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hittitewarrior

SHB-2 - Tele build

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Figured I'd try a build thread for my second guitar.

I am currently in the process of building the neck.  Maple with cocobolo fretboard.  Tele will have a Poplar body with Koa top, black hardware, and a Copper pickguard.  Haven't decided if I will patina the copper yet or not.  The koa was in the scrap bin at the local hardwood store a few months ago.  $1 a pound I think... It's got some defects, and not bookmatched, but I'm pretty sure I can get a pretty decent looking top out of it.

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I'm debating which fretboard I want to use.  The one on the left is the one I posted about elsewhere.  I sanded MOST of the defects out of it, but there are a couple right in the middle of the knots that I'm not sure if I'll be able to get out.  If I use that one, I'll end up getting it pretty thin and gluing it to the top of another... Just not sure if I'll get there.  We'll see.  The ones with the eye are pretty cool as well, and ripe for some sort of inlay right in the middle.  I'm not sure.... opinions??

I goofed up already on the neck and got overzealous and cut the shape out a buddy's workshop before cutting the truss rod slot... stupid.  Spent most of the evening rigging up a way to route a straight line, but it ended up turning out alright I think.

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Out of curiosity.  Do you guys secure the truss rod? epoxy or CA on an end or anything like that, or since its snug and under the fretboard, it can just free float?

 

One of the pieces of koa I have for the top has a nice warp in it... more like a bubble.  One specific area abt 3-5" diameter in the middle/edge of the board bulges up.  I think it will glue down flat, but I imagine lots of even pressure in that area just to be sure.  Anyone run into that before?  You can kind've see the area I'm talking about below

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Anyway, more to come.  I need to order a fretting saw for next bit on the neck.  Might do some work on the body this weekend if time allows.

 

 

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41 minutes ago, hittitewarrior said:

Out of curiosity.  Do you guys secure the truss rod? epoxy or CA on an end or anything like that, or since its snug and under the fretboard, it can just free float?

No glue. If anything just a few dabs of bathroom silicone in the channel to prevent the possibility of the rod rattling. Mind you don't get any silicone on the gluing surfaces where the fretboard attaches to though.

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Pictures never quite do it justice. When wiped down with mineral spirits, I can't bring myself to not try to make it work.  We'll see... it's slow going for sure.  I've got it down to between .18" and .2"... I need to run a thicker/stable fingerboard blank down the table saw to make a base to mount to the bottom of this for stability..  I think I'm going to shoot for .15" on the support one.   What thicknesses do you use for your fingerboard blanks prior to radiusing?

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Stopped by the local hardware store today on a whim and got a couple "nice" Guatemalan Rosewood and Cocobolo drop tops from the luthier scrap bin.  $24...    Takes some digging, but every now and then they throw something away that meets my budget AND qualifies as a prettier than average.  I should have snapped pictures when I had it out, but didn't get to it.  I'll post em soon.  

Template is waiting on the body to clean up the edges (roughly shaped on bandsaw).  I forgot the bit I have doesn't fit the trim router... and I haven't gotten around to pulling the larger router off the tablesaw base...  The weekend is coming........  

 

 

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I did get some progress this weekend, albeit minimal.  Got the poplar body (outline) mostly routed.  It is too thick though.  It is sitting at 2" and I want to put a drop top on it.  I think I might be able to take it down to 1.5" going slow with the router.... Perhaps my buddy's planer, although it's caused some snipe the last couple times we've used it.  Also, my workbench got way out of control... tools and sawdust everywhere, so I spent a good bit of time cleaning.  I need to rig up the shop vac for dust collection too...  

Kids helped me with the paperwork below so I could select where the drop top would come from.  I'm not a huge fan of the big piece of light wood in the middle.  I was thinking of cutting the middle 2" out (1" on either side of the centerline, and putting a piece of cocobolo in the center.  Anyone have an opinion?  

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crappy cut and paste job...

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Lastly, the gutamelan rosewood I picked up the other weekend.

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table saw fretting blade is on its way... template to be ordered soon.  

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nice woods and great price!

personally I favor natural 'freakish' looks of wood, so wouldn't mind the light wood.

Also, if you're going to installl humbuckers and a trem, a lot of it will dissapear with the cavity routing, so you'll end up with just a few lighter spots which (IMO) makes the top more interesting

 

 

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@10pizza It will have a pickguard and the modern tele bridge, but I think you're right, most of the light spot will be under that stuff.  I'll have to lay it all out once I get the top cut and glued.  

On that note... do you all tend to glue the book match first, and then the drop top to the body, or glue the bookmatch and glue to body all at the same time??

