the neck. I'm a beginner guitarist, and rarely touch any fret higher than 14. So, if there was going to be an oops, frets 14 - 21 is the place to do it.

    Then, trimmed the frets and filed the frets.

    Edge Filing 19Sep2015.jpg

    I found that a couple cornhole bags seem to make a nice base for a neck while filing frets flush and beveling the edges (beveled to about 60 degrees from horizontal). I read somewhere that 45 degrees works well for short frets, but taller frets should be done from 55 - 60 degrees. Personal preference I suppose, just don't bevel so much that the string rides off the end of the fret on a bend.

    OK, here is the thread link with discussion on bevel angle and file holder.

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/289120-fret-end-file-bevel-angle-question.html

    I think the file holder is a better idea than the file I bought from SM. I'll make one of these for the next neck. The engineer in me dislikes process variation.

    Finally, show something to the neighbors that they will recognize as a guitar part. ...whether they care to see it or not.

    Frets in the Sunrise 19Sep2015.jpg

    Is it perfect? Not by a long shot. Is it perfect-ish. Sure.

    I'll level and dress the frets after the lacquer goes on. If nothing pops loose that will require CA glue and clamps, then I'll fill the small gaps in the slots under the frets with a mix of sawdust and wood glue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015
  11. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Neck Profile Shaping - No Wammies!

    Shaping the neck profile...

    It seems only fitting that the last shaping op, which should make my neck beautiful and functional, could also turn it into kindling.

    Feels like I may be pressing my luck a bit.

    Press Your Luck.jpg

    No place to go but forward!

    I'm going to use a process described by Guitarbuilder in a post, "neck carving by drawing and creating facets on the wood".

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/317748-neck-carving-drawing-creating-facets-wood.html

    I think I saw this post recently re-posted. It seems like a slow process.
    When removing wood, slow seems good.
    Slow seems very good... 'cause you can't put it back once its gone.

    I have two practice necks laying about, so figured I would have a shot at both of them before I attack the neck that I've been trying to create for the past 8 months. Am I nervous? Why would you ask?

    Pulled out my trusty practice neck, Fred, for one last hurrah. Good or bad, I don't see a use for him after this is done. Such a loyal friend. I will miss him.

    I'm after a soft "v". I'm only a beginner guitarist, but find myself wanting something different than the shallow "c" shaped necks on my current guitars.

    Soft V.jpg

    So, I hastily marked up a drawing and then my neck, and got after it with a course rasp, Stewmac PN 4151. The rasp is overpriced like crazy for something with no moving parts, but can take off material really, really fast.

    After faceting between the 1st and 12th fret, and sanding smooth (60 - 320 grit), I got after the heel and peghead transitions with the ROSS.

    Fred's Last Hurrah 20Sep2015.jpg

    I really didn't take my time on the first practice neck. Was just trying to get a feel for the process. I'm very happy with the profile, and how quickly and symmetrically it was shaped, but things are a bit lumpy in the transition areas.

    I'll fine tune and describe my process on practice neck #2.
    It is probably going to be a bit more work shaping the maple compared to the soft framing lumber.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015
  12. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nice, looking good!
     
  13. built4speed

    built4speed Tele-Meister

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    Just saw this thread yesterday and read it all. Great work so far. When I saw your posts about the first neck that bowed and couldn't be adjusted straight, the first thing I wondered was if you had inadvertently sanded the bow into the neck. I did my first neck last year and sanded the radius in as well, and I noticed very quickly that my sanding was biased heavier at the middle of the neck. Thankfully I noticed it early and was able to adjust my sanding to compensate.

    Nevertheless, your second attempt seems to be going much better, and you're well on your way to a great finished product. Sure, it may not be perfect, but it will be yours and nothing beats that feeling of accomplishment. I still pick up my first that I built last year and smile every time.
     
  14. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    I tried to adjust the bow out with the truss rod so the sanding would be consistent. So, I know the bow was already there.

    Like most things in my life, I just ignored it until I couldn't.
    Relationships, bald tires, and debt also come to mind.

    I want to say its the woods fault, for being a stupid piece of wood.

    However, the official report reads, "Stupid guitar builder bored the rod access hole twice and didn't leave a shelf for the anchor to sit on".

    On a brighter note, the stupid guitar builder now has a pretty good practice neck for experimentation.

    ...but still needs new tires before snow starts falling.
     
  15. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Neck Shaping by Faceting - 1

    Fear of being unable to shape the neck was the single biggest reason I almost opted not to build my own neck. I've found that the process (so far) has been surprisingly simple.

    So, started with a couple prints, printed to full scale.

    1. Neck print for heel contour details, from jpbturbo (I think a member of this site)
      http://jpbturbo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/broadcaster-neck-measurements-jpbturbo-03012012.pdf
    2. Headstock print for countour details (see post #9, pg. 5 of pdf for shape that I used)
      http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/161484-headstock-template.html
    3. Soft V cross section (see post #12)
      http://www.tdpri.com/forum/telecaster-discussion-forum/313567-neck-profile-thread-post-your-measurements.html

    I started the layout by adding fresh lead to my centerline for reference. As the neck profile is defined by measurements at the 1st and 12th fret, I added the reference lines at these locations. I also drew a reference line at the 21st fret to use as a reference to help check position of my centerline.

