Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TDPRI Tele - Studio Photos

So today, I brought the Tele into the photo studio. Below are some of the images that I shot.

Here are the Specs on the Tele:
25 inch scale
3 piece maple back
Book-matched curly maple
Thin mahogany veneer separating the maple on the body
Curly maple fretboard
Flame maple bolt-on neck
22 fret neck
Zero fret
Seymour Duncan STL-1 Broadcaster Vintage single coil pickups
4-way pickup selector Front / Series / Parallel / Back
Capacitor selector .022uf / 047uf
Concentric Volume and Tone pot
Steinberger tuning pegs
Guitar Fetish Xtrem Vibrato system

Monday, July 9, 2012

TDPRI Tele - Body assembled and strung up

Almost done. Polished the neck and assembled the body this weekend. All that's left is to wire up the pickups. Here are a few photos of the almost finished guitar.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

TDPRI Tele - nearing the end

Today, I finished work on the Tele body.

This photo is from Saturday's rubbing with rottenstone. I went over the body twice rubbing the rottenstone mixed with mineral oil in and cleaning it off with cloth.

After I let the body sit for 24 hours, I rubbed the fine-cut Meguiar's into the finish.

After cleaning the Meguiar's off, revealing a mirror-like finish. (No, that's not PhotoShop - thats my reflection.)

Here's another look at the glass mirror-like finish. And a a good look at the mahogany veneer separating the maple pieces..

I also worked on the neck today, and experienced a set-back. I had a couple of areas of sand through on the Tru-Oil. I discovered them while rubbing with the 2F pumice. I stopped working on the neck and decided to let it sit until I had a chance to do some online research on Tru-Oil sand through.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

TDPRI Telecaster and the Red Special - Hand Rubbing with Pumice and Rottenstone

I began hand rubbing with Pumice and Rottenstone this past weekend. The Red Special has turned into my testing body. I first sanded the body with a flat block of wood with sand paper (320 through 2000 grit.)

I then mixed the pumice with mineral oil and rubbed it over the wood, back and forth with the grain (not in circles). then wiped it off with a clean cloth. I first used the 2F pumice and followed it with the finer 4F pumice. I rubbed the grit over the body twice for each grit before moving on. I then let the body sit for two days, before I did the same with Rottenstone.

The reflection is almost a high gloss. I will let this sit for one more day and then polish with Meguire's rubbing compound (can be found at any auto parts store.)

 A few notes on this Red Special and issues that I ran into:
First, I have two sand-through spots. If I had not been as aggressive with the 320 level sanding and perhaps skipped a few grits I may have avoided this. Second, I should start with the back and the sides and save the front for last. If there is any kind of a learning curve, I will practice with areas that are seen less. Third, I need to do better wood prep before finishing, filling open grain, and flat sanding should not be taken for granted. And fourth, I should do more sanding between layers of shellac or other finishes. These are lessons I will carry with me on my next builds.

After finishing with the Rottenstone on the Red Special, I began work on the Tele. This time I skipped the 320 grit. The Shellac was pretty flat. I used, 400, 800, and 1500 only on the backs and sides. I decided to go straight to the Pumice on the front. This seemed to work pretty well for me. In two days I will move onto with Rottenstone. I'll also begin the same process on the neck. However, I will be mixing the Pumice and Rottenstone with water and a drop of detergent instead of mineral oil since the neck is finished with Tru-Oil. (Why? Because, I read about it on the web someplace.)

Also, my Seymour Duncan pickups came in today. I am just a couple weekends away from finishing the Tele project, stringing it up and playing it.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

TDPRI Telecaster and the Red Special - Finishing

The Telecaster
It's been a couple of weeks since I posted an update on this project. I have been working on this but there just hasn't been anything picture-worthy in the process. I've been experimenting with shellac, trying to teach myself french polishing. I think I've finally figured it out. A couple of weeks ago, the way I was applying the shellac was leaving ridges. What I was doing was applying in circles and then moving on to another portion of the body. After watching a couple of youtube videos I discovered that I needed to concentrate on a single area and rub the shellac in. I started with mostly shellac and rubbed drop of mineral oil on the pad. As I built up the shellac increased the amount of alcohol and decreased the amount of shellac. Now, I'm getting a smoother reflective surface.

I am now leaning towards just shellac for the body. I know it will be more brittle than if I followed this with a lacquer finish. But I'm thinking about allowing this to age more quickly and naturally relic over the next few years.