I did make some progress this weekend.  The piece of poplar I had for the majority of the body was 2" thick.... Had to take it down to 1.3-1.5" so that I could add the ~.25" top.  Ended up routing a landing , and then using a piece of .5" mdf to get a relatively constant platform for the router as I worked my way down the body.  Took about .25-.375" using a chisel, and then cleaned up with router.  Worked pretty well for most of it, but it definitely seemed to be drifting in depth towards the end.  Definitely had some clean up to do with a plane and scraper... I'm still not convinced I'm happy with it, but the pictures show how far I got with it.

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The dents in the foreground are from the chisel, and not the sharp end.... where it transitions to the handle... i didn't even realize how shallow i was holding it, and the handle took a couple big dents before I realized it.  Came out in shaping though.

A lot of wood and dust tonight... really need some sort of dust collection system.

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and for the belly...

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Waiting for my fretting blade for the tablesaw to come.  Should I shape the neck prior to putting the fretboard on? I'd think it would be easier to clamp with it still flat, but I think I've seen a lot of people put it on afterwards.  Opinions?

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3 minutes ago, hittitewarrior said:

On that note... do you all tend to glue the book match first, and then the drop top to the body, or glue the bookmatch and glue to body all at the same time??

Glue the top to create your bookmatch, check gluing surfaces for flatness when dry and correct if necessary, then glue top to body. It'll be easier than trying to juggle clamping everything in multiple directions all in one hit.

 

8 minutes ago, hittitewarrior said:

Should I shape the neck prior to putting the fretboard on? I'd think it would be easier to clamp with it still flat, but I think I've seen a lot of people put it on afterwards.  Opinions?

It will be simpler to clamp the fret board to the neck while it's all square and flat. Only reason I can see you'd want to attach the fretboard after the neck has been shaped is if you were re-attaching a fret board to an existing neck, and you simply had no other choice.

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I too think that top will look fine slip fitted vs putting a strip down the middle. sounds like you got quite a bargain on that koa. I wont mention how much I dropped on a 9"x1.5"x4ft piece a couple years ago. 

 

I dont think anyone answered your warping question. With figured woods- its very common for warping/cupping to happen especially when you have a thin piece. I have taken a roughly .75" thick perfectly flat curly maple board- had it resawn and sanded and by the next morning the two sides had cupped. if I remember correctly the thickness of those boards was somewhere between .25 and .3" thick

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18 minutes ago, Mr Natural said:

I dont think anyone answered your warping question. With figured woods- its very common for warping/cupping to happen especially when you have a thin piece. I have taken a roughly .75" thick perfectly flat curly maple board- had it resawn and sanded and by the next morning the two sides had cupped. if I remember correctly the thickness of those boards was somewhere between .25 and .3" thick

I've had that happen twice with 2" thick quilted maple boards. They started perfectly flat and dry and cut down into two 1" thick cupped (potato chips) boards.

SR

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Thanks for the advice and thoughts on the top... have another question.  no pictures this time, unfortunately.  I've been working on the top over the last week, cause I ran into a couple problems.   I looked a little more closely to make sure the two sides were about the same thickness and that the book match would look nice (minimal seam).  Unfortunately the tops were not uniformly thick and the variance was so much I had to go to town using a block plane... now the two boards are level enough to work with once glued to the body.... 

Unfortunately, the two pieces, although mostly straight on the edges where I want to glue them, are not flush/straight enough.  I tried using the block plane, but it was thin enough that I couldn't keep it perfectly perpendicular to the edge.  I had the (I thought) bright idea of putting the two halves side by side (edges parallel), and sandwiched between two longer boards.  I then ran a electric planer down the edge, which SHOULD have given them matching profiles, parallel and flat, which when laid flat, given me a nice bookmatch.  Not so, something happened in the process and it still has variation such that I can't get a "seamless" joint when clamped up.  Sooooooo... how do you joint it without using a jointer?  I thought about gluing some sandpaper down to glass and then just holding it vertical and sanding the edge.

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sanding is fine- but let me ask you something- do you have any idea what the moisture content is in the wood? It almost sounds like its still drying out. In the pictures above- what are you using to dampen and highlight the figure of the wood? if you are using water- that may be the problem. 

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39 minutes ago, hittitewarrior said:

Sooooooo... how do you joint it without using a jointer?  I thought about gluing some sandpaper down to glass and then just holding it vertical and sanding the edge.

That's how I do it. Clamp the two pieces together face to face, so that you're sanding both edges simultaneously. You should be able to get a perfect join with a bit of patience.

