Here's another shot of how the pilot bearing works against the MDF template. And now I have an answer for why I take off so much in the first pass - if I set it much shallower I would lose the contact area between the bearing and the template - at least it sounds good to me.
To machine the control and pickup cavities, the 3/4" MDF template goes back on. It is held in place with 2 screws and a BIG HONKING CLAMP. I'll take this opportunity to drill pilots for the string through and bridge mounting plates.
To make life a bit easier for the WORLD'S WORST ROUTER I drilled a pilot hole of sorts into the cavities. I'm beginning to think it would be nice to own a nicer router. Maybe something that can plunge.
Here's another shot of the pilot bearing on these pattern cutters. These are cheap, but functional, cutters that I bought from Grizzly. So far they haven't let me down.
Gee, how many empty rattle-cans of DEFT can YOU spot on the floor? Might soon be time to do something about that.
A few passes with the cutter, and a few precise measurements later...
The pickup cavities are 3/4" deep and the control cavity 1-1/2". Fortunately the body is 1-3/4" thick.
No neck pocket yet. That is what template #2 is for.
Another chunk of 3/4" MDF machined from a master. It is registered to the body with a nail and a drill bit. (I also made a few measurements, but it is more fun to pretend I am a little cavalier about the whole thing.)
After making sure the neck pocket is 5/8" deep I can yank the template and this is what we see.
Still need to create the flat-spot and drill the wiring holes, neck screw holes, and string-through holes...but that will be another day.
Oh...and the binding channels. Have I ever told you how much fun that is?
We were just giving you a hard time!...mdf,pdf..??? Looks great! I think the bits from Grizzly are pretty good. I've got a bunch of them now. If you decide to upgrade "the world's worst router", my favorite all-around router is a Porter Cable 690. I've had several (all stolen, not broken) and the last time around I bought a set that came with a regular base, a "D" handle base & a plunge base. I leave the standard base bolted to a table for a router table & use the D-handle mostly. You'd be suprised what a difference there is in stiffness between the 1/4" & 1/2" shafts, as far as chatter, especially with a top-mount bearing bit. That router will take both sizes. Keep the pics coming!
You know, when you need a radial arm saw, you really need one. The rest of the time is DOES make a good work table. Before I got my hands on this one, it was bolted to the back of a truck and used by a siding crew and that was 20 years ago. To say it is not a precision instrument is being kind.
Now I'm off to the school to "borrow" a real drill press for the string and ferrule holes. My little $99 special just doesn't have a deep enough throat.
Now to complete the reporting on today's activities. Then it will be pizza time.
Before I start finishing/painting I will try to hit the body with 60, 80, 100, 150, and 220 grit sandpaper.
If anybody knows a better way to sand inside the horn, I am all ears. To me that is almost the hardest part of the entire project. Just not enough room in there. I'm glad I didn't decide to put together F-5 mandolins...
All proper bound Teles need to have a pronounced "flat spot" for the output jack. It has always been one of my favorite visual aspect. That little bit of asymetry...
Here is my low tech method of making it using my $99 sanding station.
A little touch up with the hand sander and I'll be happy
Got to make more holes in those beautiful pieces of wood.
Believe it or not, I found this drill bit on a rack in my local True-Value store. It is more than long enough to drill a hole from the neck pocket, through the neck pickup cavity, and into the control cavity.
Doing this makes me nervous. Even in Jr High School shop class, when I was drilling a hole through a bowling pin to make a lamp...wood varies so much in density that I am always afraid that it might not go exactly where I think it should go.
This time, everything went exactly like it should and the drill is peaking out into the control cavity at just the right spot.
My little $99 drill press just isn't big enough to drill the string through holes. I tried doing them by hand once. That was a painful experience.
So...it's off to the school shop. I think this drill press will work. Anybody recognize the color? It is a REAL piece of hardware...
One way to drill the string through holes is to drill them from the template on the front side. I'm doing this back a ways. I suppose you could just use the drill press to go all of the way through, but in wood drill bits seem to wander all over the place on me. Probably because I buy $0.99 drill bits...
Anyway, by drilling into a sacraficial piece of wood that is securely clamped to the drill press table, you can make a hole that is DIRECTLY under the bit. If you put a short piece of metal (say a cut off nail) in that hole, you have a registration pin that is directly under the bit.
By placing the body upside-down with one of stringhole you copied from the template on the registration pin, any hole you drill is going to be lined up EXACTLY with that pin. (More or less anyway...and certainly WAY better than I could do it by hand.)
By moving the body to consecutive string holes you can do all 6 of those bad boys...
Last time I was at Lowes they had a Delta 12 inch bench top drill press for $179. This is the same drill press that I paid more for. However this one also has a built in lamp, a laser drill guide, and a tool tray that swings out of the way. In my opinion this is a great deal. You should be able to do just about any guitar job with this drill press. It will reach the string ferrule hole location. If you mount your bench top drill press at the end of a work bench you can swing the whole top section 90 degrees and have the capability of a floor drill press.