Squire Super-Sonic build - the hard way

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by unibox, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. unibox

    unibox TDPRI Member

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    So I go the bug. I've been lurking this site for more than a year. I decided to give it a go. I've been playing keyboards in bands since the 80's. No so much anymore. My kids play guitar and bass so I started getting into guitars. Since I don't play I don't have any favorite guitar. I went for something different. The Squire Super-Sonic. I do not have a wood shop. I have minimal tools. I know I should have picked something else but this is happening so here I go.

    I bought some templates and ended up just printing some I bought online.

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    I cheated and bought a Jazzmaster neck template. There was just too much I could mess up on this. I'll just flip it over for my template. maybe....
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    Bought a body blank. Tried to find the cheapest since I know I will be messing up.
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    I duplicated my first template to get a straight edge.
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    My first mistake. I routed the truss rod slot. I wanted it on the top an I even wrote on the neck blank. "bottom". I still screwed it up. I got it all turned around in my head and for some reason did it backwards. Which happens to be a standard Jazzmaster neck so no big deal. So I though.
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    I rough cut the neck with my jig saw. Staying away from the line. Maybe too far from the line.
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    Now the tragedy. I should have done more research I tearout. Lesson learned? I don't know how it happened but it just ripped off. It was a new bit and I thought I was going slow.
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    I ended up copying the body template to 1/2 inch - 12.7mm mdf.
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    Ended up working on the body while I wait for a new neck blank. I rough cut it with my jig saw. This was not ideal. I should have used a band saw. I just have no space for all the things I want.
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    Used the tape and super glue trip to stick the template to the body.
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    Chipout! I just watched some videos on how to prevent it and how to mark the body to show the danger zones. No big deal. I am learning. Plus I am planning the body so I am hoping I can hide this.
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    Came out pretty good for my first try. Lots of sanding.
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    A quick mock up.
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    I'll post more updates and my mistakes as I progress.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    You are leaving too much wood to rout off. You should only rout about 1/32-1/16" of an inch of wood. That's no guarantee that you will avoid tearout, but it'll help. You can always cut and sand to the line on the perimeter of necks and bodies too. That avoids chip out. Read build threads here and you'll learn more, as this stuff is discussed daily.
     
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  3. unibox

    unibox TDPRI Member

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    Yep, I left way too much to route off. I was worried that the jigsaw was wandering over the line at the bottom. I should have sanded more with my belt sander. I really want to get a bandsaw to get much closer to the line.
     
  4. unibox

    unibox TDPRI Member

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    Add some wood filler to the chipout on the body.

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    Bought a 2nd neck blank and carefully laid out my lines. This time I got the head stock correctly backwards and cut the truss rod slot. This went very smooth since I had just done this last weekend.
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    Cutting the neck out. I got as close as I could on the curves and used a file to get even closer to the line. Last time I had some chip out on the curves. This time it was very minor.
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    I didn't get a shot of the neck after I sanded and filed to get closer to the line.
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  5. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    It's looking good. What do you plan to finish it with?
     
  6. unibox

    unibox TDPRI Member

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    I really like the silver sparkle(metal flake) but for my first one I will probably just use regular silver.


    Rounded the body today.

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  7. unibox

    unibox TDPRI Member

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    I picked up a Granadillo fretboard blank on sale at Sewmac for $6.95 so if I screwed up I'm just out my time and some sandpaper. This dense and hard wood took some time to get a 9.5 inch radius.

    Slots cut.
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    Sanded with 80 grit.
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    Sanded to 220 grit. I think it came out nice.
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  8. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    Looking good dude. That’s a nice looking Fretboard.
     
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  9. unibox

    unibox TDPRI Member

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    Mounting the fretboard and thinning down the head stock.


    Sanding the fretboard edges to get them ready for routing to the neck
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    Test fitting the fretboard. I used nails to index the fit but didn't get any pics.[​IMG]

    Should have done a better job of clamping.This looks pretty bad.
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    All glued up and routed flush. There is a bit of a beginners gap under the fretboard at one corner but not bad for my first guitar.
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    Quick shot of my adjustable router setup. Making due with what I have.
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    I always have to keep getting a look at the bigger picture.
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    My janky router setup. Again, making due with what I have.
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    And this is when I got some chipout.
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    Not sure how I am going to transition from the fretboard to the new neck thickness. I do not have a spindle sander. Any ideas or tricks?
     
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  10. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Half round file. Sand paper wrapped around a dowel. Roundnose router bit, but you risk blowing it out at this point unless you have some wood on both sides adhered to take the blow out. You'd also have to have a perpendicular guide to keep it inline and straight. I'd say you'd be safe with the abrasive. Just takes some time and energy. An oscillating sander drum and sleeve works fine too.

    Just an example. The true Fender curve is a 2" diameter bit.