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@Mr Natural No, I'm not sure what the moisture content is, but I'm pretty sure it should be ok.  The koa is from the luthier's section of the local hardwood supplier, and I've only used Mineral Spirits to wet it (my understanding is that this flashes off fast enough to be safe and not detrimentally effect the moisture content over the course of a couple days)...  Am I wrong in that?

 

I had an old door sitting in the garage, so i mounted some sandpaper to it, worked on the book match just like @curtisa mentioned.  Seemed to make a nice match.  Gluing up now.  I had one really good scare while clamping it together.  The boards are thin enough that I needed to use blocks to squeeze it together uniformly, Well thinness coupled with the cupping, and at one point when squeezing them together the boards bent up so severely at the joint I was quite afraid they were going to crack. Thankfully they didn't.  I backed the pressure off a bit, and put some dumbbells on the top to prevent it from doing that while the glue is drying.  The furring strips across the top are lightly clamped to the table just outside the image... I needed them to hold the aluminum down.

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I think one of the machinists at work is going to make me up a fretting template to go with my fretting table saw blade I just acquired, so I'm hoping to get my hands on it on Monday.  We'll see!

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One other thought and question I've been having.  The main body is poplar, which can have a kind've greenish tint to it, and isn't all that attractive... I don't hate it by any stretch, but am toying with the idea of staining..  How do I go about staining the back without having it bleed into the edges of koa top?  I wouldn't think careful taping would be sufficient, but perhaps I'm wrong.

Any suggestions on color that would go well with the koa top?  I'm thinking a sanded back black at the moment, but am open to suggestions.  The neck is maple.

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Scroll saw to cut out the shape on the koa top.  Clamped it up.  Need to get a laminate trim bit for my router to clean it up.. 

I realized after I did this, that I kind've screwed up when it comes to order of operation if I wanted to stain the back prior to gluing... oh well.  I'm curious if taping is enough.  If not, I'll just do the natural look. 

 

Edited by hittitewarrior

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You can apply a sealer to the edge of your koa top to help protect it against stain. It kind of leaves you with the same issue though. You'll need to protect the back against getting any sealer on it.

SR

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Had a problem with the glue up, and ended up with some gaps... I thought I'd used enough clamps and got good squeeze out all around, but there's two spots that look like they have a 1/8" gap... Been trying to decide what to do about them.  Still not sure.  In the meantime while I cool my temper down and figure out the next move, I've been working on the pickguard.  I'm pretty sure I will patina it.  Ammonia or Vinegar... one gives you a blue patina and one a green.  Plan is to do a couple small scrap pieces and then figure it out from there.

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Thanks!  I used tin snips to do a rough cut, a Dremel with bit 9902 (tungsten carbide cutter), and then went back and cleaned up with some files.  I didn't realize how much copper dust it would make so after a little I started doing it over a piece of paper and collecting the copper.  I did a CA + copper dust inlay on a separate piece of woodworking and it looked pretty cool.  Above pic is before the file work which I got around to late last night.  

I thought one of the machinist's at work was going to do a little side job and trade a fretting template for a six pack, but he hasn't gotten around to it yet... might be ordering from the red shop lol...  

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Great, thanks! Looks very clean, if you could post a pic of the dust/CA inlay, I would be very interested to see it. Looking forward to more pics!

As an alternative, you could look into sign shops for the template, I get a lot of laser cutting done locally, and it's quick and relatively inexpensive. What style of template are you planing?

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I gave the item away, but plan on doing something similar soon, so I'll take pics of that when I do it (sometime in the next couple days I think).

I was planning on doing one of the aluminum 25.5" scale with the 1/16" notches on one side (let's you use a 1/16" pin in a mitre sled to use the table saw fretting blade). They are about $40 which isn't awful, but I was hoping to dodge that expense... lol

I do have access to a CO2 laser cutter, so your comment does make me wonder if I could use a thick plastic/plexi, etch it using the laser cutter for precision marks, and then put the 1/16" notches in using a dremel bit....  I'll have to give that some thought.

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No notable progress this weekend... :-\  

Been experimenting with some of the cutoff's from the pickguard and giving copper a patina.  It looks pretty cool, but comes off reallllly easily.  I let one piece dry, and will try coating with polyurethane.  Pictures to follow at a later time.

On that fingerboard with all the figuring,.. it's almost ready to glue up, but I've decided to save it for another build.  I have a design idea in the back of my head that it would look much better with, so I've been prepping a different piece of cocobolo.

 

 

 

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