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ugly_guitar_guy's 2012 Challenge Build Thread -- COMPLETED

Discussion in '2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge' started by ugly_guitar_guy, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. ugly_guitar_guy

    ugly_guitar_guy Tele-Meister

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    Alrighty, let's start my first year as a guitar builder off the right way! I'm in, and very, VERY anxious. :D
     
  2. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Me too... to see it, that is.
     
  3. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    :lol:, as ever, the master of understatement

    Congrats, good luck to ya'! :D

    Dave
     
  4. ugly_guitar_guy

    ugly_guitar_guy Tele-Meister

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    After having spent lots of time looking through past year's threads, I think my entry this year may be the first tele designed with heavy metal shredding in mind (with the exception of Jacko's aluminum tele last year, of course). :lol:
     
  5. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    Shredding?! Are you making confetti or cole slaw? :lol:

    Good luck man, and I can't wait to feast my eyes...
     
  6. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Doctor of Teleocity

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    :eek::eek::eek:
     
  7. ugly_guitar_guy

    ugly_guitar_guy Tele-Meister

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    Seriously, this is going to be the longest day at work ever...

    And every work day for the next 2 months...

    ;)
     
  8. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    ^ Amen brother!
     
  9. ugly_guitar_guy

    ugly_guitar_guy Tele-Meister

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    Alright, enough chit-chat. Let's get this build started!

    To begin, my material and "proof" picture.

    [​IMG]

    I've got an 8/4 plank of mahogany for the body, a 3/4 maple board for the neck, 1" koa plank, and a pale moon ebony plank for the fretboard. This is going to be an exercise in patience and detail for sure.

    I began by marking off the first 20" cut of the board.

    [​IMG]

    Set up the shopsmith (this is literally my entire woodshop, right in this picture) and made some cuts.

    [​IMG]

    Once I lined up which sides I liked the most for the back of the guitar, I marked it with an off-center x to keep track of what goes where.

    [​IMG]

    And of course the sides I liked would join the rough edge, so I took it to the planer/joiner attachment and tried to level it all out. I just sharpened up the blades and readjusted the setup a few days ago, so I was hoping this would be a nice quick zip to get it smooth.

    [​IMG]

    Not so much. It's actually a pretty wonky plane, leaving a bit of space between the two boards. First time using the damn thing. More than likely user error. I need to go to harbor freight and get a long level ruler and a roll of sandpaper so that i can sand the edges flat before gluing.

    [​IMG]

    That was literally all I got done today before having to get to other plans for the evening, so I'm not terribly happy with just that, but hey, I've got 2 months, right? Tomorrow I'll have a bit more time and can get these sanded and glued up.

    I decided I'm going to make a body template after all, so that'll be tomorrow night's to-do as well. I already feel like even though I kind of have a plan, I don't really have a plan. Lot's of learning to do still!
     
  10. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

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    Hey the more detailed the plan the more things that can go wrong.

    Koa is great wood. I think whatever you do, it will turn out great.
     
  11. Amadhunter

    Amadhunter Tele-Meister

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    I got a shredder in the works too! 16" radius fb, floyd rose trem w locking nut, and dual home wound alnico 5 humbuckers. :) :) Good luck on the build! Lookin forward to seeing it.
     
  12. ugly_guitar_guy

    ugly_guitar_guy Tele-Meister

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    Thanks guys. I'm already feeling overwhelmed with the jigs that I'm going to have to build, and it's only day 2! But hey, everyone's gotta start somewhere.

    Amadhunter, that sounds like a guitar after my own heart! I haven't tipped my hand yet though. I have some pleasant surprises in store. :twisted:
     
  13. ugly_guitar_guy

    ugly_guitar_guy Tele-Meister

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    It would seem that this is going to be daily learning and lessons for me. I really have no clue what I'm doing, but I'm doing it!

    First off, the bandsaw on my shopsmith only cuts about 6 inches (I plan to do some mods to it to open it up to 6.75 inches), so I contact my local community college for help resawing my koa top. They were more than happy to have me come in and use their equipment, and it really was a joy to use all the high end stuff that they had.

    First, I had to plane the top down so that it was level to work with because it was a little wonky.

    [​IMG]

    Then it was off the planing drum sander to remove the saw marks on the opposite side of the plank.

    [​IMG]

    Using a table saw I sliced through bit by bit so that when I resawed the top on the bandsaw it would be a straighter cut.

    [​IMG]

    That gave me a strip that was left over to sand down.

    [​IMG]

    I spotted a huge digital planing drums sander and passed it through a couple times to smooth it out.

    [​IMG]

    Now I have two great slices of Koa for my top. Unfortunately, they are not as thick as I wanted them to be, so my original ideas might change a little bit. We'll see.

    [​IMG]

    Now that I was back at the home shop, I dove into template-making. I was going to freehand it like I did my last build, but I decided it might be a good idea to keep this one around. I used some spray adhesive on mdf to stick down my paper template.

    [​IMG]

    Then cut to shape on the bandsaw.

    [​IMG]

    Then switched the bandsaw over for sanding to smooth everything out.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And flipped the SS up to drum sand the curves. (I really do love how versatile this thing is.)

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now, I've been fighting the edges of my mahogany blank. For some reason, I just can't seem to plane the sides straight that I was going to glue together. After fussing over sanding and planing and ending up with less and less wood, I decided that gluing the already finished edge of the wood wouldn't be that much different than the other way around. I spread some glue...

    [​IMG]

    And clamped it up. (Note to self, get better clamps. These Harbor Freight clamps are absolutely horrible, and one even broke while I was squeezing it down.)