    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FSK6FMP/?tag=tdpri-20



    hawley rad.JPG
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  11. Luthi3rz

    Luthi3rz Tele-Meister

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    What bits are you using for routing?

    Ever hear of Bump Cutting?

     
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  12. unibox

    unibox TDPRI Member

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    @Luthi3rz that video is great! Thanks. I am sure most of my issues might be related to going to fast and taking too much off. I am going to study up on routing and get more experience.

    Well I couldn't wait. I kind of made things up as I went. I didn't want to mess up the headstock while I cut the curve transition in so I glue tapped an old cabinet scraper up to my cut.

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    Then I used a 1 1/2" sanding drum in my drill and just slid it back and forth.
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    It worked!
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    I used a oscillating disk sander to sand out the but I couldn't get with the drum.
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    Not too bad. I need to clean it up a bit more.
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  13. Bill Clay

    Bill Clay TDPRI Member

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    This is looking like a great build, but I have to ask if you've taken into account the scale length of your different components. If you have a standard super sonic body template and a standard Jazzmaster neck template then you're mixing a 25.5 inch scale neck with a 24 inch scaled body.
    I think you'll be fine if you do the math and move your bridge and pickup positions accordingly but I'm pretty sure that you won't be able to intonate your guitar if you follow the routs on your body template.
     
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  14. unibox

    unibox TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the feedback @Bill Clay. That is exactly what I am planing. I am not going to touch the body until I complete the neck. Then I can plan the layout of the neck pocket and bridge. I can then base everything else on that. I am going with a simple hardtail bridge so I am hoping it will be easier. I was to scared to commit to the Strat tremolo setup for my first guitar.
     
  15. Bill Clay

    Bill Clay TDPRI Member

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    Sounds great! Since you're not just following the templates routing and are already adding your own touches like a hard tail bridge, will you also be trying different control and pickup choices?
     
  16. unibox

    unibox TDPRI Member

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    I bought a set of humbuckers and plan on going pretty simple with the wiring for my first. Just two volume knobs. But who knows what will happen when I get that far.

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    Pearl fret dots!
    I don't have a drill press so I was pretty nervous about the fret dots but this was easier than I thought. Read lots of about using a router to get them to lay flat and a lot of drill press talk. I just tried a test hole with my cordless drill and a brad point bit. I when slow and got the depth pretty close.
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    After I did the layout and center punched I was ready to drill. I almost laid it out wrong so I tripple checked and brought over a guitar to look at next to the neck so I wouldn't screw up.
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    First one on the neck! I was pretty nervous but it was fine.
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    Super glued in.
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    All sanded flush. It looks like a neck now. I am super excited. It was all just raw wood not too long ago and now it is almost a neck.
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  17. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Top notch! Taking notes -- I have a neck I want to re-dot, but must work around the frets.
     
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  18. unibox

    unibox TDPRI Member

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    Neck carving time. I would do things differently next time but I really liked the filing and carving. It was really fun. I still need to do some sanding to get it straight. I can still see some light under a straight edge. I feel like I will be chasing that light gap for a while. When I bought the neck template it came with some radius gauges. I had planned on doing the chamfered edge technique but I saw a video about rounding 2 spots and connecting them. This was harder than I thought. Next time.....


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    Point of no return. I was pretty nervous. I have so many hours into this that if I screw it up now I can't picture starting over.
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    This seemed like it was working.
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    I used a belt sander to remove the bulk. It worked ok but I ran it into the headstock once so I got super cautious.
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    This was just after I got the main lumpiness flat-ish. I really like using the files. I would file it, then sand it and check it with a straight edge.I could tell by touching it where it needed more work.
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    I got it pretty close but my 53 year old elbow was telling me to take a break. Decided to start fretting. Again this was another thing that was pretty difficult never having done it before. Oh yes and when I was moving the neck around I somehow chipped part of the fretboard by the nut slot. I super glued it in. Hoping for the best on that.
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    I got this cheap fret pressing jig thing from a China. It worked pretty good. The cheap Chinese drill press I picked up yesterday was barley strong enough to push it down.
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    I ended up hung a small hammer first to get it started and the press to seat it.
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    Rough cut the frets off. That's enough for today.
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  19. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    The thing I like to do after I get the carve to the thickness I want is using a concave cabinet scraper. It smooths out the hills and valleys and removes a lot of file marks. It also really helps on the shoulders as I tend to leave those too thick most times. Looking good!
     
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  20. unibox

    unibox TDPRI Member

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    I am back! There was some good and some bad. The bad, I messed up cutting the neck pocket when the template moved while routing. Then I tried to fix it and made it worse and routed into the template. I have put that body away for another day. I ordered a new body blank made out of basswood because it was cheap. $25 before shipping. I didn't want to spend too much if I mess up again.


    Bought a new template.
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    FYI Basswood seems like a great wood for beginners. Very soft.
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    Looking good.
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    It is not a super tight fit but I think it is great for my first second attempt.
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