As for the neck, It's done, just waiting for the Tru-Oil to cure. I'll be polishing it to a gloss finish in about one week. I'll have photos then.

The Red Special 
So, I've also been working on the Red Special while working on the Telecaster. Padouk has been a problem for the shellac. Since I didn't fill the pores before I started applying the shellac, I have been having to build the layers. I've already done one level sanding and smoothed out most of the finish. But there are still quite a few pores left. after a couple more layers of shellac, I should be able to give it one more level sanding and that should do the trick. The shellac is building up a pretty reflective surface.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Red Special (I haven't forgotten)

It's been a while since I did any work on this project. So while applying shellac to the Telecaster build, I've taken advantage of the drying time to revisit the Red Special.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

TDPRI Telecaster - Finishing

Before I could startI start finishing process, I strung up the guitar. This would by my last chance to make any major corrections without having to worry about screwing up the finish. No corrections needed. And I love how she feels. Just as good as my ES-125, only different.

I started rubbing shellac on the top of the body and then the sides. At some point while applying the shellac, I smudged the side. To fix it, I had to sand the spot back with 320 grit, then re-apply the shellac.

I applied several coats of Tru-Oil to the neck and shellac to the body today. I'll keep doing this for a couple more days, and then wet sand the body and neck.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge - more fret work

More fret work photos:
I taped off the fretboard before leveling, and polishing the frets. Here you can see one of the professional tools that I used for polishing the frets - a beauticians buffing block. (What? Beauticians are professionals.) 

This is my first fretboard that I've leveled the frets on. I'm eager to finish this up, just so I can see how I did. I'm sure I've got a great deal more to learn about fret work. Just hoping this is a good start.

2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge - Frets

I have just a little over two weeks left on this challenge, and I still need to get started on the finishing and clear coating. This weekend I'm making a very important step in that direction - Fret work. After posting a question on the Telecaster forum, I've decided to seat and level the frets before applying a finish to the neck. Yes, I thought the other way around seemed more practical, but it turns out that it isn't. So this weekend I'm doing fret work.

First I bent the frets using my home-made fret bender (not as pretty as the $90 fret bender from Stew-Mac, but constructed for less than $10.) I over bent the frets to about a 12 inch radius instead of a 14 inch. Hammering will flatten the frets out, so the little extra bend is to make up for that hammering.

Then, I cut my frets to size (surprised that the guitar supply companies haven't created a handy-dandy fret organized with holes for each fret priced at $49.99 yet.) and prepped for hammering.

Followed by hammering the frets into place.

I lost a good bit of time yesterday due to a headache, but returned to fret work in the evening (no photos yet). I cut off the excess fret-wire from the sides of the neck. Filed the edges down and filed them to a 30° angle. I taped off the fretboard, leveled it with 320 grit on and sanding block, then started cleaning and polishing the frets.

Monday, April 23, 2012

2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge - three days of work

Sanded the body through 220 grit. I still need to clean up the sides around the neck contours. The body is almost ready for finishing. 

Back to working on the neck. First I marked off the contours for the shaping of the back of the neck.

Cut off about 1/8" of excess wood.

Started the basic shaping of the profile at both the base of the neck and behind the 1st fret, used mainly the shredder and heavy rasp to take off most of the wood and get to a really rough shape. Followed that with a fine rasp. I tried using the scrapper at one point, but I quickly discovered that the figuring of the wood didn't care for this method. It was a little too jagged.

After I got the neck to the profile I wanted, I moved on to 120, 220 and finally 320 grit sand paper. The neck is now ready for finishing.

I cut the slot for the nut, just behind the zero fret.

I cut the slot for the 4-way pickup selector and drilled the hole for the 2-cap tone switch.

Used the Dremel with a 1.6mm grout cutter bit to cut my straight line. I had to practice on scrap wood a couple of times just to get use to using it.

Then I drilled the holes for the bolt on neck.

After bolting on the neck, it was time to position the bridge and the vibrato. I used a string attached to both E-strings and an old nut that I won't be using on this build to help line up the strings over the fretboard.

After getting the bridge and vibrato attached I couldn't resist attaching the E-strings, just to check the over-all height. 

I will need to do some adjustments after I install the frets and the nut. I'm a little concerned about the string height. It seems a little high with the thumb rollers at their lowest point and a little low with out them. But that shouldn't be a big deal in the end.