Building a Telecaster

A discussion of techniques, and equipment for guitar. Fretted, bottleneck or slide, acoustic or electric, this is the place.

Building a Telecaster

Postby rustyslide » Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:41 pm

I'm building a Telecaster for Christmas (probably not on time). I'll be chronicling the build on lonelyfridge.com, but I suspect there will be some posts here about it, too. :mrgreen:

Question of the moment:
When and how to make the holes for the controls in the top (it's a rear route) to avoid unfortunate wood-working accidents (to the wood mostly).

...besides a drill press. Which I don't have. May be able to use my dad's, but he thinks its throat is too shallow.
User avatar
rustyslide
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1942
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:01 am
Location: Halifax, Canada

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby zhyla » Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:19 pm

Awesome, everybody should build a solid body instrument at some point.

Here's how I did this cavity:

Image

I used a Bosch Colt palm router with a template subbase that allowed me to use one of these template guides. I'm giving you links not because this will work on your router but so you know what to look for.

Then I made two rectangular templates that were slightly oversized (the guides cut a little smaller than the template, you'll figure that out) and routed the cavity one to desired depth and then the other one where the cover lays. I made the templates out of some thin MDF sheets I had lying around, but anything will do. I used a coping saw but a jigsaw be faster. There's a lot of filing/sanding to get it straight. Make the template piece much bigger than the design you're routing, you want to be able to clamp it down to the piece far enough away that your router base won't hit it.

For the deep cavity I routed in several passes (like 1/4" of depth at a time). This keeps it more controllable. Routing by hand is a little bit like using a chainsaw, you want to go slow and not force anything.

You referred to using a drill press for something... I guess you could drill press + chisel your way to victory here, but you really want a router of some sort.
User avatar
zhyla
Site Admin
 
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:43 pm

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby rustyslide » Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:29 pm

zhyla wrote:your router


No router.

Also, the routing is done (see pics in the linked page), I need to make a hole in the front for each pot shaft and for the five-way switch (bolt holes and blade slot).
User avatar
rustyslide
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1942
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:01 am
Location: Halifax, Canada

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby zhyla » Fri Dec 17, 2010 4:58 pm

Well heck, if I actually read your post correctly that would have saved me a lot of typing. Didn't sleep well last night.

So we're just talking about drilling a couple 3/8" holes that are not very deep? But you don't have a drill press. My portable drill has a little level bubble on the back that helps me keep it vertical. For such a shallow hole I wouldn't worry about it too much.

It helps to use bits intended for wood. The normal twist drill bits you see are actually for drilling metal. Spade bits do a little better and don't tear out or crack the wood as they're entering it since they cut from the outside in instead of inside out. Forstner bits are my favorite but require a press.

p.s. The thumbnails on your page show up but clicking them doesn't do anything (on Chrome at least).

p.p.s I avoided a drill press for a very long time but finally bought a bench top press for $30 off craigslist. I never knew you could drill holes so straight and easy. I've mucked up so many holes by hand that I mounted it permanently in my garage so I won't ever laze out and use the hand drill rather than set up the press.
User avatar
zhyla
Site Admin
 
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:43 pm

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby leftyguitarman » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:16 pm

Oh man, that body looks killer! And you're putting a P-Rails in it? Those are some fun pickups. I'd love to have a guitar with just one P-rails and a three way switch. Have fun with the build. I'll keep an eye on your progress.
User avatar
leftyguitarman
Regular
 
Posts: 3183
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:48 am
Location: Washington State

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby rustyslide » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:42 pm

zhyla wrote:[advice!]


Thanks!

zhyla wrote:p.s. The thumbnails on your page show up but clicking them doesn't do anything (on Chrome at least).


Yeah, a broken widget/plugin prevented the rest of the HTML loading, so the hidden picture frame wasn't loaded. Fixed now.

zhyla wrote:p.p.s I avoided a drill press for a very long time but finally bought a bench top press for $30 off craigslist.