    I then cut the heel countour (bottom and side) from my full scale print and traced it onto my neck.

    Heel Layout 26Sep2015.jpg

    Heel Side Layout 26Sep2015.jpg

    I then did the same thing with at the headstock end.

    Headstock Profile 26Sep2015.jpg

    Headstock Layout 26Sep2015.jpg

    Layout is almost complete, just a couple more reference lines needed that I'll show next.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  16. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Neck Shaping by Faceting - 2

    I learned while carving up my practice necks that shaping the neck taper first was the most important step in the process <for me>.
    It allowed me to extend the faceting lines closer to the heel and headstock contour lines, thus minimizing the free-handing that I would need in the transition areas later.

    The soft "v" is 0.850" at the 1st fret, and 0.980" at the 12th. I marked these locations on each side of the neck, then drew the neck taper.

    Neck Taper 26Sep2015.jpg

    I then roughed in the taper with the ROSS, then evened it out with my rasp (Stewmac # 4151).

    Neck Taper Rough 26Sep2015.jpg

    Before proceeding to draw the faceting lines, I had to check level of the taper over the centerline, file with rasp, recheck level...over and over until the taper was flat.

    Neck Taper Check 27Sep2015.jpg

    Neck Taper 27Sep2015.jpg
     
  17. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Neck Shaping by Faceting - 3

    Next step was to draw my first faceting lines.

    Now, my neck cross section is a bit different than the print I have. The width is just slightly wider, or narrower...I don't recall.
    So, I had to create my own, slightly modified, cross section drawing.

    Facet Plan 27Sep2015.jpg

    Having the profile, I then drew a 45 degree angle to the tangent of the arc. I then measured location of the bisecting lines, and transferred to the side and bottom of the neck. I used my 2' scale as a drawing guide.
    You can see, having cut the taper almost all the way to the contour lines, you can extend the facet lines. This will leave a small amount of material to manage in the transition areas. The closer the facet lines extend to the contour, the sharper the transition area will be.

    Facet 1 Layout 27Sep2015.jpg

    These lines then set the boundaries for my sanding/filing. I'll remove the material between these lines, and have a roughly shaped neck :D

    I used the ROSS to hog out most of the material. Then got after it with my rasp. This pic shows the neck just after working it on the ROSS, and a bit of filing with the rasp.

    Rough In with ROSS 27Sep2015.jpg

    A word of caution. Power tools remove material fast. When you think you can clean it up a bit more, STOP!

    A second word of caution. The rasp will remove skin every bit as quickly as it removes wood...actually faster. Wear gloves. I have a couple raw fingers feeling pretty tender as I type this today.

    Now, I could have finished leveling the facets last night, and moved on to the second set of facet lines. I foolishly kicked back, drank beer, and watched the Detroit Lions in prime time.

    Kool Aid.jpg

    Now I'm tired and angry.

    I'll be back at it after I get kids to bed tonight, if I can stay awake.
    I know after working on my practice necks that the shaping goes pretty quickly after the first facets are cut.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  18. MM73

    MM73 Tele-Afflicted

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    A word on Heel and Headstock transitions

    Unless you have an artist's eye, and good hand/eye coordination, I'd suggest avoiding a large transition area between the neck and heel/headstock.

    When I filed and sanded the profile on my practice neck, I focused only on the area between the 1st and 12th fret.

    It left me with something that looked like this.

    Practice Facet 3 25Sep2015.jpg

    There was simply too much material left in the transition areas for someone of my skill to manage. The finished product was a lumpy mess.

    Practice Headstock Transition 2 25Sep2015.jpg

    Perhaps with more time, I could clean it up? It felt like I was in a constant do-over loop, though. I'd file and sand an area, then have to adjust the area next to it, then the area next to it, then the area next to it, ....

    This is why I opted to try and extend my faceting lines as much as I could.

    Its an extra ugly neck, as I used plywood as my filler strip. Hideous.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  19. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I think you'll find that the faceting to the 16th fret allows for easy transitions. I'd skip the ROSS and use the hand tools. You have more control that way. Your rasp will do the bulk of the work. Follow up with a half round file and flat file, then scrapers. The wider the rasp, the less divots you will make. That's why the ferrier's rasp is my favorite. If you do a couple of these... you'll find it only takes a half an hour or so to get to the sanding stage. I've found that when I make mistakes by trying to take shortcuts, that it usually takes a lot longer to make the corrections :)

    FWIW, I have found it actually takes longer to cnc a neck carve then to do it by hand, at least with my non industrial strength cnc.
     
  20. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    I thought it was a daunting task as well when I first started and found it surprisingly easy. It just seems to fall into place following Marty's method and Fletch's as well. My weapon of choice to get rid of the lumps is the scraper as Marty mentioned. Use a straight edge (I use a steel ruler) that fits in between the transitions to show the high spots and scrape them down. I tried the ROSS and yes it chews the material really fast. On the last 2 necks I avoided it as I was doing some high priced flame maple and did not want to go too far.
     
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