Saturday, March 31, 2012

2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge - Joining the back of the body

I've started joining the three piece maple back. Between each piece there is a thin layer of mahogany veneer. 

I glued two of the maple pieces with one of the mahogany pieces together first. The glue caused the wood to shift slightly. I caught it while the glue was still soft. And I was able to force it into place using a couple of extra clamps. After the glue dried I moved on to the third piece. This time I taped off the wood next to the seem to help keep from making a mess with glue overflow. I also used clamps to hole the wood tight against the table. I then added weight to the top. This worked out much better.

The thin pieces of mahogany will look much better after the body is sanded.

I also took a moment to to check out the placement of my hardware and electronics. I picked up the bridge from Guitar Fetish. And I'll be using a single concentric volume and tone pot. I'll cut a cat's eye Rickenbacker style f-hole. I planning on gluing mahogany veneer to the back of the maple top. And the Area just behind the f-hole and the electronics area will need to be routed to about a 4 mm thickness. The top is currently 3/8" thick.

2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge - Headstock and Inlays

Today, I worked on the neck. First I lined up holes for the tuning pegs. I marked off the placement for each hole on both sides.

From the back I used a 10 mm bit and from the top I used a 9 mm bit. The holes are are not perfect - not even close. I have a real problem with lining up the drill press for precise holes. This is, however, closer than I've done on  recent neck builds. 

This issue has popped up again with the inlays. My mistakes are obvious when the center line is intake. I'll wait to see how this looks after I radius the fretboard.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge - Book-matched top

Now that I have the fretboard glued to the neck I can turn my attention to gluing the book-matched top and the three piece back. The top is about 3/8th of an inch thick and difficult to clamp. I clamped two pieces of wood to each side of the top to a table, so that the wood two pieces of wood are pressed tightly against each other. I used masking tape help insure that the pieces lined up properly. I then closed the book-match so that the interior edges are up. I apply the glue to one edge, press them together.

 I clamped down three pieces of wood on top of the wood to keep it from popping upon the edges, and to hold the center in place. I then placed about 60lbs of weights on top of the center board. I let this sit over night.

 The next day the top had even seem with a little excess glue that I'll sand off.

Next up, I'll glue up the back.

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge - gluing fretboard and cutting headstock

Over the weekend I worked on gluing the fretboard to the neck, shaping the fretboard to the profile of the neck and shaping the headstock.

In order to help properly glue the fretboard to the neck I used a technique that involved drilling small holes in fret slots and using straight pins. The line on the left of the is the position of the zero fret. In order to line this up properly I drilled two small holes in the zero fret slot. Pushed the straight pins through, lined them up on the line on the neck, then drilled tow small holes there as well. I repeated this process at the twelfth. I checked the placing of the straight pins, measured their distance to make certain thy all matched up.

I removed the fretboard and pins and covered the neck with Titebond glue (removed the masking tape that protected the truss-rod.) I then carefully placed the fretboard over the neck lining up all of the straight pins. This was followed by my somewhat obsessive clamping process (this is actually fewer camps than I used on previous necks.) I allowed this to dry for about an hour, then removed the clamps. I then called it a night.

The next day I used my table router to clean up the edges of the fretboard and cut it flush to the neck. I followed this by sanding the headstock smooth to 120 grit and cut it's shape.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge - Day 3

So I had help in the basement today. That's Scout and she's inspecting the cut of the fretboard.

Before cutting slots for the frets I marked the depth of just under 3mm on the side by each cut I planned to make.

After cutting all the slots I cut the fretboard to just slightly wider than the neck. I will clean this up with a router.

Friday, March 23, 2012

2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge - Fretboard choices

So for the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about what would be an appropriate fretboard for this build. I knew that I wanted something that went well with the curly maple top I was planning on using. But I just wasn't happy with the wood I had lying around. 
The first thought I had was the curly maple at the top of this first frame. I liked it alot but it just doesn't feel dramatic enough to me. The flame maple at the bottom of the frame is from the same batch that I'm creating the neck out of, but it doesn't compliment the figure or tone of the top.

I considered (briefly) a bird's eye maple. Then I decided to give the local wood store another try.

That's where I found this 1/4" board. I like how the tightness of the grain matches the center of the book-matched top. The figure is running on a slight angle to the edges. I will cut it so that grain follows the center line. Bellow, I've taped off the edges just so that  I could get a good sense of what this would look like once I cut it. I'll also have to do something about the slight differences in color. The fretboard is slightly redder than the top.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge Day 2

Very productive day in the basement today. I have made great progress on the neck today. First I cut the head stock down to slightly larger than 1/2" removing excess wood. Late I will use a router to plane this to a thickness of about 1/2".

After  drawing the basic shape of the neck, I cut to just outside the lines.

I used double stick tape to secure my jig to the neck blank. And then used a table router to clean up the sides.

Next I used a curved router bit to shape the space where the headstock will meet the fretboard. After routing I taped a metal scraper to the head stock and moved on to a sanding bit on the drill press.

This gives me a nice curve from the headstock to the face of the neck.

Next up, I glued extra wood to the edges of the headstock to help it take shape. I used Titebond and several clamps to hold the wood in place. I used clamped both the neck and the extra wood to the table in order to ensure that the wood be flat across the back.

After the glue cures overnight, I will be able to cut the shape, plane the surface and drill holes for the tuners. I've also prepped a miter box for the fret board which I hope to work on this week. I am surprised at how quickly this has progressed, I have spent less than 8 hours over two days this weekend working on the neck.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge

For the next two months I will be taking part in the 2012 TDPRI Tele Build Challenge. For me the real challenge will be attempting to complete the Tele.

The guitar will be a three piece maple back, with a book-matched curly maple top. Between each of the three back pieces and the top will be a thin mahogany veneer. The neck will have a maple flame on the back with a curly maple fret board.

I began the project Saturday March 17th.

First I sketched out on the body blanks the Tele shape using a template as a guide. I also sketched the basic shape of the neck with a center line for the truss rod channel.

Before routing the channel for the truss rod. I drilled 1/4 inch holes at either end of the line for the truss rod. The depth of each hole was 7/16th deep.

In the past I had tried a couple different methods for routing the truss rod channel. Including using a router table and a fence and building a jig to hold the router still. I've since discovered that the easiest method is clamp a guide and the neck to the edge of a table with the guide exactly 2 inches away from the center line.

 There is, however, one problem with this method. Because the edge of the neck is so close to end truss rod hole, I was not able to finish all the way to the edge. Instead, I made four passes as far as I could go. Then I re-clamped the neck blank on the completed side. Removed the tow end clamps. And re-measured the distance from the guide to the center line, carefully adjusting the necks so that everything properly lined up.

This is the cleanest truss rod channel I have cut to date. Next up I will glue edges to the headstock and cut y fretboard.