    [​IMG]

    I set that aside to dry and decided to tackle my radius jig, inspired by a few members here. I bought some 2" electrical PVC (cheaper than plumbing PVC) and some cheap L bars, and glued them together with epoxy.

    [​IMG]

    I'll tackle the radius board for the router tomorrow. I have some leftover Birch plywood that should work for that.

    In the last few minutes of the night, I drew the first few lines of my neck template, and laid the fretboard on it because that's just what we do around here to see what's coming down the road!

    It was time to turn in after that. Gonna be a busy day tomorrow. G'nite all.
     
  14. tklaavo

    tklaavo Tele-Holic

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    I'm really waiting for the matching headstock design here!
     
  15. ugly_guitar_guy

    ugly_guitar_guy Tele-Meister

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    Well as always for me, life is busy! I feel like my build is moving at half the speed of smell right now, but I made what I feel is some very important progress over the last few days.

    This weekend I started on my neck template on MDF. Reverse headstock.

    [​IMG]

    A quick trim on the SS bandsaw...

    [​IMG]

    And lined up my slab of maple as my straight edge to route the sides true to the line.

    [​IMG]

    A zip on the drum sander again to shape the headstock and now I have an accurate neck template. Digital calipers show I'm within .4 mm of my intended dimensions, so I'll leave it there and just use the sanding block on the final cut of wood to get the measurement exact.

    [​IMG]

    Then it was time to make my router sled for the planing rails. I took the plastic bottom off the router and used that as a template for the holes. I counter sunk the screws that would hold the plastic plate on the base into this cut of 3/4" birch plywood and mounted the router. Came out exactly as I'd have expected.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I'll need to add some support rails to the sides because it flexes about 1mm in the middle. I figured out how to counter that by not holding onto the router itself and held onto the outer plank area instead. Much more stable.

    I mounted my rails to my makeshift SS bench, clamped to some more left over birch plywood, then used double stick tape to stick the plank down.

    [​IMG]

    All set. Take a deep breath, and let's hope this actually works.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Well, it's certainly not quick, but it's absolutely very easy. Takes several minutes to do the whole top with a 1/2 straight bit, but it works.

    [​IMG]

    This pic shows my "learning" that the router sled bows a little bit. The ridges look much bigger in the pic than they were IRL. A minute with my sanding block flattened that out smooth as marble. By that point it was late and I had to shut down to keep the neighbors happy.

    [​IMG]

    Next day, I went for leveling the opposite side, now that one side was flat.

    [​IMG]

    Calculated the thickness of my koa top, and subtracted that from 1.75" to make that pass on the backside. I made some pretty good sawdust. It's a shame to see that much wood go to waste. :(

    [​IMG]

    That was all I got done over the weekend. Last night I tackled cutting out the body (I feel SOOOO behind already compared the other guys!).

    I started by picking where I wanted the grain to line up with the template (I know, I know. I cut my planks too long, and wasted more wood. Rookie mistake).

    [​IMG]

    And traced the body on the blank. I like where this is going. :)

    [​IMG]

    After another couple of minutes on the bandsaw I had the body cut pretty close, but couldn't navigate the cutaway curve, so I took it to the drill press and using my "little" forstner bit (I don't have a BAFB...) I drilled a couple holes to make the cut easier.

    [​IMG]

    A few more minutes at the bandsaw to work out the curve and cut a bit closer to the lines and now I finally have something that resembles a guitar! :D I have to be honest, I needed that part to get done. That put me in a fantastic mood to see this pic and feel like I'm finally making progress.

    [​IMG]

    I wont be able to work on this for a couple more nights, so I'll be chomping at the bit until then. I did change my mind on the neck also. I'm currently looking for an ADDITIONAL piece of wood to be able to even START my neck. I also need to spend some time getting my planer dialed in better, so I'm stuck for a few days because that's pivotal a this point for me to be able to plane my neck down properly. I think some kind of planing sander will be on my bday list in a couple months. :D

    Thanks guys, more to come in a few days! :cool:

    *edit* I added a couple pics that I missed. :neutral:
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  16. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nice progress
     
  17. ugly_guitar_guy

    ugly_guitar_guy Tele-Meister

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    I probably wont have much time to be able to get anything done tonight (routing the body edge with my template IF I'm lucky), but I was stoked to see my control cavity templates show up yesterday!

    [​IMG]

    I'm also waiting till Friday for my Walnut to show up for the neck so that I can start that this weekend, and I decided yesterday that I'm going to make a brass tone bar to use in the back instead of ferrules, so I ordered a block of that as well.

    Oh, and I also realized that I have to thin my neck template down about 3-4mm. I forgot I was doing a 26" scale.

    Now why in the world would I be doing a 26" scale???.... :D
     
  18. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

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    This is looking really good. I like the body shape & the wood is very nice.

    You think you wasted some wood with that little pile of sawdust? You're not even close - you can still see part of your floor! I've lost clamps on my floor, and ther may well be a family of small animals living in there somewhere:)
     
  19. ugly_guitar_guy

    ugly_guitar_guy Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, I was shooting for a kind of "heavy metal tele" design. I think this will work nicely!

    Well, that's only part of the floor after having swept up between each of the 3 previous passes of the planing rig. Doing it that way makes a heck of a mess!!

    I should just invest in the Safe T Planer (or the current equivalent...) and save a lot more time!
     
  20. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I should just invest in the Safe T Planer (or the current equivalent...) and save a lot more time!
    The safety planer makes more of a mess since the centrifigal force flings it everywhere. They are only capable of taking off a little wood at a time too. I'd say they are about even in mess and time.

    By the way, I haven't seen an Oliver planer in a long time....that one is a beauty.
     
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