No work bench in my apartment, sadly.

leftyguitarman wrote:Oh man, that body looks killer! And you're putting a P-Rails in it?


Yeah, at the neck. I'm excited. I'm going to put it in with the blade on the neck side, and wired so the P90 combines with the bridge, but I may switch either of these up.
User avatar
rustyslide
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1942
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:01 am
Location: Halifax, Canada

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby zhyla » Fri Dec 17, 2010 7:22 pm

rustyslide wrote:No work bench in my apartment, sadly.


That was me until very recently. I've done all kinds of crazy stuff in apartments... lots of neck resets, refrets, etc. Even refinished an old archtop (spray laquer in the bathroom, built of a fine layer of nitro all over but no harm done). Anyways, the bench top drill presses are pretty stable, you can just set them on a table top or maybe put one clamp down on the base to keep it from rocking.

Hey, how are you getting the pickup wires into the cavity?
User avatar
zhyla
Site Admin
 
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:43 pm

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby rustyslide » Fri Dec 17, 2010 8:14 pm

zhyla wrote:Hey, how are you getting the pickup wires into the cavity?


Pretty standard way on Teles without that diagonal route in the top— it's been drilled from the neck pocket into the neck pickup route into the bridge pickup route, and then there's a hole in the bridge pickup route into the control route, and from there into the output jack route.
User avatar
rustyslide
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1942
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:01 am
Location: Halifax, Canada

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby rustyslide » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:51 pm

Well, got all my holes drilled, the body sanded, and made a neck stick for hanging/holding while finishing. I put the first coat of Tru-Oil on the body, which will be wet-sanded twice with Tru-Oil to fill it. About to wet-sand the test scrap.

Here's the body with the bits placed on it:
Image


Here's the body drying in my guitar closet:
Image

More write-up here: http://lonelyfridge.com/category/guitar/
User avatar
rustyslide
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1942
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:01 am
Location: Halifax, Canada

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby leftyguitarman » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:15 pm

Looks killer Rusty! You're going to grace us with soundclips when it's finished, right?
User avatar
leftyguitarman
Regular
 
Posts: 3183
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:48 am
Location: Washington State

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby rustyslide » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:36 pm

leftyguitarman wrote:Looks killer Rusty! You're going to grace us with soundclips when it's finished, right?


Yeahp! It'll probably be done in about three weeks (most of that curing).
User avatar
rustyslide
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1942
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:01 am
Location: Halifax, Canada

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby leftyguitarman » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:51 pm

How long are you letting the Tru-oil cure exactly? I did a Strat body in Tru-oil once and I let it cure for about a week and a half. That guitar felt and looked great. I love the way that finish feels. I may be getting a new neck for one of my Strats in the future and if I do it's getting the Tru-oil finish.
User avatar
leftyguitarman
Regular
 
Posts: 3183
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:48 am
Location: Washington State

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby zhyla » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:02 am

Very cool. You don't usually see teles with a brown body but I think it's going to look great.

Where do you find tru-oil? I've heard much about it and wanted to try it on a gun stock I'm making and for refinishing some tool handles.

I made some dust on another guitar project this weekend. So much fun, I will soon have more instruments than I can keep track of.
User avatar
zhyla
Site Admin
 
Posts: 947
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:43 pm

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby tinsmith » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:38 am

Sweet
User avatar
tinsmith
Regular
 
Posts: 556
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 3:29 pm
Location: Southern Maine

Re: Building a Telecaster

Postby old mojo » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:45 am

That is saweet! I'm betting that rear routing will get more resonance to the neck p'up since it's mounted directly to the body instead of a pick guard. You have me thinkin' about my next project -- building a Nashville Tele with 3 Strat Texas Specials. I hadn't thought about a rear routed body before.
User avatar
old mojo
Regular
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am
Location: Near Cincy

Next

Return to Guitar

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 4 guests